There is more to Charm City than what you see on the news. Marques Dent, a lifelong resident, has seen the good and bad in Baltimore while growing up in east Baltimore.
Having served in several different places throughout his military career, being home is true community because they wrap themselves around their own. “I’m very satisfied with Baltimore”, says Dent. It still has a good down home feel from City hall to the police department.
The number one problem that Marques Dent sees is too many are relocating out of the city and a major effort is needed to bring them back and add new life to the city while reevaluating homeownership in the area. Many of the inner city programs aren’t widely publicized and are underutilized. Many think they don’t have the ability to own a home. Safety is also a factor seeing how the city is portrayed in the media. The mindset has to change. TRF, The Reinvestment Fund, managed by Mr. Gary Crum from the 12th district, and the Vacant to Value, a mayoral program, are just a couple of programs helping those looking toward homeownership.
Role models come and go, but for Marques Dent, Russell Neverdon Sr., instrumental to his family and instrumental in helping with the program that Marques started a few years ago for those coming out of jail has been a huge influence in his life. The DENT group through 5 Starr Enterprise stands for Delivering Education Needs Together. This program focuses on rehabilitation and education of those with jail time who need a fresh start. Workforce development, full time jobs with benefits are essential here. Many families are working at least two part time jobs and are still unable to afford what is necessary to sustain daily life.
The children of this city are just as important. Many of the area afterschool programs and recreation centers are underfunded or are not being used. The principal of the Dr. Bernard Harris Elementary School came to Marques out of the need for afterschool program after city funding was cut. For the last 18 months, he and the National Association of Black Veterans (NABVETS), has been helping to keep such programs running for children in the city.
There are two key events held yearly by Mr. Dent. The Back to School event has been up and running for the past four years and has supplied over 3000 city kids with needed supplies. The holidays host another event called Dinner with Dent that supplies meals, food, coats and other services. This event alone has distributed over 40,000 pounds of food, clothing, toys and necessary items to those in need.
As the climate changes, needs change. Participation and dedication are vital in the process of getting involved. Having been a part of campaigning since childhood and participating in the political process, Marques Dent looks forward to continuing involvement in the future.
“In order to celebrate the work must be done. At 30, the work is far from over. I celebrate the successes of friends and family, but my work as a community leader has yet to reach that celebratory mark”.
Marques Dent, a young man full of change and hope for the city of Baltimore.
This article is featured in the Bridge Gazette
A true community advocate, in 2011 Marques founded the D.E.N.T Group (Delivering Educational Needs Together). This program originally was solely offered at the Oliver Community Center, and has grown across the city.