Men and Families Center



Our mission is to improve the quality of relationships between fathers and their children, thus enhancing the preservation of families. The Center is a coordinating place that increases accessibility of services and community awareness to reduce the larger social issues of poverty, as well as injustice of men and their families living in East Baltimore and beyond. 

We have a tight knit community of men, boys, and their families, who are in great health and are empowered to build stable and successful lives.


A Positive Source of Inspiration for Men, Boys, and their Families in East Baltimore.

Social expectations about men’s involvement in the care of children and especially raising boys to adulthood are changing slowly thanks to non-profits like the Men and Families Center in East Baltimore.

The Center’s primary focus is to address the needs of men in the community with holistic solutions that help them become self-sustaining. We also make the transition from underemployment, unemployment to employment more fluid and rewarding.



At MFC, our leaders and trainers inspire change and encourage opportunity. We help to alleviate barriers to employment for young men (ages 18-24) in East Baltimore by providing holistic supportive services via training programs and apprenticeship-mapping projects with employers.

We are the leaders of the East Baltimore community. We support and empower men, children, and their families so that they can become strong and empowered leaders who give back to the community. We help you help yourself.





As the Executive Director of Men and Families Center (formerly known as The Men Center), Mr. Leon Purnell is more than a Community Leader and Activist. He is also a “Game Changer.” With his team of supporters he systematically addresses the daily, ongoing needs of East Baltimore men, boys and their families while demonstrating his commitment to creating social change and to reducing the oppression of men and families in Baltimore City and the nation.

Mr. Purnell holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work and Education from Morgan State and Coppin State Universities respectively. From this background he collaborated with Johns Hopkins on a large array of health projects that helped reduce health disparities, lower cardiovascular disease, treat hypertension and other such conditions among peoples living in the community. 

His biggest “change” was the creation of “The Neighborhood Navigator” Program that pulled together 55 people who were underemployed, unemployed, or retired from the community and taught them to canvas the area for families needing immediate support and rehabilitation. In other words, this planned organizational change project provides a range of social intervention services, not to mention goodwill to men and their families in East Baltimore and beyond.



Black boys and men need to see adults like them who are high school graduates, have college degrees, are successful in the workplace, and who aren’t incarcerated.  

Social and economic indicators of Black male development in the United States provide a profile of individuals whose quality of life is in serious jeopardy. From an early age, it has become increasingly apparent that Black males are confronted with a series of obstacles in their attempts to attain academic; career, and personal-social success – Richard Wright, The Native Son


At the Men and Families Center in East Baltimore, we see how the cultivation of male identity and positive role model development is working. We also realize that there is so much more work that needs to be done and need your support.


Counseling – Non-traditional counseling, using male leadership and the empowerment approach
Workshops – specialized workshops focused on key issues Baltimore.
Parenting – building, developing and maintaining healthy family relationships 
Healthcare – free health screenings, health awareness and prevention workshops
Rites of Passage Programs – for adult and young males to promote positive male leadership within families and the community

And more…


The Center is a coordinating place that increases the accessibility of services to men, boys, and families as well as build community awareness of the social and economic needs of men and families across the community.

The Neighborhood Navigators: A strategy used by the late Clarence Du Burns called “Block-by-Block Navigators” which assigned Block Leaders on each street the job to mobilize people to vote. In a similar fashion, MFC’s Executive Director, Leon Purnell pulled together 55 people who were underemployed, unemployed, or retired from the community and trained them to canvas the area for individuals and families needing immediate support and services. Navigators meet, greet, and knock on doors in their communities with one goal in mind – changing the mindset to new and improved ways of living, especially their health.

The Male Parenting System (MPS): MPS is the nucleus of all Center interventions.  Its purpose is to provide fathers, males who are in father roles, and men preparing for fatherhood with the skills, techniques, and resources needed for effectiveness in all areas of life. Through the MPS component, participants are challenged to reassess their preconceptions about themselves and their role as parent.

