During the fall season, the men of Christopher Place Employment Academy (CPEA) participated in a couple of events to “Pay It Forward”. As an intensive residential program for formerly homeless men, CPEA provides participants with education and training as well as emotional, spiritual, and addiction recovery support while encouraging participants to learn the importance of giving back to the community.
Kicking off the season, the CPEA men volunteered at the St. Francis Academy Community Center to provide security for their annual Halloween festivities and were there to ensure the children of the community had the best possible experience. Ralph Moore, Director of the Community Center wrote “They were just about the best Christopher Place group we’ve had in the eight years we’ve done the Halloween Party and Haunted House. They followed directions, stuck to their posts, and assured the happiness and safety of the children.”
During the Christmas season, the men assisted with the Catholic Charities Christmas Festival at The Basilica of the Assumption. CPEA members volunteered to help decorate for the concert as well as helped usher, park and provide directions for those who attended the concert. The men also provided security and were present to provide a delightful entrance and exit for guests to and from the event. The concert benefited the Family and Child Services Division of Catholic Charities.
One of the last seasonal activities the men participated in was a gift wrapping event at Barnes & Nobles of the Inner Harbor. On December 23rd, there were shifts of men who spent the day at the bookstore wrapping gifts for free. This was the second year CPEA had participated in the event. The men gained much appreciation for the holiday spirit and helping out the other members of their community.
Although this was the time of year for giving and volunteering, it is part of the Christopher Place philosophy to consistently give back to the community. Year-round, these men are involved in various community service activities to help the people who are in similar situations as themselves or to mutually support those who have supported them with in-kind donations.