To fully understand just how much people appreciate Travis Street and his dedication to his work, you simply need to take a walk with him.
I first met Travis in 2012 when I began volunteering for Living Classrooms Foundation at the POWER House Community Center. POWER House (Providing Opportunities to Work, Expand, & Rise) is located in Perkins Homes, Baltimore City’s largest public housing community.
Travis, the Director of POWER House, had just taken me on a tour of the center and suggested we take a walk through the neighborhood, to check out the field where some of the older kids in the after-school enrichment program had football practice.
It was the same story the entire walk to the field. Person after person would spot Travis, then run over to say hello and tell me about the amazing work he was doing for the community, and for Perkins Homes in particular. I had honestly never seen anyone so appreciated simply walking down the street.
Then he told me that he grew up in the neighborhood, that Perkins Homes and its residents were his family, and that he was so blessed to be doing the great work that they do at POWER House. I was taking a walk with someone who was unconditionally dedicated to helping out the neighborhood and he spoke about it with an energy that I had not seen before.
This photo essay profiles Travis’s commitment to the students of POWER House and to the Perkins Homes community.
The 10 questions
Today's Talking GOOD profile is being presented as a photo essay, instead of the traditional Q&A format.
Students at the POWER House Community Center are served their daily afternoon meals as Director Travis Street prepares them for enrichment activities.
The Living Classrooms POWER House is located in the center of Perkins Homes, Baltimore City's largest public housing community. In addition to the after-school youth enrichment program, the center offers adult courses in financial literacy, English as a second language, and job training as well as a new evening college and career prep program for teens.
Travis, who grew up in Perkins Homes, recalls a defining moment in his life that helped him gain clarity about his purpose. "As a young man growing up in Baltimore City, one of my closest friends was killed. From that day I dedicated my life to helping others." Travis says he will continue this work "until the day I leave this Earth."
"This work has changed me in many ways" says Travis. "It helped me to develop patience, and that was difficult at the beginning, being a very energetic person."
Academic performance is the highest priority at POWER House, and Travis and his staff communicate frequently with the teachers and families of their students about school progress.
Travis is a firm believer that every kid can achieve positive outcomes when given the necessary support, and he leads by example with his dedication to the individual success of every student. His attitude is reflected in his favorite inspirational saying, "Difficult takes a day. Impossible takes a week."
After a successful week of schoolwork, music education, and a host of other enrichment activities, the students get to choose their own games on Fun Fridays.
Travis makes sure every kid gets home safely once the day is over. "I get everything from giving" he says. "My purpose in life is to advocate for others and help make the life of someone else better every day."
Travis stops by to say hello to a neighbor and her family as they prepare for Prom night. Growing up in the neighborhood, he has a strong personal connection to so many residents and they are extremely appreciative of his commitment to the community.
Travis greets Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as she stops by POWER House to meet with students and staff. The Mayor praised Living Classrooms Foundation's long history of outstanding programming in Baltimore City along with the great community development work of POWER House.
A group picture with Mayor Rawlings-Blake concludes a great evening.