‘Building African American Minds’ receives ‘Helping People Award’ for work with at-risk youth


EASTON, Md. – For 10 years, the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award honors good work being done in the community.

Monday afternoon, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot presented that prize to the 2021 recipient Derrick Day with Building African African Minds. “I think they’ve come up with a new formula of giving young, African American students that need a little bit of skill, knowledge and most of all self-confidence a way to figure that out,” Comptroller Franchot said.

“This is good recognition that not only people inside the community recognize what we’re doing, but the people outside the community recognize it,” Co-Founder of BAAM Derrick Daly said.

The organization looks to empower at-risk African American youth, youth like De’Vontae Berry who started with the program when was just in the first grade.

Now, he’s a 2022 graduate of Easton High School and heads to Bowie State University this fall. “He always told me I would be something successful and i’ll always be something great. Here we are now, I’m graduating and going on to the next steps and making a future journey in my path,” BAAM student De’Vontae Berry said.

There’s also a big focus on reducing the achievement gap,  by fostering students math and reading skills.

Seeing students continue growth is what Executive Director Dina Daly says makes her work worth while. “That’s rewarding to see. They’re growing and maturing. They’re much more self assured and confident in themselves,” Daly said.

“They ask lots of questions which means they’re sponges. They’re learning a lot so that brings joy to us.”

For the past 17 years, the organization has focused its efforts of young men and has recent expanding it’s programming to female students as well.

In addition to the athletic center, the organization looks to build an academic center right next door to expand its after school programming.

To find out more about the organization, click here 

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