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Rachel Beebe is a Sustainability Project Manager in Howard County Government. In this role, she manages the residential stormwater programs, as well as some outreach and education programs. She is the Mitigation Co-Chair for the Maryland Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers, on the Advisory Committee of the Watershed Stewards Academy, and is involved with many other community groups.

The Howard County Office of Community Sustainability has begun to implement a pilot program, CleanScapes Communities, with new features to encourage Best Management Practice (BMP) implementation across a broader segment of its residential population. OCS has received high levels of interest from County residents in the geographic pilot area. This program minimizes barriers to entry, especially financial and technical, to residents who might have been deterred from participating in the County’s existing residential program, CleanScapes. Thanks to a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the County is able this program to low-income residents free of charge; according to market research, low-income populations are very unlikely to install stormwater BMPs. The geographic pilot area was carefully selected to provide the highest chance of success to the pilot, so that the methodology of the program could be more accurately tested without interference from other factors.

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This Week Allan Kittleman Stops By!

Allan H. Kittleman was elected Nov. 4, 2014 to serve as Howard County’s 9th County Executive. From 2004 to 2014, Kittleman had served in the Maryland General Assembly as the Senator representing District 9. From 1998 to 2004, Kittleman represented Council District 5 on the Howard County Council.

Kittleman was a partner with Herwig & Humphreys, LLP before serving as Of Counsel at Godwin, Erlandson, Vernon & Daney, where his practice concentrated on representing employers in worker’s compensation matters.

During his tenure in the Maryland General Assembly, Kittleman was known as a bipartisan, independent leader and tireless advocate for many legislative causes, including strengthening Maryland public schools, stimulating economic growth and increasing transparency in government. He demonstrated particular dedication to legislative matters involving civil rights, fairness and equity. 

Improving the delivery of human services, closing the education gap and rebuilding aging infrastructure are among Kittleman’s top priorities as Howard County Executive. He has focused efforts on the revitalization of older communities, including the Long Reach and Oakland Mills village centers and sections of the Rt. 1 corridor. He is committed to open and transparent government, launching the county’s first open data portal and holding regular town hall meetings and roundtable discussions to gather public input on various issues.

Spurring economic development, encouraging businesses to expand or relocate to the County and maintaining a healthy tax base continue to be top priorities. Kittleman believes county government can provide top-notch services without burdening residents with unnecessary fees and tax increases, Howard County’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the state and its commercial occupancy rates among the highest.

Kittleman is a Howard County native, who attended county schools, graduating from Atholton High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a J.D. with honors from the University of Maryland Law School.

He and his wife Robin live in West Friendship. They have four children – Haley, Mary, Robby and James.  

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Greg Fitchitt of Howard Hughes talks about the proposed TIF (tax incentive financing) for Columbia's downtown.

Greg joined The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) as Vice President, Development in 2013, and in 2014 relocated to Maryland to focus on the development of Downtown Columbia. Before joining HHC, Greg completed nine shopping center redevelopments as a developer for Westfield on the west coast, including leading the development efforts for Westfield UTC in La Jolla, CA. In 2008 he obtained entitlements for a $1.0 billion mixed-use revitalization of the shopping center, and completed the $180 million first phase in 2012. The UTC project was awarded a Gold level rating for sustainability by the USGBC under the LEED-ND pilot program, the first regional shopping center to achieve such a rating. Together the Westfield projects completed under Greg’s direction represented over $530 million in investment.

Greg holds a BA in Philosophy from Pomona College and an MBA from UCLA.  In addition to his professional activities, Greg served for ten years on the boards of non-profit affordable housing developers in California. He currently serves as president of the Downtown Columbia Partnership and on the Howard County Chamber of Commerce board. Greg lives in Ellicott City with his wife Cristiane and their two young children.

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Barbara Catlin, MAc., is the Founder and Executive Director of Bigger Conversation, Inc.  She created Bigger Conversations Caregiver Wellness Program to educate and support family caregivers, as a result of her experience as a hospice volunteer for more than 20 years.  Ms. Catlin has conducted 15 Caregiver Wellness Circles in Howard County since 2012.  She currently serves on the Howard County Commission on Aging and has served on the Howard County Board of Health.  She was on the faculty of the TAI Sophia Institute in Howard County for 15 years.  Ms. Catlin maintains an acupuncture and healing arts practice in Columbia, MD.  

