Larry Griffin was a drug addict for 28 years and has spent time living on the streets.
"I know what it feels like to have nobody out there," he said.
Griffin was one of several nonprofit leaders to plead with the Annapolis City Council to continue funding community grants Monday night. The requests came during a public hearing on the fiscal year 2013 operating budget.
Robert Taylor is an Annapolis resident who has benefited from We Care and Friends. He said he was living on the streets five years ago and was addicted to cocaine before joining the program.
"I owe my sobriety to We Care and Friends," Taylor said. "Mr. Griffin—he really helped me out and I'm grateful for him."
Taylor added that he has been clean for four years.
Griffin told the council that his program has been instrumental in reducing crime in the Annapolis area.
"I need you, you need me," he said.
Sascha Lipczenko, director of the Annapolis Youth Services Bureau for the Anne Arundel County Community Action Agency, said there has been an increase in youth suicides in the county. But, he added, prevention services are going down because funding is decreasing.
"This year we're starting to see kids having greater and greater needs," Lipczenko said. "Our kids are too valuable not to invest in."
Deborah Wood, founder of the Chesapeake Children's Museum, also asked for funding to service the community's children.
The museum features hands-on learning activities related to the arts, sciences and humanities, live animals and musical performances.
Wood said the program is especially helpful for low-income groups who benefit from free services.
"We are a place where there's a mixing of generations, there's mixing of families from all different areas," she said.