20 years of opening doors and
In Baltimore City, 38% of adults are either unable to
read or read below the fourth grade level (National
Institute for Literacy, 2001) and over 142,000 adults do
not have a high school diploma. According to a recent
study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
Baltimore public schools are only graduating 38.5% of
their students (USA Today).
The majority of the
Center’s learners (70-80 percent) are recognized as the
working poor, members of households living below 100
percent of poverty with at least one family member
working. They are a part of an unskilled working
class that can no longer survive economically without a
high school diploma.
The South Baltimore Learning Center is a community based
nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the
self-sufficiency of educationally disadvantaged adults
in the Baltimore area.
SBLC provides services to more than 1300 learners each
year. In the past year, 73 SBLC learners earned
their high school diplomas, our best year ever.
Our success — the success of our learners — rate
continues to increase!
The Programs :In addition to ABE (Adult Basic
Education), pre-GED and GED classes, and a one-on-one
tutoring program, SBLC provides life skills training,
career preparation services and options for pursuing
college programs. SBLC is the sole authorized provider
of the External Diploma Program (EDP) for Baltimore City
through which qualified adults can earn their high
school diploma with independent assignments and a
The South Baltimore Learning Center
(SBLC) was started in 1988 as the literacy project for
the Coalition of Peninsula Organizations (COPO).
In 1990, it became a neighborhood-based initiative for
tutoring adults in the community. It has grown to
serve hundreds of adults each year offering a variety of
educational services, many geared towards helping
learners earn their high school diplomas.
Award-winning building: SBLC’s classrooms, computer lab and
administrative offices are located in the imposing
former Southern District Police Station at the corner of
East Ostend and Patapsco streets, in a residential
section of South Baltimore. Constructed in 1896,
it functioned as a police station
complete with holding cells and a courtroom.
SBLC had been housed, along with several other
non-profit organizations in the building until 1999 when
it was able to acquire the facility. In January
2003, SBLC reopened its doors to an attractive,
efficient space for SBLC learners, instructors, staff
and volunteers. In recognition of the careful
restoration of this historical building the Center was
awarded the 2004 Historic Preservation Award from
Baltimore Heritage, Inc. In addition, Sonia Socha was
presented with the 2007 Stewardship Award by the
Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) for her role int he
award-winning restoration and adaptation of the Southern
Police Station building in fulfillment of SBLC's mission
to serve disadvantaged residents of Baltimore and MHT's
mission to preserve historic resources for future
generations. The Southern Police Station is listed in
the 2001 National Register of Historic Places, Division
of Historical and Cultural Programs, Maryland Historical
Board of Directors
Anne Heesters Schroth, President
Barry Blumberg, Past President
Ian Neuman, Vice President
Streett Baldwin, Treasurer
Darlene Davis, Secretary
Vicki Pepper, Member At
Margaret (Peggi) Powell
Steven G. Tomczewski
Charles Morton, Jr.,
Charles Morton, Jr.
Susan Sachs Fleishman
Anthony Randall, Sr.
MD Delegate Brian K. McHale
Councilman Edward L. Reisinger
R. Christopher Rosenthal
MD Delegate Melvin L. Stukes
Stephen C. Weiss