Bigger Conversations Caregiver Wellness Program

Family caregivers are the backbone of our nations long-term health care system.  In Howard County, there are an estimated 56,000 family caregivers. Caregivers can quickly become overwhelmed, exhausted, and isolated.  These stressors can affect the health and well-being of the caregiver, the patient, and their families. 

Bigger Conversations developed the Caregiver Wellness Circles to educate and support family caregivers.  The goal of the Caregiver Wellness Circles is for caregivers to learn techniques for self-care, and to develop an individualize self-care plan, with the aid our Caregiver Wellness Workbook.© 

After completing the Caregiver Wellness Circles, most of caregivers report making changes in at least one health habit, including diet, sleep, and exercise; most report a lessened sense of isolation and increased compassion for their loved one.

Ten months later, a caregiver who is tending her husband since he had a stroke, reported: “I am still doing the practices you taught us in class.” 

Bigger Conversation relies on the generous financial support from foundations and other organizations, to provide the Caregiver Wellness Circles to family caregivers.

For more information, visit the website  or email:

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Jessie Newburn Visits!

Jessie Newburn is an avid and long-standing advocate for healthy social media use in communities. She has created HoCoBlogs, a website and community of several hundred local bloggers; and TotallyHoco, Howard County’s most robust -- and certainly good-lookin’ -- online calendar. She has hosted dozens of parties for local bloggers, their readers and social media enthusiasts. And she is the initiating force behind Howard County’s vast list of local social media  hashtags.

She is currently the business development manager for Atigro, a digital marketing firm that provides better websites, enhanced SEO, mobile app development, reputation management and retargeted advertising. She occasionally drives for Uber and has recently published Uber Chronicles: Field Notes from the Front Seat, the first in a series. Oh, and she has a spare time business in the anti-aging field as well.

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Ned Tillman, environmentalist and author visits.

Author Ned Tillman believes very strongly that we only care for the places we love. He therefore shares his love for special places with the reader through fascinating stories of his travels throughout America. It is clear that he has made a difference with his life and the book inspires the ethic of personal responsibility as the only salvation there is for the natural world and the future of our children. He hosts a webpage that helps people learn ways to save the places they love at

Ned has enjoyed a long career in the environmental and energy industries, and now advises organizations on how to become more sustainable. He has served as chair of the County Environmental Sustainability Board, the County ten year General Plan, a state wide commission on alternative energy, and a regional land trust and nature center. He serves on the national board of the Izaak Walton League, The Maryland Science Center, and the Horizon Foundation. Ned received a BA from Franklin and Marshall College and a MS from Syracuse University in earth and environmental sciences. He has been on the staff of The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland and president of Target Environmental, Columbia Technologies, and Sustainable Growth, LLC. He is currently on a speaking tour inspiring others to join in the battle to restore our waters, our forests, and our land.

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Folks from Kennedy Krieger Institute visit

Kennedy Krieger Institute is an internationally recognized institution dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and musculoskeletal system. Did you know that Kennedy Krieger cares for more than 20,000 patients each year? They see patients from all 50 states and more than 90 countries.

Leslie Marsiglia is the Director of Individual Giving in the Office of Philanthropy at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Leslie has 25 years of experience in fundraising and has been with Kennedy for 2 ½ years. She has the pleasure of working with several departments, raising funds and awareness for them.  Those departments are the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, The Moser Center for Leukodystrophies and the Down syndrome Clinic & Research Center, as well as for our Kennedy Krieger schools.  She will provide an overview of Kennedy Krieger Institute for us today.

Dr. Beth Slomine is currently the co-director of the Center for Brain Injury Recovery and the director of training and neuropsychological rehabilitation services within the Department of Neuropsychology at Kennedy Krieger Institute. She is also an associate professor of psychiatry and associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Slomine is a licensed psychologist and board certified clinical neuropsychologist.  Dr. Slomine received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Florida in 1995. Dr. Slomine’s primary research interests include measurement of outcome following brain injury as well as exploring factors that influence outcome following neurological injury. Specifically, Dr. Slomine has developed and validated innovative measurement tools, examined neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric outcomes following brain injury, and explored the efficacy of medical and psychological intervention for treatment of brain injury. She is currently a co-investigator for a multi-center clinical trial examining outcome in children who receive hypothermia treatment following cardiac arrest. She is also currently exploring measurement and outcomes in children with brain injury who are in a minimally conscious state.

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This week's program: Author Louis Bayard

Louis Bayard: "The Accidental Novelist"

In the words of the New York Times, Louis Bayard "reinvigorates historical fiction," rendering the past "as if he'd witnessed it firsthand."

