Beat the Streets – Baltimore (BTS) is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2011 by partnering with Baltimore City Public Schools to organize after-school amateur wrestling


Real People. Real Results.

Complex challenges will never be solved by one person or organization alone. We need to work together. That’s why we set out to build a thriving, diverse community where people collaborate across sectors, networks, and neighborhoods. Working alongside a supportive community propels Baltimore youth forward through trusted relationships and tailored resources to match any stage, sector, or idea. We are committed to the young men we serve by challenging them intellectually, strengthening them physically, nurturing them emotionally.

Rudy continues his longstanding support for Beat the Streets – Baltimore, while also supporting college, career, and life readiness in communities across the country through his work as a partner in the firm FourPoint Education Partners.

Rudy recently served as Chief Education Officer for the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, following his role with Baltimore City Public Schools as executive director of college and career readiness from 2014-2017. Previously, Rudy worked for 13 years as a high school math and computer science teacher and school and district administrator in Milwaukee Public Schools (WI). He also coached youth, high school, and university teams for 10 years.

Rudy was a 3X state wrestling champion and a Cadet national champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, who went on to become a 2X NCAA qualifier as a 4-year starter for Stanford University, where he earned a bachelor’s in linguistics. He continued his education with support from NCAA and Pac-10 Conference post-graduate scholarships and is currently working on his doctorate in education at Johns Hopkins.

Rudy Ruiz

Board Chairman

Jake Weinfeld is a social entrepreneur interested in starting and growing programs that empower young people to become leaders in their community. After graduating from University of Miami, Jake worked in business development, while leading an entrepreneurship education program for high school students. This experience led him to leave the business world and join Teach for America in Baltimore..

During Jake’s three years in the classroom, he volunteered for a start-up non-profit, MERIT Health Leadership Academy, which provides mentorship, academic enrichment and work experiences in hospitals and research labs. In 2015, Jake became one of MERIT’s first full-time staff members. He has worked to concretize programming and operations as the organization grows. In 2015, MERIT served 50 high school and college students. In the 2017-18 school year, MERIT serves over 250 middle school, high school, and college students. During this period of expansion, MERIT has received national recognition as a promising model for increasing diversity in the medical workforce.

In his spare time Jake enjoys, cooking, yoga, sports, and exploring the outdoors

Jake Weinfeld

Baltimore Board Vice Chair

Mr. Mike Z. Benoit graduated from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland in 2002. He also received a Master’s Degree in 2005 and a School Leadership and Improvement certificate in 2007 from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

Mr. Benoit has served in progressively responsible positions in Baltimore City Schools, Baltimore City’s most accomplished Mental Health agencies, as well as for a non-profit organization in the Maryland Out of School Time (OST) network. He has experience teaching special education, Individual Education Plan (IEP) development, special education compliance, Section 504 development, Student Support Plan development, Restorative Practice, community conferencing, school leadership, psychiatric rehabilitation, therapeutic behavior support, grant writing and after school program management.

Mike holds a distinguished record of success with over 16 years of experience in education and school leadership, over 10 years in mental health supportive services and over 3 years in out OST management. His passion is to give back to his community as he served as a: Board Member for Autism Speaks, Baltimore City Special Education Advisory Committee and Beat the Streets Baltimore.

Mike Benoit

Baltimore Board Treasurer

Nicole Watford is a passionate educator who shares the importance and value of education to as many young people as she comes across. Her passion stems from the negative experiences she encountered as an elementary school student many years ago.

Driven to make a difference in the lives of the boys and girls she meets, Nicole has dedicated the past seventeen years of her life teaching students not only core academic skills to help them meet academic standards, but also challenging them to be the best person they can be—without exception.

In her career as an educator, Nicole has been honored to teach elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students. She genuinely inspires a love of learning to whomever she meets. As a first-generation college graduate from an inner-city community, she is completing her doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership at Morgan State University. Her future endeavors include sharing her research on college and career pathways among underserved students, advocating for educational equality to close academic, college enrollment and employment gaps, and continuing to teach and serve her community.

