BTS Baltimore Kicks Off with Goals to establish Extensive Youth Program
By Al Bevilacqua Beat the Streets USA
02/10/2012 Beat the Streets – Baltimore is a nonprofit organization that is committed to helping establish youth wrestling programs in the Baltimore City Public School Systems. BTS Baltimore is committed to providing a positive environment that nurtures physical and mental development through a wrestling and tutoring program. Their goal is to develop a network of BTS programs throughout Baltimore’s schools and communities.” Our goal is to help stem truancy, misbehavior, and poor grades in greater Baltimore,” states Lydell Henry, director of BTS Baltimore, “the kids will love wrestling, be healthier, and get the tutoring and mentoring that they sorely need. With the community behind us we can accomplish anything.” The Beat the Streets program would like to establish a BTS program in every middle school in the greater Baltimore area to start feeder programs to high schools and beyond.”We have top sports organizations like the Baltimore Ravens, the Orioles, Under Armour and Blast. Not to mention the non-sport related businesses in Baltimore that I am sure will offer support for the good of the children’, says Hermondoz Thompson, an assisting director at BTS, ” Marylanders always come together.”
Lydell and Hermondoz are lifelong residents of Baltimore that wrestled together at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. They both went on to have good careers in science and healthcare, and accredit their successes to lessons learned while wrestling. They wrestled together under the leadership of Cornell Bass, a co-founder and a Board member of the NHSCA, who for many years operated a wrestling club in Baltimore very similar to the Beat the Streets model for over 20 years.
“We are the product of Beat the Street,” said Lydell, “instead of being consumed with the ills of the “streets” we were wrestling.”
McKim Youth Community Based Team
Prior to starting Beat the Streets Baltimore, Lydell was organizing fundraisiers and coached with the McKim Center wrestling program for a number of years and has had a good bit of success of developing quality individuals who have gone on to lead successful lives. His experience being inside Baltimore will provide valuable access to the growth of the program and Hermondoz Thompson brings a lot of experience to the program. Hermondoz and Lydell are funding the initial startup with a website, www.btsbaltimore.org, and a GREAT promotional DVD that is to be finalized shortly. They have reached out to the Baltimore Public Schools and have scheduled an organizational meeting with them.
In the community, BTS Baltimore has formed partnerships with the powerful McKim Knights and Baltimore Centaur wrestling teams. Also with the aid of of Chris Hanlon, the Beat the Streets-Philadelphia Executive Director who also wrestled for Mr. Bass’s club team, BTS Baltimore has a strong support system.
The structure and framework is there and now the work begins.
“McKim is a youth community based wrestling team that has been in existence for over 50 years in East Baltimore. They have developed several high school national champions. Every year, they send kids to private high schools and four year colleges from their dedicated student-athletes.”