Louis' affinity for bygone eras can be felt in both his recent young-adult novel, the highly praised Lucky Strikes, and in his string of critically acclaimed adult historical thrillers, which include Roosevelt's Beast, The School of Night, The Black Tower, The Pale Blue Eye and Mr. Timothy.

A New York Times Notable author, he has been nominated for both the Edgar® and Dagger awards. He is also a nationally recognized essayist and critic whose articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Salon. His other novels include Fool's Errand and Endangered Species (Alyson). A former instructor at George Washington University, he is on the faculty of the Yale Writers Conference and is the author of the popular Downton Abbey recaps for the New York Times.

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The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland (The LLF) is a non-profit health service organization who saves and enhances lives through organ and tissue donation. As the organ procurement organization for Maryland, we facilitate donation and transplantation in area hospitals, provide donor family support, and educate hospitals and the general public about the life saving power of donation. We are passionate about our mission of saving and enhancing lives while honoring the legacy and generosity of our donors.

The organization, first known as the Maryland Organ Procurement Center (MOPC), was incorporated in 1983. In 1991, MOPC merged with the Maryland Tissue Bank and changed it's name to the Transplant Resource Center of Maryland (TRC). Finally, in 2007, TRC changed it's name to the current The Living Legacy Foundation. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services accredits The LLF as an organ procurement organization, and the State of Maryland licenses us as a tissue bank. Our tissue bank is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks.

The LLF is governed by a 25 member Board of Directors, which includes general public members, transplant recipient representatives and donor family members. The board also includes transplant physicians, surgeons and administrators from the two Maryland organ transplant centers (the University of Maryland Medical Center and The Johns Hopkins Hospital).

We work collaboratively with the 34 hospitals in our service area as well as with the Medical Examiner and our Funeral Home partners.

In April 2008, The Living Legacy Foundation along with the Medical Eye Bank of Maryland and the Washington Regional Transplant Community introduced Donate Life Maryland with the launch of The website, which is the home to Maryland’s online donor registry, allows Maryland residents to designate themselves as organ and tissue donors and assist in sharing donation decisions with family and friends.

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Guido Adelfio is a charter member and past President of the Metro Bethesda Rotary club. He is a fellow prostate cancer survivor who has made many presentations to Rotary clubs around the District to raise awareness of this #2 killer of men in the U.S.

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer that develops in men other than skin cancers, and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. In 2015 the American Cancer Society estimated over 220,000 men were newly diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 27,800 men died from the disease -- though many of them had lived with the disease for years prior to their deaths.

• The prostate is a gland that is a part of the male reproductive system that wraps around the male urethra at its exit from the bladder

• Common problems are BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis and chronic prostatitis (non-bacterial)

• Prostate cancer is common in men over 50, especially in African-Americans and in men who eat fatty food and/or have a father or brother with prostate cancer

• Symptoms of prostate problems (and prostate cancer) include urinary problems (little or no urine output, difficulty starting (straining) or stopping the urine stream, frequent urination, dribbling, pain or burning during urination), erectile dysfunction, painful ejaculation, blood in urine or semen and/or deep back, hip, pelvic or abdominal pain; other symptoms may include weight loss, bone pain and lower extremity swelling

• Prostate cancer is definitively diagnosed by tissue biopsy; initial studies may include a rectal exam, ultrasound and PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels

• Treatments for prostate cancer may include surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy

• PSA testing is considered to be yearly PSA tests; not all agree this should be done

• Identify prostate problems early is a way to reduce future prostate problems

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Health education has become a widely popular subject in recent years, but there’s one area of the health sector that remains somewhat of a taboo topic: psychiatry. That hasn’t prevented Tom Schmidt, BSN, RN, nurse manager of Howard County General Hospital’s (HCGH) Psychiatry Inpatient Unit, from establishing both community- and hospital-based speakers bureaus on the topic. In fact, it’s fueled his ambition.

“Psychiatry always has been behind closed doors. Nobody really knows what we do or how we do it. My group is very experienced; most have been here 20 or more years. I thought, let’s share our experience,” Schmidt explains.

Combining his expertise as a public speaker with his desire to promote the knowledge of HCGH’s psychiatry unit staff members, Schmidt decided about a year and a half ago to launch the hospital/community speakers bureau. It’s been well-received by community members and HCGH staff alike.

