From Harford Councilman Mike Perrone, Jr.:
Sending Out Ripples
Earthquakes start deep underground, the point of land right above where an earthquake begins is the epicenter. When the violent movement begins beneath the Earth’s surface, earthquakes send out waves of vibration, like ripples on a lake after a rock is thrown into it. Usually epicenters are thought to be places of destruction; however The EPICENTER at Edgewood is far from destructive.
The EPICENTER at Edgewood, under Executive Director Dave Woods, wants to send out those large ripples, but in a way which will build up the community, not tear it down. Opening in October 2013 at 1918 Pulaski Highway, Edgewood, MD 21040, it has contributed to the overall revitalization of the area.
The facility itself is a community center which is open throughout the week for various programs. It also serves as host for the Edgewood Campus of Mountain Christian Church. Mountain Christian Church wanted to invest in the Edgewood community by opening The EPICENTER to create opportunities for local residents. The goal was to create a place for people of all different churches to find a place to belong, serve and give back. The church also wanted to leverage opportunities for grants and other types of support often available to community centers but not available to churches. They are unsettled by the stigma associated with Edgewood and believe the negativity is often undeserved and over-played, rooted in fear and ignorance. Nevertheless, they are not blind to the challenges evident in Edgewood, and wanted to make an investment in a place they care about.
One does not have to be a member of Mountain Christian Church to participate in the programs. People from all different churches and backgrounds are invited and encouraged to participate in The EPICENTER programs or volunteer to further The EPICENTER’s mission of Empowering People, Strengthening Families, and Building Community.
The EPICENTER offers programs in four main areas:
Health and Wellness.
Each of these areas have specific programs targeted to meet the needs of the entire Edgewood community.
THE ZONE is an affordable after school program for local students. Between the hours of 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm The Zone features a safe, welcoming, fun, educational environment for students in grades K-8. The whole building is open to students with space to play, to get help with homework, and to experience a variety of enrichment experiences. Caring adults are available to welcome students and invest in their education, self-esteem, and all around spiritual, emotional, and physical growth. Transportation is available from local schools for an additional cost.
TEEN NIGHT On Wednesday nights, The EPICENTER partners with Mountain Christian Church to offer Echo & Collide for Middle School and High School students. It’s a great place for students to hang out, enjoy some time with friends, and make new ones. Between the hours of 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm games, food, fun, music and some incredible learning are on tap.
CAMP EPIC is a six week summer program for children ages 5 through 14. During the summer, Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm camp will be in session. Children have daily opportunities to explore Reading, Math, Science & Technology, Sports, Art, Music, Dance & Drama in fun and different ways. There are weekly trips to various places (swimming, bowling, skating museums, etc.). Breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack are served daily. Camp EPIC has capacity for 150 children. As part of Camp Epic, The EPICENTER offers a Leader in Training Program for 14 to 16 year olds. This program has a limit of 20 children.
FREE INTERNET CAFÉ. The EPICENTER is open from 10 am to 2 pm for adults to drop in and enjoy a comfortable environment while getting work done or searching the web. The EPICENTER offers help with using computers, filling out forms, and creating resumes for those people who would like assistance
OPEN GYM. Tuesday through Fridays, The EPICENTER basketball gym is open for members of the community to play during the day. To use the gym, you must register and sign a liability form in person during posted Open Gym hours.
JOBS FOR LIFE. For a very minimal cost, The EPICENTER offers Jobs for Life on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, running from March 17 through May 21, 2015, The Jobs for Life program is designed to provide the skills needed to get a job. Through this training, men and women develop character and become connected to a community of support. They learn to obtain more than just a job as they experience a life filled with confidence, self-control, coaching, learning, and faith.
Addictive behaviors hurt many people in our community. The EPICENTER offers several programs to help community members learn the skills necessary to overcome their addiction and stay sober.
OVERCOMERS IN CHRIST. In partnership with Mountain Christian Church, The EPICENTER offers the Overcomers in Christ (OIC) program on Mondays at 7:00 OM. Originally started as a jail based ministry, OIC helps individuals overcome all types of addictive or dysfunctional behavior such as alcohol, drugs, sex, and gambling.
