September 2006 — “I changed as a person, even though I’m in the same community, same neighborhood, same house … I’m more focused than what I was. The only thing [Baltimore] needs is a lot of role models, people who really care about the children and take them places — not specifically Africa — but out of their surroundings, and help them and make them feel that they are somebody.” (Video is from 2006 when Devon was 16.)
Richard Keyser, Jr.
September 2006 — “I’m most definitely glad that I was in the movie, you know what I’m saying? The people that done it, they showed us lots of love — they always did. It was like a dream come true. Goodness gracious! I have been to amazing places that I really thought I would never be in life.” (Video is from 2006 when Richard was 17.)
September 2006 — “Now I see that I can do stuff. I know I can do it. And I want to do it…. They know in society today that black kids can do things, but everybody’s waiting for just one example to prove it and let the whole world know that it can be done. But it was sad to see what it had to take…. They had to send us to Africa.” (Video is from 2006 when Montrey was 16.)
Romesh Vance, (pictured at 14)
September 2006 — From the filmmakers: After returning from the Baraka School, Romesh and several other kids from the film were cast as extras on HBO’s The Wire, a television show about the violent street and drug life in Baltimore. Sadly, art imitates life for many of the kids in the show, and Romesh, now 16, finds himself cutting school, living at friends’ houses and spending far too much time on the streets. Romesh, like the majority of African-American teenagers in Baltimore, faces the Herculean task of rejecting the offerings of the street and making a productive life for himself. (no video available)
The Baraka School
While the Baraka School no longer exists, the need continues for 24-hour schools for at-risk urban children.
The SEED Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation which was organized to establish urban public boarding schools that prepare students from underserved communities academically and socially for success in college and in the professional world. The SEED Foundation opened its first school, The SEED School of Washington, D.C., in 1998 and is currently working to open a school in Maryland.
Ninety-seven percent of SEED’s graduates have been accepted to colleges and universities, including schools such as Georgetown University, Howard University, North Carolina A&T, Ohio Wesleyan, Princeton, Stanford, Tuskegee University and the University of Pennsylvania. Eighty-five percent of SEED alumni remain on track to graduate from college.
The SEED School of Maryland is modeled after the SEED School of Washington, D.C., and will serve 400 students. Intended opening is in the fall of 2008. Students will live on campus, will receive 24-hour support to their educational process, and will benefit from a collaborative network of faculty, staff, family members and community members.