Re-Entry Program: MFC provides holistic services to returning men (and sometimes women) to the local communities. The program focus strongly on life skills and connecting this population to resources and opportunities to prevent recidivism. We also refer and work with returning population to secure housing and employment and connect them to healthcare services.

The Egbe Akokonrin Rites of Passage Program: Developed by the Men and Families Center to facilitate community-conscious manhood development in East Baltimore. Our boys are disproportionately bombarded by environmental threats of poverty, crime, injustice, and lack of proper role models in the home. Without the benefits of supportive systems of prevention, protection, and care provided by the Center through this Program, unfortunately many will not survive their environment. Young men are encouraged and mentored to focus and create realistic goals that will assist them into becoming strong, accountable, responsible, and productive individuals, in their families, schools, and communities.

Spontaneous Youth Program: Designed to empower children and youth with the opportunity to learn and play an important role in community engagement, advocacy, and social work projects. Our youth are our sons, daughters, neighbors, and youth leaders in training. They are the unheard voices often overlooked by our government and policymakers especially when laws are enacted that greatly impacts our their generation. Our young people are the eyes of the present and future of our community.

Other Direct Service Programs:

  • Life Skills Referral Programs – We make whomever we serve employable. Case Workers provide ongoing support services to men needing social and training assistance. Men are guided and encouraged to seek out resources that address immediate needs such as job readiness, employment opportunities, trade license and apprenticeship programs, legal aid, GED/literacy, family counseling, substance abuse treatment, and shelter/housing.
  • Health Screening Education – MFC offers health screening and follow-up to all participants in the organization’s programs. We provide screenings in the hope of early detection for major chronic and life-threatening diseases especially since survival rate is lower in low-income communities
  • Child Support Services – We encourage each non-custodial parent (NCP) to support his/her child focusing on fair interventions as well as advocate for reasonable support payments. We also advocate for the parental rights of NCPs.
  • Free Expungement Clinics – Provide legal support to anyone needing to clean up or remove issues from personal records so they access gainful employment and be eligible for promotions and advancements at work.
  • Home Buyers Clinics – Home ownership is encouraged to help enable renters to become homeowners. Classes are attended by those for whom this is a chance of a lifetime opportunity to buy a home. They also learn how to better manage money to be eligible for new home buyers credits
  • Mediation – Valuable service especially for men returning to the community after been locked away for many years. Many need to learn to agree when the heart is hurting. We help them understand that the child is the most important person to consider during mediation
  • Back-to-School Block Parties and Health Fair –MFC generates excitement and provides supplies for youth to ensure they are set up for success. Our children are ready for school on day one without excuses.
  • Thanksgiving Food Basket Give-away – We gift 50-100 well thought about grocery baskets so that families maintain traditions of gathering. This is a week’s supply of food and for some, the most meaningful time of the year.
  • Christmas Events for the Schools & Community – Each year seven local schools identify 40 children that might not receive gifts for the holidays. We collect toys, hats, gloves, books, toiletries, and snacks and deliver to the schools during Christmas week. In addition, one evening that week, the Center hosts “Christmas at the Center” for 50 plus families in the community. They are given food baskets, toys, and similar items are donated to the schools
  • Three Days of Kwanzaa Celebration Event – Movie night about historical events and times. We celebrate the principles of this tradition to encourage unity in the family, community, nation, and race. We entertain with drum and dance activities, singing, meal and snacks
  • Martin Luther King Day Celebrations – Celebrating and honoring historic national figures as role models for the youth. The morning celebrations open with prayers and service. We then spend the day feeding and giving away toiletries, coats, gloves, hats, and snacks to the homeless. We usually complete the day by hosting a black history contest with prizes.
  • Outdoor Flea Markets –A vehicle for residents and local small vendors to generate additional income for their families and the community
  • Environmental Pest Eradication and Trash Removal Program – Providing a “face lift” to the CARE Community and reducing pest infestation in the area.
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