2016 Audrey Robbins Humanitarian Awards

Since 1975, the Association of Community Services of Howard County has been recognizing the work that volunteers and employees do in service to others that go above and beyond all expectations in their service to the community. These awards not only recognize the achievements of those honored, they also offer public recognition for the organizations and causes to which honorees devote their time and energy.

The 2016 award recipients are as follows.

  • Becky Mangus: Volunteer of the Year
  • Special Olympics of Howard County: Volunteer Team of the Year
  • Pam Grady, Voices for Children: Employee of the Year
  • Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center: Employee Team of the Year
  • Jean Moon & Associates: Business of the Year

The awards will be presented at the Audrey Robbins Humanitarian Award Program on Friday, April 29. For information or tickets, visit http://acshoco.org/event-2090944.

Kittleman Pledges Funding for Consolidated Human Services Center

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has announced the creation of a nonprofit center in collaboration with the Department of Social Services and local nonprofit organizations, pledging to include funding for the Consolidated Human Services Center in his fiscal 2017 budget.

“This center will allow us to consolidate service, increase collaboration among agencies, improve the efficiency of space and enhance the visibility of our service providers,” Kittleman said.

An initiative of the Association of Community Services (ACS), the new center is intended to elevate the capacity of Howard County human service organizations to meet the needs of the community. A 2014 feasibility study conducted by ACS found sufficient interest by county human services organizations to move forward with planning a facility with shared space and administrative services.

BGE Employees Volunteered Close to 22,500 Hours in 2015

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) employees volunteered 22,433 hours in 2015, dedicating time and energy to 211 nonprofit organizations across central Maryland.

Activities ranged from helping kindergarten students learn to read to preparing meals for families with seriously ill children to maintaining the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Garden. Employees also shared their time and talents by serving as board members for 130 local nonprofits.

“Our employees believe that investing time in their communities is a necessary and worthwhile endeavor, and we see the benefits of this investment every day,” said Valencia McClure, BGE’s director of communications and corporate relations. “We continue to be proud of the hard work and commitment of the BGE family.”

In addition to investing their time, BGE employees also supported their favorite causes with financial contributions. The company’s 2015 United Way employee giving campaign raised more than $830,000 through employee donations and company matching dollars.

BGE also directed parent company shareholder dollars to local organizations that improve the quality of life for central Maryland residents. The company contributed $4.5 million in 2015 to more than 300 nonprofit organizations that focus on the environment, arts and culture, neighborhood development, education and emergency services.

Among plans for community engagement in 2016, BGE’s 200th anniversary year, employees will join with community organizations across the service area to create and install 100 mosaics through a partnership with Art with a Heart. To learn more about this project, visit www.200bge.com.

Project New Promise Holds Sixth Annual Event

Project New Promise Inc. (PNP), a community-based, socially responsible nonprofit whose mission is to improve the lives of all persons regardless of background, race, age, gender, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation and belief, will hold its Annual Celebration on March 19 at DoubleTree by Hilton Laurel.

The event, which features a buffet-style meal, is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $40/person; $75/couple. Tables of 10 cost $375, and children ages 6–12 are half-price. Children under age 5 eat free. The first 40 reservations will be entered into a raffle to win gift cards and other prizes. Table sponsorships are available.

Call 443-791-7005 for tickets or mail a check or money order to PNP, 5368 Dunteachin Dr., Ellicott City, MD 21043.

Over the past few years, PNP has offered assistance worth more than $45,000 to individuals in need in the form of blankets, food, scholarships, tuition, school fees, books, backpacks and other school supplies and equipment, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, crutches and housing assistance.

Visit www.pnpinc.org for more information or e-mail questions to projectnewpromise@gmail.com.

Anne Arundel Foster Grandparent Program Accepting Applications

The Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities is looking for senior volunteers capable of serving children with exceptional or special needs at various sites. Volunteers are asked to commit to 15 hours or more per week, offering mentoring, literacy help, advice and friendship.

Locations include Anne Arundel County Public and Special Education schools, Head Start centers, Department of Social Services Family Support Center, Kingdom Kare and Boys & Girls Club of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.

Volunteers must be income-eligible, 55-plus years old and want to make a difference in a child’s life. Benefits include a tax-free stipend of $2.65 per hour to volunteers with incomes less than $22,980 for a single family of one ($31,020 for a couple) from Social Security, SSI, pensions, etc. Volunteers also receive vacation and sick leave and transportation.

For more information, contact the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities Foster Grandparent Program at 410-222-4464. TTY users may call via Maryland Relay 7-1-1.

