Fan favorite and former Ravens Super Bowl wide receiver Torrey Smith has teamed up with Baltimore to help develop the next generation of leaders at Charm City.
Smith, along with the Ravens, former NFL player and Baltimore native Aaron Maybin and Smith’s wife Chanel recently unveiled the LEVEL82 fund “LEVEL Up Leadership Academy,” which is hosted by the recreation center. Hilton of Baltimore City Recreation and Parks.
The recreation center received $ 400,000 in upgrades from the Ravens organization to support its efforts in designing a summer camp to help “pre-teens develop skills and virtues. necessary to become agents of change in their community ”.
According to a press release, the camp includes student-focused academic enrichment including reading and math, weekly leadership workshops, social / emotional learning, and a collaborative community service project.
Smith and Maybin spoke with local media on Wednesday to deepen their efforts.
“It’s the start of something special, “Smith said.” Baltimore will definitely be a better city because of the decisions the Ravens make to help lead the change, the charge, to help elevate Baltimore. “
One question that arose during the process of developing their game plan was the age of the child the camp was going to be for. Smith said Chanel is a fourth-grade teacher as he connects more with high school kids.
Eventually, they settled on the pre-teens, a demographic of children old enough to take on the challenge while still young enough to continue learning their place in the community.
“It is best to ensure that children who are making the transition [into teenage years] because we know they will establish the culture, ”Smith continued. “Our job and our mission is to create a space where older children feel comfortable.
Maybin followed the organization’s visions for their student roles in the future.
“We also wanted to make sure that the demographics of the children we serve sets the bar for each generation that follows,” Maybin said. “The children we work with now will be our older children who will set an example for all the younger ones who follow in the years to come. So in establishing the culture of what we’re looking to do here at the Hilton Rec Center, we wanted to work with that target demographic of children that we’re going to see as our leaders. “
Still very early in the life of their program, Smith and Maybin are already excited about the future possibilities.
“You see these kids and the way they respond to you, and we know what it’s going to do for this community in the long run,” Smith said. “I can’t wait to see where this all goes from here because this is just the start.”