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'If It Wasn't For Art With A Heart, I Wouldn't Be Standing Here,' Says Program Graduate

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- An art program that helps Baltimore's underserved communities and homeless youth is expanding.

Collins Redd is busy helping the program that helped him when he needed it most.

"Especially in the winter time, it's hard to find somewhere to sleep at every night," said 22-year-old Redd. "I was homeless with my brother, but my brother was murdered."

For two years, he was living on the streets. Art With A Heart gave him hope, and now he's gainfully employed.

The program provides job opportunities for homeless youth, and art education for Baltimore's underserved communities.

The teens also take part in art projects, creating pieces they can sell for a profit.

"If it wasn't for Art With A Heart, I wouldn't be standing here," Redd said.

The program works with schools that have cut art classes, by providing art education even in the face of budget cuts.

Recently, Art With A Heart moved into a larger facility on Falls Road, which provides more space to help more people.

A vision for the mission that started 18 years ago by former attorney Randi Pupkin.

"I really just combined my love of people, which is why I became a lawyer, and my love of art, and started the organization out of the trunk of my car and a shed in my backyard," Pupkin said.

Now, in a former mill turned art space, the young minds have opportunity and feel empowered.

"Even when your back's against the wall, you can't lean on the wall because you still have to stand," said program graduate Tiana Bell.

[Reporter: "Do you feel like you're standing now?] "A little wobbly with some crutches, but eventually, I'll be able to stand on my own," Bell added.

Every year, Art With A Heart holds 11,000 classes for kids and adults throughout the Baltimore area.

Click here for more information. 

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