Supporting Male Survivors of Violence, Baltimore

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Interview with Gloria Marfo, Project Coordinator

Briefly your program and the population that it serves: Supporting Male Survivors of Violence (SMSV) Baltimore is an initiative within the Baltimore City Health Department’s Office of Youth & Trauma Services. The program addresses trauma by focusing on the intersections of youth violence prevention, victim’s services, training, and technical assistance through a healing-centered approach.  Supporting Male Survivors of Violence Baltimore identifies the needs of young male survivors of violence and their families and addresses gaps in services in order to support effective community-based, trauma-focused treatment and supportive services for these young male of color (YMOC) between the ages of 14-24 and their families who live in Madison/East End, Baltimore, Maryland.

 What have you found to be the biggest need for this population and how has your program addressed that need? We have found that the biggest need for this population is security, specifically in the realms of finances and housing. Our program has addressed this need by linking our participants up with community programs and services that can support them in preparing for and acquiring jobs, as well as programs that can support them with finding and paying for housing.

 What are your proudest regarding your work through the SMSV grant? SMSV Baltimore is most proud of the individual relationships and connections that we have established between us and our participants. We have taken our participants as members of our extended family and they have done the same with us, even outside of our outreach workers. Every single individual on our team is passionate and genuine about the work we do, and most people appreciate genuine people, our participants are no exception. They see the heart in which we operate with to support them and it really makes the difference in how they receive us. 

 What new relationship or resource have you found to help move your work forward? We have made connections with various community partners and have located resources throughout Baltimore City that provide much need support to us even as we try to meet the needs and goals of each of our participants.

 What is something positive a client or partner said about your work related to the SMSV grant? When describing our program to others who are unfamiliar with it, both community partners and clients speak about our genuine heart for service and connection. They often speak of the support we give them even down to the smallest aspect, as well as the valuable life lessons they learn during our interactions. 

What have you learned that you will carry with you as you continue this work? One thing that we have learned through this program is that individuals just need a few cheerleaders and accountability partners in their life to achieve their goals. People do not need to be spoon-fed to success because that success will be fleeting. If you really want to support someone in their ability to achieve goals that they have set for themselves, you need to support them increasing their self-efficacy and their ability to hold themselves to a high level of success in mindset, in attitude, and inaction.