East New York Brooklyn is a low-income community where poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence and incarceration rates threaten the stability of families and compromises the development of children. Over 40% of East New York households earn a yearly income of less than fifteen thousand dollars a year. Over twenty-five thousand of the community’s residents live below the poverty line. There are eight foster care placements and thirty-seven reported cases of child abuse and neglect per one thousand residents.
In 2007, ENY partnered with Brookdale University Hospital to implement the Mentoring Thru Medicine program. BBBS-NYC was approached by Dr. Mary Baldauf, who is a critical care pediatrician at the hospital. Dr. Baldauf was alarmed at the number of unnecessary deaths she witnessed on a daily basis in the hospital’s emergency room. Moreover, she sought to find answers to help combat youthful gun possession and gang violence. In her efforts to find a solution to help reduce the local crime and injury rate, Dr. Baldauf discovered mentoring to be a proven method in the reduction of crime rates.
BBBS-ENY paired eighteen youths with eighteen of the hospital’s pediatric residents. Under the leadership of Dr. Baldauf, the collaboration between our two entities has been nothing short of a rousing success. She played a significant role in the execution of the curriculum. Additionally, Dr. Baldauf mentored the residents and youths alike. Moreover, she gave freely of herself on her off days. She spoke at BBBS-ENY Parent Summits and provided health workshops for our Mentoring Thru Medicine parents. Dr. Baldauf’s spirit is so infectious that other doctors have come aboard. Her energy and continued dedication to the community and its young people speaks volume.