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April 17, 2000


Baltimore, MD – Opening day for Oriole Park at Camden Yards means the Flying Fruit Fantasy concession stand is open for another season of business. The concession stand, which sells fruitshakes, is part of the Choice Jobs Program of the Shriver Center at UMBC and provides practical employment education and work experience for young people, 14 to 18 years old.

“Our program is based on the premise that troubled youth can positively redirect their lives if they are guided on a structured and supportive path to adulthood,” says Jeff Goldman, assistant director of Choice Jobs.

And, run a successful business, as well. The Flying Fruit Fantasy stand was cited by Washingtonian Magazine as among the “best in the ballpark” last summer, even as it was providing 40 jobs for at-risk youth and generating over $34,000 in revenue. One can never be sure who might make a stop at the stand. Several seasons ago, President Bill Clinton made a visit and tried a fruitshake.

The Flying Fruit Fantasy concession stand, which was established in 1991 and is located behind home plate on the main concourse, is made possible by a $25,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice and $30,000 from a Community Development Block Grant. Additional support comes from Aramark, the Maryland Stadium Authority and the Orioles organization.

“Choice Jobs provides real world-of-work training, with particular focus on the how-to's, such as resume writing, interview techniques, social skills and job retention,” says Goldman. Adding, “Job Coaches take an active role in each participant's continuing development.”

“This is such an important program,” says John Martello, vice provost for community partnerships and founder and executive director of the Shriver Center. “And, as such, is a powerful example of the university serving the community in a real and useful way.”

Posted by dwinds1 at April 17, 2000 12:00 AM