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President Visits Community Center That Helps Baltimore Families

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President Community Center
Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The president had a tight schedule during his Friday visit to Baltimore. One stop: a community center in Baltimore Friday.

He met with more than a dozen people at the Center for Urban Families.

As Rochelle Ritchie explains, it was a mixture of staff, students and alumni who all said they were encouraged by the president’s words.

Dozens of people lined Monroe Street as President Obama made his third stop of the day in Baltimore.

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to experience it. I’m just overjoyed,” said a resident.

“I saw him in the truck and I was excited,” said one girl.

Inside, the president discussed economic opportunity and being an effective parent.

The Center for Urban Families said it’s helped 20,000 vulnerable Baltimore families achieve stability and economic success. They said with the president’s visit Friday, it is a sign they’re moving in the right direction.

“You think you’re doing it in isolation. To have the President of the United States of America to come here and affirm what you’re doing as a team,” said Joseph T. Jones, president and founder of the organization.

Some who listened said while they might not be the commander-in-chief, they do relate to Obama’s story.

“Me, as well, coming from a single-parent home, my mom raised me as well. It just reached my heart. It’s necessary to reach out to other individuals,” said program alum Marcus Dixon.

The president left the center after about 45 minutes, but not before leaving something memorable behind.

“He just lifted it up instinctively and took a marker and he signed it. You know, it’s those kinds of things that are the innate qualities of this president,” said Jones.

WJZ is told no president has ever visited the Center for Urban Families, let alone this neighborhood.

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