Roca Baltimore, MD

Roca Baltimore, MD

Serving 100 young men from Baltimore since Summer 2018

880 Park Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: 413-523-3165


With so much violence in Baltimore, we all have a role to play in bringing about change. Roca’s role is small: focus on the young people who are in the throes of violence, the ones who are not ready for change yet. Our youth workers find them, knock on their doors relentlessly until they respond, build relationships, and bring them to Roca. We work with each one of them for four years until they build critical employment, education, and life skills, which help them build the safe life they want. We work with whoever we can to keep them safe, and use data and research to get better and prove that it works. We know change takes time, but we also know change is possible.


Roca is Baltimore’s newest effort to reduce crime among children, young adults

July 10, 2018

Around that same time, Molly Baldwin was back and forth from Massachusetts to Maryland – on a mission to bring a program she says could’ve saved Dawnta and those…

From: WMAR Baltimore

Nonprofit Roca begins relentless pursuit of Baltimore’s most dangerous young men — to change them

July 4, 2018

A new team decked out in purple shirts hit the streets of East and West Baltimore this week, in pursuit of some of the most troubled and potentially dangerous young…

From: The Baltimore Sun


Combating Violence at the Grassroots

March 7, 2018

Pugh has also moved to bring the Boston-based Roca anti-violence program, which targets young people 17-24, who are most vulnerable to violence and crime…

From: AFRO

How And When Will The Cycle Of Violence & Corruption In Baltimore End?

February 28, 2018

The mayor is launching the Roca program, targeting young men once considered unreachable, with intense efforts to get them to turn their lives around…

From: CBS Baltimore


Why Baltimore, Why Now

When we started working with young people in Massachusetts 30 years ago, we believed change was possible. In the 30 years that has passed, we’ve been working relentlessly to prove it. And now it’s our time to use what we’ve learned to help find a way out of violence, shootings, and so many unnecessary deaths.

I grew up in Baltimore and, like all of you, I am devastated by the loss of so many lives in the city. Whether we understand why, whether we like it or not, something has gone terribly wrong for so many of the young people in our country. Too many of them have learned that violence is the only way to live, that shooting gains respect, that guns are normal, and that dying young is just what happens.

It is a tremendous privilege to take part in some small way in reducing the violence in Baltimore. As you are so painfully aware, we can’t arrest or program our way out of this escalating violence – we need a different approach. And we believe it’s possible.

We have no illusions. We know that this work will be difficult and that change doesn’t happen overnight. And we know we have a lot to learn. But we also know that change is possible and that it would be an incredible privilege to be part of this change.

We are deeply inspired by so many in Baltimore who work so hard to bring about change – terrific organizations, committed people, public agencies, elected officials, businesses, foundations, and community leaders. We are honored to join these incredible efforts.

At Roca, we’ve been preparing for this moment for years. Now it’s our time to get to work. We hope to be worthy of this opportunity.

Molly Baldwin
Founder & CEO, Roca
July 2, 2018

Learn more about Roca’s Intervention Model

Roca’s Intervention Model is designed to help high-risk young men leave streets and gangs and go to work. Through relentless outreach, tailored programming and collaboration with community partners, Roca helps young men transform their lives.

Learn More

Leyla Layman

Leyla Layman

Executive Director, Roca Baltimore

Prior to joining Roca, Leyla brings over ten years of experience in program management, creating successful teams, and coordinating City and State governmental agencies, as well as community stakeholders.

Most recently, Leyla served as the Chief Operating Officer for Young Audiences of Maryland.  Her prior roles include serving as Deputy Director for the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice where she oversaw Baltimore City’s juvenile justice strategy.  She also served as Director of the Baltimore City Health Department’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention which housed the Safe Streets Initiative. Leyla has focused her career on helping to improve the outcomes of children and young adults in Maryland.

Leyla received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Psychological Services from Northwestern University.

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