Alumnus and other supporters to attend dedication of Catholic Charities’ Our Daily Bread Employment Center on May 24
08 May 07 12:00 AM CDT
May 8, 2007 - Jerry Pryor, valedictorian of Class 12 of Catholic Charities’ Christopher Place Employment Academy will be among the alumnus, supporters and volunteers who will attend the dedication of Catholic Charities’ Our Daily Bread Employment Center (ODBEC) on May 24, 8:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m., at 725 Fallsway. The facility is the city’s first comprehensive resource center that is designed help the poor gain access to meals, education, employment and stable housing.
Our Daily Bread Employment Center
The three-story, 52,000-square-foot building, will house three existing Catholic Charities’ programs: Christopher Place Employment Academy, an 18-month residential employment program for formerly homeless men; Maryland Re-entry Partnership, a mentoring program to integrate ex-offenders into the community without lapsing into criminal activity; and Our Daily Bread hot meal program. Other services include eviction prevention services, emergency and referral services, job-readiness assistance, job referral services, job placement, job retention and follow up, adult basic education, medical services (limited), recovery support, assistance with criminal background issues, access to computers and telephones, mail distribution, and workshops on home ownership, financial literacy and healthy relationships.
Catholic Charities was chosen by Baltimore City to develop this unique resource center concept in 2002. The Center was funded by the broad-based support of many individuals, corporations and foundations as well as City, State, and Federal governmental sources. The total cost of construction, furniture and fixtures is approximately $15 million.
Through the employment opportunities offered at ODBEC, the Agency expects 350 people to be employed every year. By the end of the first year of work, annual wages of over $6.5 million will have been put back into the community. With benefits, even more. There is also the related impact of re-unifying and supporting families and the payment of taxes and child support.
Pryor entered CPEA when he decided to end a 15-year addiction to cocaine and heroin that he began after graduating from high school. CPEA challenges participants to find and retain employment, achieve and maintain sobriety, pay child support, build a financial savings plan, continue education, secure permanent housing and contribute to their community.
He is employed as an addiction counselor while attending Baltimore City Community College to get a degree in addiction counseling. He plans to continue his education at a four-year college. It has been five years since he graduated from CPEA. He volunteers at Our Daily Bread once a month on Sunday where once worked as a program assistant for 2 ½ years. He is an active alumnus of CPEA, returning often to visit with current class members to motivate them to commit to the work of the program.
As he stated in a commemorative journal marking Our Daily Bread’s 25-year anniversary: “This place [Our Daily Bread] represents the connection between who I was and who I wanted to be. You know, ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ Volunteering here helps keep me grounded.”
Catholic Charities is Maryland’s leading private, nonprofit provider of human services. Through cherishing the Divine within all, the Agency serves 160,000 people annually in 80 programs at 200 locations throughout the state. Its 2,000 employees are supported by 10,000 volunteers. In addition, a quarter million meals are served every year to the hungry citizens of Baltimore City.
More information about Christopher Place Employment Academy