By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — He went to high school in Howard County and now he’s a star in the NFL. Aaron Maybin returned to Baltimore Monday to promote arts education, especially for students in low-income areas.

Ron Matz has more on the gift and the important message he brought with him.

There’s music, dance and art at the Patterson Park Public Charter School, something the students clearly love.

The NFL’s Aaron Maybin said art was important to him growing up in Baltimore.

“Art was monumental in my life. Anytime you are a young kid who is impressionable like I was and you’re in an environment where you have so many factors around you that are pulling you in a million different directions, you need things like art to keep you level-headed and focused,” Maybin said. “Art was a release for me. It was something I could focus my attention and talents on. It was something that allowed me to have something in life to really perfect my craft, to say that this is something I can make my own. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to live it more and more.”

Monday, Young Audiences is providing grant money to keep the arts in schools.

“Young Audiences is the largest arts and education network in the United States. It was founded here in Baltimore in 1950. Our vision is that all students have the opportunity to imagine, to create and realize their full potential through the arts,” said Young Audiences Executive Director Stacie Evans. “We bring in professional musicians, actors, dancers and visual artists into our schools as a way to keep the arts alive. We’re going to be giving 20 additional schools in Baltimore City the opportunity to have artists come into their schools through about $35,000 in grants. We have about a hundred different artists that we bring into our schools across the state. Young Audiences has grown to 30 Young Audience chapters across the nation. Collectively, we serve five million students.”

The Patterson Park Public Charter School is one of 20 schools in the city receiving grant money.

“This is very big for us. We are one of the recipients of the Access For All grants. We’re going to see some African dancers today. Being able to bring these performances right here to the school is really important to make sure that what kids see about the arts isn’t just what they read in a book,” said principal Dr. Charles Kramer.

Important for an NFL star and the students he met Monday.

“With these kids we’re working with, you want them to have the same opportunities. With art programs being taken out of the school systems, a lot of kids aren’t getting that. Even if it takes us coming into the classrooms to do a program like this on our own, that’s what we’re going to do,” Maybin said.

Aaron Maybin is a graduate of Mt. Hebron High School in Howard County and attended Penn State University. Monday, $35,000 in grants were handed out.


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