When Van Brooks ‘12 was a teenager, his only plan was to become a professional athlete. But after a football injury left him paralyzed and unable to continue playing football, he realized the importance of having a back-up plan and focusing on his education.
Now, the inspirational 27-year-old is working to inspire Baltimore youth to focus on education. Last week, Brooks opened the doors to Safe Alternative Foundation for Education (S.A.F.E), a community center where students can learn about science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM); literacy; and health and fitness on weekends and after school.
Brooks established the center at 1501 W. Lexington St., in the Franklin Square community where he grew up. Brooks told The Baltimore Times that through the years, he has witnessed the amount of free activities in the area dwindle.
“We’ll actually be one of the only facilities in the area offering the things that we are going to offer for free,” Brooks said.