To date, inquiries for lectures by the community speakers bureau have varied greatly by subject and audience. Two senior groups affiliated with local church organizations have requested and heard lectures on topics relevant to their demographic: sleep disturbances and spirituality in aging. On the other side of the spectrum, the community speakers bureau also has responded to inquiries from school groups.

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At this Friday's meeting, Doug Miller from Fair Elections Howard County will talk about this local effort and how it fits into the larger movement for election reform.

Numerous citizens groups are pushing for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and other Supreme Court rulings of recent years that have resulted in a flood of cash for campaign coffers and super PACs that has all but drowned out the voices of ordinary voters.

As the arduous task of amending the U.S. Constitution continues, though, citizens are working toward other measures to restore balance and integrity to our political system within a largely unregulated environment. Local and state governments across the nation have begun to implement systems to amplify the effects of small donations from citizens to candidate campaigns.

This November, Howard County voters will decide by referendum whether to amend the Howard County Charter to allow for the creation and operation of the Citizens Election Fund, which would match small donations to candidates who forego the big ones.

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Edith Mayer Cord, born in Vienna in 1928, Edith moved to Italy with her family to escape the rise of Nazism in Austria. In 1938, Italy passed the same anti-Jewish laws, similar to the Nuremburg laws, and the entire family was asked to leave. Unable to receive a visa for any country, Edith and her family entered France illegally in April 1939 where they received political asylum. 

At the outbreak of World War II, her father was arrested as an enemy alien and sent to Les Milles, a camp near Marseille. Released in 1940, both he and her older brother were arrested again and sent to Gurs. After several other camps, both were deported to Auschwitz in the summer of 1942. Neither returned. 

During that time, Edith and her mother remained in Nice from where they were eventually kicked out as Nice was forbidden to Jews. They received a residence permit in a small village in France where Edith and her mother did farm work. When the mass deportations occurred, Edith was encouraged to go underground. At fourteen, Edith accepted because she was afraid of what would happen to her if she were arrested and sent to a concentration camp.

In July 1943, Edith went into hiding with false papers with the help of the Jewish scouts of France and their clandestine arm, the Sixième. She spent a year on the run, hiding in different schools, until she was smuggled into Switzerland in May 1944 with a group of thirty Jewish children. In Switzerland, still deprived of schooling, she worked as a nanny until the end of the war when she was able to rejoin her mother, who had managed to survive in a village in France. 

Back in France, the truth about the death camps and the Gestapo torture chambers became fully known. Edith was faced with the triple task of making a living, coming to terms with man’s inhumanity toward his fellow man, and getting an education. What followed were seven years of struggle, intense study and hard work. In 1949, Edith passed both baccalauréats with a major in philosophy and in 1952, she earned the Licence ès Lettres from the University of Toulouse before coming to the United States. 

Arriving in New York, Edith was self-supporting within two weeks. She went to night school and continued to take courses with an eye toward earning a PhD. In 1954, Edith married and had three children and now has seven grandchildren. From 1962-1979, she worked as a professor of French and German in the department of foreign languages at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. This was followed by a career change in 1979 when Edith started working in the financial services industry. In 1984, Edith earned her CFP designation and she continued her work as a financial advisor and securities broker until 2006, when she retired in order to write her book. She then translated her book into French and L’Éducation d’un Enfant Caché was published in 2013 by L’Harmattan. 

Edith now lives in Columbia, MD. During all these years, Edith has been a frequent speaker in schools, universities, churches, civic groups, and to government and military audiences-primarily in the Baltimore Washington area-where she shares her experiences and the lessons learned the hard way: how to rise above difficult circumstances, transcend hatred, find meaning and protect our freedom.

For more information about Edith, please visit her website

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Darren Easton

Mavis Lewis receives community service honor and donates $3,500 to

Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center.

The Rotary Club of Columbia/Patuxent has selected Mavis Lewis as the recipient of its fifth annual Community Service Above Self Award. The award recognizes a non-Rotarian who gives back to the community in a way that reflects the Club’s spirit of having fun through community service.

Mavis Lewis, a person of exemplary character and the ability to work with diverse populations has made a tremendous impact upon the community around her. Mavis has given unselfishly of her time, talent and financial resources in a myriad of ways, expecting nothing in return except the satisfaction of serving wherever she is needed.

A model of compassion, Mavis has provided food and transportation to the sick, given spending money to students attending her alma mater (Hampton University), helped an individual of another culture with his writing skills, and made provisions, on two occasion, to bring a student from Darfur, currently attending Hampton University, to Howard County to share his story. Through contact with the above mentioned student, Mavis was introduced to the Lost Boys Foundation, Outreach Africa. Through this organization, she and her late husband, William, sponsored a young boy in Darfur by providing tuition, meals and uniforms, enabling him to attend school in a safe environment.  Mavis has continued this sponsorship since her husband’s demise.