AL-ANON. The EPICENTER runs an Al-Anon program on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm. Al-Anon is for anyone who has been affected by alcoholism. If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking, the Al-Anon program can offer help. Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength and hope in order to solve their common problems.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. Meeting on Thursdays at 7:30 pm is Alcoholics Anonymous. This is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other to solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
NARCOTIC ANONYMOUS. Meeting on Friday at 7:00 pm, Narcotics Anonymous provides help from peers and offers an ongoing support network for addicts who wish to pursue and maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
Health and Wellness
In keeping with its goal to help the community in all areas, The EPICENTER offers several exercise classes throughout the week. For a fee, community members can participate in classes such as EveryDaie Fitness (featuring certified instructor Daie Henry), Zumba or Kettlebell Fitness.
On the second Friday of each month starting at 2:00 pm, The EPICENTER has a free Mini Health Fair. People can have their blood pressure checked, visit a chiropractor, or even receive a massage. At 3:00 pm, in partnership with several organizations, The EPICENTER opens up its food pantry.
Programs run by organizations such at The EPICENTER at Edgewood are always in need of assistance.
Right now the greatest need at The EPICENTER is volunteers, especially adults to work one on one with the youth in the after school program. Mr. Woods’ goal is to have at least one caring adult for each child in the program. Mr. Woods has seen the difference in a child’s life when they have one person there just for them for two to three hours a week. If you can help meet this goal, please call The EPICENTER to sign up.
With all of these uplifting and enlightening programs, The EPICENTER has started to make those ripples throughout the Edgewood community. The EPICENTER continues to develop programs and opportunities which will be of value to the community. Make sure to visit the website often to see what fun and exciting new or returning programs are available. www.TheEpiCenteratEdgewood.com
2015-2016 Harford Fire Cadet Application Deadline
April 15, 2015
Get the Application HERE.
Contact John Richter at
443-903-8098 or firstname.lastname@example.org
More Month Than Money
How did you do with finding way to cut your expenses and free up some of your hard earned cash?
If you think you have gone as far as you can go and still feel stretched, now would be the time to look into what other help can be provided. You can visit the Maryland Department of Human Resources’ Service Access and Information Link (SAIL). This state website can help you determine if you are eligible for services such as Energy Assistance, the Food Supplement Program, Child Care Assistance, etc. Utilizing these types of programs while you are paying down your debt can help free up even more of your cash.
You can also contact BGE directly for a free energy audit. This program can help identify ways to save on your energy bill. They will also provide money saving items such as faucet aerators, low flow shower head and energy efficient light bulbs. Using these types of products and being given specific suggestions on how and where to save money can increase your savings.
Let’s check the progress so far: you know your expenses, know when the money is coming in and when it has to go out. You have reduced your expenses. However when you check the budget, you find you still have more expenses that income. In other words you are in the red and are most likely using credit cards to fill the gap. hen you make the conscious decision to stop the debt cycle, it will be hard, but to get out of debt, it needs to be done. Now you must be wondering how do you know what to pay when you can’t pay them all?
Think about what are the most important things you need to survive? Shelter, food and transportation. These items comprise the “four walls” and are the ones you pay first.
Shelter items are comprised of rent or mortgage, utilities, and insurance. Think about what expenses keep the roof over your head.
They do not include things like cable TV, internet services or cell phones. Cutting out those services for a time period can save a large amount of money.
One exception is the internet if you use it for work, but make sure you chose the internet service you need, not the one you want.
Food and groceries are also needed to survive.
This is another area where you have the largest chance to save money. There are many ways to save money here. The potential for greatest savings is to stop eating out. Think about using a crockpot, having meals in the freezer, stop running to the coffee shop for a latte every morning. The next time will have more ideas on how to save in this area.
Transportation includes what you need to get to your job and run the needed errands. This would include a car payment, the insurance, gas and repair money. Or it could include bus fare money, a commuter ticket for the train, or other costs for using public transportation. If you have a large car payment you may want to consider downsizing to a different car. Do you really need a high end SUV to get you back and forth to work? You can sell the car, hopefully pay off the loan and have enough to buy a “beater car.” The beater is a usually an older car, in decent condition. The goal is to not have a car payment. With this type of car, you can probably change your insurance and save money. The idea behind the beater car is to save the car payment money and split into three savings areas, car repairs, car replacement, and paying down debt. There will be a column in the future about this topic.
Once you pay the four walls, you look to what you have left over to pay the remaining bills. For illustration purposes, let’s assume the family has $100 left over to pay the bills. However the monthly payments on their bills total $200. Here is the breakdown of the minimum payments:
Visa 1 $80
Visa 2 $40
Student Loan $30
So now what do you do? You don’t have the money to make the all payments. Are you taking a cash advances from one credit card to make the payment on the other? If you are, stop — it digs a deeper hole.
