Voices of Baltimore: Black, White and Gray

Ericka Alston

Born out of the tumultuousness of April 2015, the Kids Safe Zone is a space for the children of Sandtown-Winchester. During the unrest, the Penn North Community Resource Center became a hub for international media, and stories about the lack of services for neighborhood children subsequently came to light. Director of Public Relations Ericka Alston decided to do something. As a life-long resident of West Baltimore, Alston knew first-hand the problems that many children face, and she was inspired to do something to help.

Voices of Baltimore: Ericka Alston

With an ambitious press release, and the keys to an empty laundromat, Alston’s idea took root. Fueled largely by donations through social media, the Kids Safe Zone now provides services to children ages five to 17. Alston’s underlying philosophy is about showing children that their lives matter, in order to begin combatting despair and violence in their communities. In her interview, she says she hopes the doors to the Kids Safe Zone never close.

Footage courtesy of: Definitely Essence Photography, Kids Safe Zone, Merciart Media

Voices of Baltimore: Ericka Alston

These stories were made possible by the generous support of The Annie E. Casey Foundation. To learn more about their organization, please visit their website at