Mavis has served for twenty-one years as Campaign Chairperson for the Howard County Foundation for Black Educational and Cultural Achievement, Inc. where she has served as Program Chair and as Secretary for a number of years.

Served twelve consecutive years as President of the Columbia Alumni Chapter, Hampton University.  Under her leadership, the chapter participated in the “Adopt-a-Road program in which members were involved in community clean-up efforts.

Currently volunteers at the Food Bank whose mission is to feed the hungry. This activity is sponsored by St John Baptist Church of which she is a member.

Appointed by the County Executive, served as Chairperson of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission.  Led the Commission in two successful MLK observances, and a day of service by the members at the local Food Bank.

Co-authored a book entitled “Are Your Affairs in Order?”  As a function of their mission to educate the public, Mavis and her co-author give free workshops for community groups, churches, conferences, family reunions, etc. She also edited and published a book in 2012, entitled, OUR STORY, which is a Collection of Inspirational Messages from Past Scholarship Recipients from the Howard County Foundation for Black Educational and Cultural Achievement, Inc.

Established the William H. Lewis Memorial Endowment Fund at The Community Foundation of Howard County and Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia This annual book scholarship award will benefit deserving, full-time students who are residents of Howard County, Maryland while attending Hampton University.

Inducted into the Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame for her involvement in a multitude of county, state and national programs to feed the hungry, helping to ensure a brighter future for Howard County youth by providing funding for higher education, helping older adults plan their last Will and Testament, and helping to bring justice and economic empowerment to people all over the world.

The Community Service Above Self Award includes recognition at the Club’s Annual Grant Day Event on Friday, June 17, 2016 and $3,500 to be donated to a local non-profit in Mavis’s name.

The Rotary Club of Columbia/Patuxent

Chartered in 1986, the Rotary members of Columbia/Patuxent are a diverse group of business and professional leaders from the Columbia and Howard County area who take an active role in their communities while enriching their personal and professional lives. They volunteer in communities at home and abroad to help those in need, support education and job training, provide clean water, combat hunger and improve the health and lives of so many. They are the county’s largest club and each year are active in the most service projects and raise and give more money than any other club in the county.


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Living in Recovery (LIR), Howard County helps men and women reclaim their lives and break the cycle of addiction-rehab-relapse by combining affordable housing free of alcohol and drugs with peer support and a climate of personal accountability.

Too often people leaving drug and alcohol treatment programs quickly relapse because they return to their former housing and associates that supported their addiction. Recovery Housing helps stop the cycle of addiction-rehab-relapse and increases the chance for sustained recovery.

Living In Recovery was organized in 2010 as a nonprofit corporation – a group of volunteers committed to a dream of bringing the first recovery housing to Howard County. We now have three houses for men and one for women and have served over 100 people with 65% remaining sober while in residence. Experience has shown there is a need for more recovery housing in Howard County and that our housing model is effective.

LIR operates two houses for men in zip code 20794, one for men in 21042, and one for women in 21046. Each house has five residents.

Joe Willmott has been a volunteer, board member and pro bono consultant for human service organizations since 1999, focusing on housing and homelessness.

Prior to that time he served in marketing and general management positions with Baltimore Aircoil Company in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He served five years in the U.S. Navy.

Joe was one of the authors of the Howard County Plan to End Homelessness and currently serves on two oversight committees. He is a member of the Association of Community Services Public Policy Committee, Full Spectrum Housing Coalition, a Director of Living In Recovery and a weekly volunteer at the Grassroots Day Resource Center.

Joe holds degrees of Bachelor of Science (Physics) from Villanova University and Masters in Business Administration from Loyola College in Maryland. He is a member of Leadership Howard County Class of 2000. The Rotary Club of Pikesville recognized him as a Paul Harris Fellow in 2005.

Joe and his wife, Donna, reside in Columbia Maryland.

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Vanita Leatherwood from Hopeworks visits.

Hopeworks is Howard Counties Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center. Since 1978, the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County has been providing critical services to families affected by domestic violence and raising awareness in the community. In 2010, we added to our mission comprehensive services for survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse.

Prevention takes an entire community working together – challenging and changing the beliefs, attitudes and culture that allow them to exist. And it takes hope. Hope builds momentum and momentum creates change…when we work together.

