Jaela Morris, aka Young Elder, is a recording artist who uses her craft to share the lived experiences of youth in Baltimore City. She understands first-hand Investing in People is crucial to an equitable Baltimore. She acknowledges that she has access to love, community, and education—and that not everyone does. The Baltimore Together Initiative was blessed to have her grace the stage at the 2023 Summit with a moving piece entitled written for the summit participants.
“That is why I take my education very seriously, because I know, with the right access, change can happen.” She is an optimist who tries to do good whenever possible, whether it’s organizing neighborhood cleanups or building a safe space for others to open up in: “My love for Baltimore, it runs deep, and I try to just help one person at a time.”
When she’s not cutting hair, Young Elder is studying social work at Coppin State University. But she is finding ways give back, she's apart of Youth Grantmakers (YG), a permanent youth co-led grantmaking body through which public and private youth-serving resources can flow. This grantmaking structure has been developed by older youth from Baltimore City ages 16-24 serving as the inaugural cohort of YGs. In the first cycle of grantmaking, YGs allocated $525,000 in resources to support Baltimore City older youth ages 16-24.
She also serves as an Youth Advisor for Center for Adolescent Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomburg School of Public Health. The Center for Adolescent Health is fortunate to have a talented, insightful, and energized youth to guide their work, providing feedback on their mission and research.