MakingChange Provides Free Income Tax Preparation

MakingChange, a Howard County nonprofit organization that is changing lives by empowering individuals and families to achieve financial stability, is hosting a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site at The Multiservice Center in North Laurel.

The Howard County site, like other VITA sites across the country, offers free tax assistance preparation and filing to most taxpayers who earned up to $54,000 in 2015. The taxpayer’s eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) also will be determined. In addition to free tax return preparation, the site offers free direct deposit of refunds, free pre-paid cards for receipts of the refund, letters to cash refund checks for free at a local bank and the option to purchase U.S. savings bonds.

“The VITA site saves families the cost of tax preparation while also ensuring that they receive the tax credits for which they are eligible,” said MakingChange Executive Director Mike Couch. “We encourage taxpayers who receive refunds to pay down their debts and consider saving for future needs. This year’s site also provides access to other Howard County agencies that can provide additional services for families that need assistance.”

The VITA site is located at The Multiservice Center, 9900 Washington Blvd. (Route 1) in Laurel. Appointments can be scheduled at http://bit.ly/makingchangevita or call 410-313-0220. Alternatively, taxpayers who made less than $62,000 can file their own federal and state tax returns for free at www.myfreetaxes.com. This year’s tax deadline is Monday, April 18.

WGC Promotes Entrepreneurship for Young Women Through JA Program

Junior Achievement of Central Maryland Inc. (JA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating young people to succeed in a rapidly changing economy, announced that its Rising Women Program is underway for the spring semester in Howard County. The program is funded by The Women’s Giving Circle (WGC), a fund of the Community Foundation of Howard County. WGC awarded JA an $80,000 grant in 2014, to be distributed over a three-year period.

The out-of-school program, led by local businesswomen volunteers, provides an entrepreneurial education for young female students as they launch their own business venture. It aims to encourage young women to strive for leadership positions in the workforce by teaching them business skills, and celebrates the female perspective.

“The Women’s Giving Circle is an exceptional group of female philanthropists who continue to help women in the Howard County area thrive,” said Jennifer Bodensiek, president of Junior Achievement of Central Maryland. “WGC’s generosity will provide a number of young women with a one-of-a-kind learning experience that will teach them to be savvy entrepreneurs, fostering confidence and innovative thinking that they can apply in their future careers.”

The program is offered to students twice a year. The first group kicked off in November at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship with 19 students from a variety of Howard County high schools, as well as six volunteers who specialize in an array of business areas. The students have launched their company, Snoozzzy Scents, which sells handmade pillowcases with a sewn-in sachet, and have been challenged to discover their own distribution channels. They are currently advertising to local spas to sell their product.

The second group was offered in February at BTS Software Solutions. JA is encouraging female students in Howard County to apply for its next programs and is seeking female business volunteers to mentor the student participants. Visit www.jamaryland.org/programs/rising-women for more information.

Blossoms of Hope Seeks Development Coordinator

Blossoms of Hope seeks a self-starting development coordinator to focus on non-special event fund development. This 11-year-old board-run organization wants to build and diversify its funding base and has several opportunities to do so.

This position is currently scheduled for an average of 20 hours a week with flexibility for when those hours are worked. Visit www.blossomsofhope.org for the complete job description and send cover letter, references and résumé to info@blossomsofhope.org by March 19.

Two Individuals Sought for Patapsco Valley Environmental Stewardship Program

Patapsco Heritage Greenway Inc. (PHG) is recruiting for both a seasonal, part-time program coordinator and a seasonal, part-time program assistant. Selected candidates will help manage more than 1,000 volunteers to run watershed stewardship activities.

Activities are held predominantly during spring and fall weekends and require occasional weekday or summer engagement. Activities occur at various sites throughout the Patapsco River Valley.

  • Under the leadership of the environmental program director (EPD), the program coordinator will lead and document programs and events throughout the Patapsco River Valley; and manage and coordinate staff, volunteer stream team leaders and volunteers. The person will plan, coordinate and lead service-learning projects, corporate retreats and other programs as assigned. Environmental experience is required.
  • With the coordination of the program coordinator and environmental program director, the program assistant will plan, coordinate and lead stream cleanups, invasive plant removals, tree plantings, tree maintenance and other programs, and also may be required to assist or lead workshops and education programs. A college degree is preferred; environmental experience is preferred.

For questions, copies of job descriptions, or more information about the positions, email Betsy McMillion, environmental program director, at patapscofriend@gmail.com.