Our community can be stronger and better and safer when we are all engaged in this work together. This is the spirit of our new name. It is a name we believe says as much about us as an agency as it does about us as a community.

Vanita will discuss several topics with us:
· Advocacy Services
· Crisis Shelter and Transitional Housing
· Counseling Services
· Abuser Intervention Program
· Pet Safe Program
· Pantry Service Needs
· Volunteering Opportunities
· Youth Leadership Project

Vanita Leatherwood joined the staff of HopeWorks of Howard County as the Director of Community Engagement in 2011. She has over 30 years of experience in developing, managing and facilitating community education programs. Ms. Leatherwood is the mother of two adult sons, an award-winning poet, and Transformative Language Arts educator. Her volunteer experience includes: nonprofit Board membership, tutoring in adult-literacy, facilitating wellness workshops, and mentoring youth. She holds a M.A. in Community Psychology and is a graduate of the 2013 Leadership Howard County Premier Class.

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Kim Eggborn Visits

Kim Eggborn is currently the Coordinator of Elementary Social Studies for the Howard County Public School System.  She began her career as a 5th grade elementary school teacher and has since grown to become involved both nationally and internationally with teachers regarding civics education. However, her primary love remains teaching elementary students and figuring out ways to make learning more meaningful for them. One of her proudest accomplishments is bringing We The People’s Simulated Congressional Hearings to all forty-one elementary schools in her district for all fifth grade students. Howard County has become a national leader in this program.

Simulated Congressional Hearings 

The Simulated Congressional Hearing (SCH) is a culminating activity for fifth grade social studies. The SCH is an authentic, performance-based assessment where students demonstrate their understanding of the U.S. Constitution. Students display their expertise on topics ranging from colonial life and government to the contemporary rights and responsibilities of citizens in our country. The students present prepared oral statements before a panel of simulated congressional committee members (“judges”). Following the formal presentations, students respond to follow-up questions from the panel. For more information about this program, visit:

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This Week: Learn about Sandy Hook Promise

Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. The organization is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 that claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and 6 educators. 

Sandy Hook Promise is focused on preventing gun violence (and all violence) BEFORE it happens by educating and mobilizing parents, schools and communities on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals. 

SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible non-policy and policy solutions that protect children and prevent gun violence. Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.

A Baltimore native, Mandy Weinman graduated from The Bryn Mawr School, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Masters in Teaching from The Johns Hopkins University. An elementary school teacher in the Baltimore County Public School System until the birth of her first child, Mandy has also spent the last 17 years working for the Walt Disney Company. While with Disney, Mandy has worked in various capacities from Entertainment to Youth Markets to Human Resources. Still under the umbrella of Human Resources, Mandy is currently an Interview Partner with the Disney Campus Recruitment Team. In her spare time, Mandy volunteers as a Promise Leader for Sandy Hook Promise -- an organization working to protect children from gun violence. Mandy has 3 wonderful boys: Dillon (6), Benjamin (5) and Dennis (41).

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“Connecting People to Nature”

The Howard County Conservancy is a local, non-profit environmental education center and land trust. The Conservancy was founded by a group of local citizens in 1990.  Our mission is to educate children and adults about the natural world, preserve the land and its legacy and model responsible stewardship of the environment.

HoCo Conservancy Mission:

• Educate children and adults about our natural world

• Preserve the land

• Model responsible stewardship of our environment

Woody Merkle is a lifelong resident of Woodstock in Howard County.

Retired as a senior personnel manager from the Maryland State Department of Budget and Management – Office of Personnel Services and Benefits.

Volunteer Naturalist and member of the Board for the Howard County Conservancy.

Also a volunteer with the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Howard County Bird Club and Howard County Watershed Stewards Academy.

Completed training with the University of Maryland Extension Service as a Master Naturalist and Master Watershed Steward.

Served as a member and Chair of the Howard County Personnel Board.

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As the County’s human service agency, the Department of Citizen Services touches the lives of children and youth, their parents, people with a disability, consumers who have complaints about a business, individuals in crisis, and older adults – not to mention the child care and assisted living providers who receive training, the organizations seeking information to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and many others.  

Their mission is to ensure that Howard County residents have the resources they need to grow, thrive, and live with dignity.

The Department of Citizen Services is comprised of the Office of Children’s Services, Office of Consumer Affairs, and the Office on Aging. Other components of the Department include:  Disabilities Services, the Community Service Partnerships program (which provides County funding to non-profit human services agencies), and Homeless Services. 

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