Hard COR: Baltimore Program with a New Approach for Youth

Hard COR: Baltimore Program with a New Approach for Youth

Munir Bahar

Munir Bahar means business. Beating away at a heavy bag in his personal gym, his moves are swift and calculated, his focus is sharp and his words are carefully spoken as he recalls his past with the ill tone of regret, but the proud look of his redemption.

A small participant in drug trafficking, Bahar once contributed to the deterioration of the streets of Baltimore. A brief, but hard career beginning at age 13, he became a repeated offender with criminal charges that included misdemeanor assault to felony drug possession. After serving his last sentence in August of 2001 at the Baltimore City adult correctional facility, Bahar decided to change his self-destructive direction and learn how to save his own life by discovering self-worth. Now he seeks not only to deter the negative behavior of Baltimore City youth but change the health disparities amongst them as well.

Certainly no newbie to youth advocacy, Bahar first began his work 5 years ago with Brother II Brother, a mentoring program he created while a student at Morgan State University. Brother II Brother was unique—its mission statement included teaching youth professionalism and business literacy. Understanding the threat of obesity, high blood pressure, and other health issues that affect poor working class communities throughout the United States, Bahar and a few of his Brother II Brother colleagues decided to take it a step further and implement a holistic plan for the development of youth. With that in mind, COR (Community Organized Response) was established.

“Our goal was to create a program where we can instill principles of discipline, commitment, concentration, correctness, and consistency and do it in a fashion where we also explore aspects of physical and mental health,” says Bahar.

With a tuition and parental involvement requirement, COR is a 12 month long rites of passage training program for young males from ages 12-16 that includes fitness training, Vietnamese Martial Arts, African Drumming, and special outdoor activities. COR stands out for its program overview, which consists of a cultural experience for not only the youth at risk but male youth in general.

“So regardless of where they come we are accepting young males from all across the city to participate in this program,” says Bahar. “All young men I believe have to learn discipline. It doesn’t matter what type of economic background, social status, religion, or ethnicity they come from. Discipline is a human requirement for success.”

For more information about COR, contact Munir at 410-534-5397