Nicole Watford

Baltimore Board Secretary

Kurt McHenry is a co-founder of Cycurion, holding the position of President and COO. Mr. McHenry also holds COO roles in Cycurion’s two subsidiaries, Cloudburst Security and Axxum Technologies. Prior to founding Cycurion Mr. McHenry held President and Chief Operating Officer positions at Archura, LLC and NetCom Solutions International, Inc.

Mr. McHenry also served as Vice President of Marketing for NetCom Solutions and, prior to that, as Vice President of Business Development. Prior to joining NetCom Solutions in 1997, Mr. McHenry held various sales and marketing positions for AT&T Global Information Systems and NCR.

Mr. McHenry earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from George Mason University and has attended Executive Education programs at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. Mr. McHenry has served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Washington Wrestlers in Business Network and the Board of Directors of the SkyWalker Flight School, a non-profit organization focused on providing opportunities through sports for the youth of the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Kurt McHenry

Baltimore Board Member

Brian Saval is the Vice President of Saval Foodservice, the largest independent broad line foodservice distributor in Maryland. He is also the founder and managing partner of Hollins Market Properties and serves on the board of Hollins Roundhouse. Brian was named to the Baltimore Business Journal’s “40 under 40” Class of 2020.

Brian was a Maryland state champion and two-time national prep place winner in high school. He wrestled for Muhlenberg College for three years and received his B.S. from University of Baltimore in 2009. He has over ten years of experience running youth wrestling programs in the Maryland Junior Wrestling League. Brian and his wife, Jami, live in Ellicott City with their daughter Sloan.

Brian Saval


Larry Shaw is a Pan-Afrikan organizer focused on youth development and community building at large.

Larry is an author and lecturer. He leads many community initiatives; Political Education Programs, Jegna Program, Social & Economic Research, which all has its goals of achieving economic and ecological justice for Afrikan/Black and other indigoenous communities.

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Larry has been able to travel the globe helping to organize Afrikan people throughout the diaspora. He holds a B.A. Degree in Communication from University of Pikeville. Larry is a founding member of the “bARTer & build THINK tank.

Larry Shaw

Baltimore Board Member

Kurtis Palermo is a highly driven professional working to close the equity gap, advance social justice and reduce violence in urban settings across the country. He is committed to working with community and criminal justice partners, local organizations and government entities to best serve young people and their communities.

As Director of Roca in Baltimore, Kurtis leads a team that is committed to utilizing a long-term behavioral health approach for working with young people at the center of urban violence. Through his work, he is able to impact change on a frontline and systemic level.

Wrestling has had a significant impact on his life both as an athlete and coach and hopes to bring those experiences and knowledge to Beat the Streets Baltimore.

Kurtis earned a B.A. in Political Science from The University of North Carolina-Charlotte, where he also acted as President of the Wrestling Club for two years and an M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Southern New Hampshire University, where he was selected as the 2017 Commencement Student Speaker.

Kurtis Palermo

Baltimore Board Member


The Beat the Streets Wrestling Program (BTS Baltimore) has been dedicated to improving the lives of children and has helped hundreds of Baltimore’s youth for over 10 years to build character, discipline and self-esteem through their participation in the great sport of wrestling. The BTS Baltimore objective is to establish more elementary programs in coordination with the Baltimore Public School league as a feeder program to the existing Baltimore public High Schools, as well as more park district and youth programs. As a 501c(3) nonprofit organization, BTS Baltimore relies on individual donors and foundations for its funding.

We aim to make a Lifelong Impact through the lessons learned on the wrestling mat — discipline, perseverance, self-reliance, humility, and a strong work ethic.

Open to dedicated middle school and high school student-athletes across, the Academy teaches the skills necessary to succeed in wrestling, graduate high school, and pursue post-secondary study. Beat the Streets serves youth of color from low-income backgrounds, who statistically are more likely to face barriers to graduation and college entry.


Beat the Streets


The mission of BTS is to provide disadvantaged youth with a positive environment that nurtures physical and mental development through wrestling, mentoring, and tutoring programs. Our goal has been to develop a network of BTS program sites throughout the Baltimore area’s underserved communities.