Baltimore City youth hold a check for $3 million that nonprofit B360 received to build a permanent dirt bike park and education center inside city limits. Photo by Wambui Kamau.

After a year of campaigning, a Baltimore City nonprofit has won $3 million in federal funds for a permanent dirt bike park and education center inside city limits.

Democratic U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Maryland’s Secretary of Juvenile Services, Vincent Schiraldi, joined Brittany Young, founder of B360, in the announcement on Friday.

“These are very, very competitive funds,” U.S. Sen. Cardin pointed out, prompting the room to explode in applause. “This will give you the capacity to really reach out and meet the children where they are, and help them with their career development.”

Since 2017, B360 has used dirt bike culture to teach youth about STEM. The group has also decreased Baltimore’s dirt bike-related arrests by 81%, employed 36 former street riders, and increased career readiness, Young said.

Young, who tearfully accepted the check, said the funds will go towards hiring full time staff at B360 and constructing the dirt bike park.

“Imagine a space where you can ride indoors,” Young said. “A space you can ride outdoors, have a commercial kitchen, classrooms and also bring that home grown talent front and center, right here in Baltimore.”

For 16-year-old Tristan Tremble, B360 has become more than an afterschool program where he has learned how to ride and operate dirt bikes.

“A lot of people don’t know what this means to us,” Tremble said. “We have a family, but here I have a home.”

Read more (and listen) at WYPR.