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Buy a Day of Crisis Services

ChangeMatters, the student-led community service and philanthropy initiative, has focused on suicide prevention for years, launching such programs as “Don’t Do Nothing,” aimed at encouraging students to get help when they see a peer in trouble. This year’s high school campaign, “Pi Day, Buy a Day,” raises awareness about suicide prevention and raises funds for Grassroots Crisis Intervention’s services.

School math departments are providing lessons plans that connect the concept of pi, 3.14, as a never-ending number to Grassroots crisis services that are always available 24/7.

Initiated by Mt. Hebron High School math teacher Sara Tagget, who lost her daughter to suicide, the campaign includes educating students about suicide prevention and calls upon them to raise $2,111 per school to “buy” a day of crisis services. For each calendar day selected, Grassroots will post the name of the donor school on the call center door and collect information about services it delivers and the clients it serves that day. That information will be shared afterwards with the school funding that day’s crisis services.

Other organizations have joined in the initiative, raising funds to support 24 hours of crisis support or more, “buying” a day of service for $2,111. Students and program coordinator Cathy Smith have been visiting local Rotary clubs to encourage their participation and are available to speak to other groups. To join in the Grassroots Buy a Day of Service Program, contact Cathy Smith, cathyvsmith@verizon.net, 410-302-4662.

NAMI Report Issues Recommendations to Improve Relationships Between Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health

In March, NAMI Maryland released “Course Correction Collaboration of Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health: Advancing New and Proven Models for State and Local Government,” a new report that provides recommendations on alternatives for incarceration as a means of dealing with people living with mental illness.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 2 million people with mental illness are booked into jails each year, and many states, including Maryland, are struggling to find and implement alternatives to incarceration.

“The State of Maryland can reduce the number of individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system and improve the lives of all Marylanders by building on proven, effective projects and programs and collaboration between systems. This new report aims to provide the guidance needed to address this issue,” said Kate Farinholt, NAMI Maryland executive director.

The report came out of a Maryland summit held in November 2017 that addressed these issues and identified solutions to increase collaboration between law enforcement, corrections, the courts, behavioral health and other systems serving the needs of individuals with mental illness. The summit grew out of previous work by NAMI Maryland and other organizations, the current administration’s commitment to addressing these issues, recent news stories and a Maryland court’s contempt order related to the prompt placement of inmates in need of treatment in a psychiatric hospital.

Summit participants represented a diverse group of professions and sectors, and included representatives from state and local agencies, professional associations, philanthropic foundations, the Maryland Legislature, Judiciary and Governor’s office, as well as law enforcement and correctional agencies.

Summit recommendations include the following.
• Improving education and training for criminal justice
• Promoting statewide innovative criminal justice/behavioral health partnership programs and practices
• Identifying innovative ways to fund criminal justice services designed for people with mental illness issues
• Improving screening for mental health or other behavioral health problems at all points of entry to the criminal justice system
• Studying the nature and extent of recidivism for people with mental health and other behavioral health conditions
To learn more and to download a copy of the report, visit www.namimd.org.

Le’Chic Academy Foundation’s BIZ Kidz Day Set for April 21

Le’Chic Academy Foundation’s BIZ Kidz Market Day will be held Saturday, April 21, from noon–5 p.m. at The Interfaith Center, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, in Columbia. “Kidpreneurs” ages 5–18 will exhibit and sell their creative products and services, make money and compete for awards and prizes. Family, friends and the community are invited to support these young entrepreneurs and experience a day of exhibits, entertainment, games and contests.
Le’Chic Academy Foundation is a Christian-focused, nonprofit organization developed to inspire young girls and boys. The event is being presented in sponsorship with The Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship and Maryland STEM Festival.

Fundraising Garage Sale at Frisky’s

Frisky’s Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary will hold its annual Garage Sale fundraising event every weekend in April, beginning April 7. Each Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., the sanctuary, which is located at 10790 Old Frederick Road in Woodstock, will open to sell a wide variety of donated goods in a typical garage sale format. It also will accept cash donations during that time.
Frisky’s is still accepting donations of goods for the sale, although it asks that no used computer equipment be donated. Frisky’s is home to 15 monkeys and a wide variety of wildlife.
For questions or to make a donation, call 410-418-8899 or email friskyswildlife@yahoo.com.