The St. Francis Neighborhood Center is an impressive youth center serving to improve the Reservoir Hill community in downtown Baltimore. Since 1963 it has been their mission to “end generational poverty through education, inspiring self-esteem, self-improvement, and strengthening connections to the community.”. They are a perfect example of what our communities need to help the next generation become the best people they can be, while simultaneously improving their neighborhoods. I have had the pleasure of visiting St. Francis before, with Brian Kleeman and the #07 Nissan World Challenge 370Z in 2014, and was unbelievably impressed with the enthusiastic staff and director, Torbin Green. It is amazing what these people are doing to better their community from the ground up, and having spoken to a few local when I was there (driving a racecar brings some people out to say the least) it became very clear to me that St. Francis has had a very positive impact on nearly every aspect of the community. I could go on and on about how excellent of a program they have created for the kids and the community as a whole but I would rather let them speak for themselves; please visit, donate your time, donate your money or just learn about them at www.stfranciscenter.org
After taking the #07 Pirelli World Challenge Nissan 370Z to the kids last year, we decided to switch things up some and take my #44 BC Racing Global Time Attack G35 this year. I was more than happy to trailer the car from where I live in Southern Maryland up to Baltimore knowing that the kids absolutely loved seeing the racecar the previous year. The kids faces always light up and they have tons of questions, smiles, signed posters and more questions. We always have a great time and I would assume every year Brian and I do this that we probably have equal, if not more fun that the kids. This year was no different and we had a blast! I think we let every single one of the kids sit in the car for a photo, get a signed poster and even let a few start the car and rev it. Im still smiling thinking about it as I write this article a few weeks later. Those kids certainly make an impression on us every year and I hope we at least make a small one on them. I know a few have said they want to be crew chiefs and racers and of course the great staff at St. Francis Baltimore will guide them down to be exactly that, or whatever else they dream. I cant wait for next year and look forward to seeing the staff and most importantly the kids again! Please be sure to visit their website or facebook, and even if you aren’t in the Baltimore please look into similar centers in your neighborhood. I am a firm believer in what community centers like this do for their neighborhoods and it is a model that should be replicated in every city and town in America.