About Us

Hispanic family of father, mother and young daughter, casually dressed with soft smiles.

The Rebuild, Overcome, and Rise (ROAR) Center is a community-based, trauma-informed, survivor-centered program helping victims of violent crime in Baltimore City recover, exercise their rights, and rebuild their lives. 

On a larger scale, ROAR is active in community and movement partnerships to rework traditional responses to violent crime, improve how victims of crime are treated by the criminal justice system, and help prevent further violence.

What We Do
Lydia Watts, Executive Director of The ROAR Center speaking at a podium. Slide with text saying Honoring Lived Experience in Gun Violence Policy in background.
violent crime is the
cause of death for young people in baltimore city
BLACK Girls and young women are
more likely to die from gun violence than their white peers

ROAR was launched in 2019 by the University of Maryland Baltimore in response to the intolerably high frequency of violent crimes in Baltimore City, the overwhelming barriers to resources for survivors of these crimes, and the frequent mistreatment of survivors by the Baltimore City criminal justice system.

why we're here


Group of people lined up smiling

How We're

ROAR’s wide range of trauma-informed services are all 
provided at one location.

Our specialists truly understand how trauma impacts recovery. We help victims of crime understand that for themselves, too, as they decide what’s right for them. Survivors don’t have to travel to different locations and tell their story multiple times, possibly becoming re-traumatized in the process.

We work with survivors regardless of immigration status or whether the crime has been reported to police.

Unlike the Baltimore City Police and other institutions, we do not require survivors to cooperate with police or prosecute their case in order to receive our services.

The ROAR Center is changing the conversation about how victims of violent crime should be treated.

Treating survivors with dignity — regardless of their criminal record or involvement in the crime — enables powerful transformation for individuals, families, and communities. Our program provides vivid examples of success that strengthen movements toward community-based violence intervention (CVI) programs.

We’re rooted in Baltimore City and committed to its renaissance.

Our center will soon be housed in the restored offices of Juanita Jackson Mitchell in the Upton Hill neighborhood. Ms. Mitchell was a passionate civil rights leader and the first African American woman lawyer to practice law in Maryland.

ROAR operates a first-of-its-kind medical-legal partnership
specifically for gun violence survivors.

Together with the University of Maryland Medical Center, Shock Trauma, Violence Intervention Programs (VIP), we work at the victim’s bedside to protect their legal rights while they’re being treated for injuries in the hospital.

We provide community-based nurse care managers not affiliated with any insurance company or healthcare facility.

Our nurse care managers provide objective advice and coordination support to survivors of violent crime. We discuss options, connect them with the right healthcare providers and help them manage their care to meet their immediate and ongoing healthcare needs.

The ROAR Center is a non-hospital member of The HAVI.

The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (HAVI) builds and connects violence intervention programs and promotes equity for victims of violence globally.

ROAR stayed with me throughout the entire ordeal. I think I worked with everybody there. This one helped me with housing, this one with my medical issues, and this one with my veterans’ benefits. Then there was my lawyer. She took care of a whole lot. I so appreciate each and every one of those “angels.”

Ernesto H., Former ROAR Client