The first thing you do with the left over money is to take 10 percent and put it in a savings account. I know you are thinking why should I do that when I can’t pay my bills. You need to start building a cushion for unplanned expenses, which always come up. Having this cushion removes the need to use credit card. The first goal for the emergency fund is to reach $500 and then $1,000. After you reach $1,000 you can stop for a while and apply all the money to the debt.
After you take out the $10 it leaves $90 to pay the bills. What is first thing you should do? Call your creditors, starting with the student loan servicer and see if you can place the loan in deferment for a time. If you can do this, it will free up an additional $30.00 to pay on the other credit cards. Then call the other creditors and see if you can work out reduced payments. In our example we are going assume you are able to get a deferment on your student loan and Visa 1 will allow a $50 a month payment. With the deferment and Visa 1 reducing the payment your monthly payments are now $140. With the $30 saving from the deferment you now have $120 to pay toward your bills. However it still comes up short, so what do you do?
First of all you pay the $50 for Visa 1. They worked with you and deserve to paid according to your agreement.
Now you have $70 remaining to pay Visa 2 and Kohl’s. How do you split it up? There are several ways to do this. You can write a letter saying you are splitting the money you have to pay the credit cards between the two accounts, so each account will receive $35.00. The letter will go with every payment to each creditor, every month. Another way is add up the monthly payments and figure up a percentage to pay each credit card. This is how you would figure it out:
Total monthly payments for these to credit cards: $40 + $50 = $90.
Visa 2 $40/$90 .444
Kohl’s $50/$90 .555
Each card will receive that percentage of the payment.
Let’s figure out the payments.
Money available for payment: $70.00
Visa 2 will get 44.4 percent of the available money.
$70 x .444 = $31.08 = $31.15
Kohl’s will get 55.5 percent of the available money
$70 x .555 = $38.85
The payment will total $69.73. You can decide where to put the remaining 27 cents. Once again, write a letter of explanation and send it with every payment.
Let’s go through another exercise.
Visa 1 did not reduce the payment. Now you have three credit cards to pay. Let’s figure out the percentages.
Total monthly credit card payments:
$80 + $40 + $50 = $170.
Visa 1 $80/$170 .470
Visa 2 $40/$170 .235
Kohl’s $50/$170 .294
Now figure out each monthly payment amount.
Money available for payment $120.00
Visa 1 $120 x .470 = $56.40
Visa 2 $120 x .235 = $28.20
Kohl’s $120 x .294 = $35.28
The payment total would be $119.88. Again decide how you will use the additional 22 cents.
Once again, write a letter of explanation and send it with every payment You now have two tools to help you pay something towards each bill and be able to keep a roof over your head and feed the family. In the next column we will focus on saving money in the kitchen.
Cooking up the Savings
Emergency Fund. Who Needs it?
Getting That Snowball Rolling
The Edgewood Community is seeking your help in planning and hosting two events we believe help foster a positive image of our community. We are seeking assistance from the Harford County community to make these events happen this year. We strongly believe helping Edgewood greatly benefits Harford County as a whole.
If you, or an organization you know are willing to help please contact one or both of the event coordinators listed below.
Edgewood Independence Day Celebration Parade Coordinator
Edge WoodStock Coordinator
House of Worship Events
2015 Lord of Life Lutheran Church
Spring Family Fest
8 am – 2 pm
Tables Available for
Flea Market Vendors, Crafters and Businesses
$15.00 per table for flea market vendors and crafters
$20.00 per table for businesses
Food Pantry Available Every Thursday
5:00 pm – 6 pm
Serving all of Harford County
For more information:
Email: Travel with Shawn@comcast.net 501 Sequoia Drive
Call/Text: 410-812-2040 Edgewood, MD 21040
Copley Parish Spaghetti Bingo
April 11, 2015
Dinner starts at 6:00 pm
Bingo starts at 7:00 pm
$6.00 Per Person
700 Anchor Drive
Joppa, MD 21085
For more information Call: 410-679-8700
Spotlight’s on: Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Program Joppatowne High School
In 2003, the idea of bringing a unique set of courses to the students of Joppatowne High School was conceived. This idea quickly materialized into a program based on the emerging job market of the region, Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (HSEP). It is estimated the Homeland Security industry is increasing from the 40 billion dollar business of 2004 to a 180 billion dollar industry by 2015. The program at Joppatowne High School introduces students to careers and educational experiences available in this ever-growing industry.
The HSEP Program integrates current practices and technologies used by both governmental and private sector agencies. Instruction revolves around how the United States protects itself against threats to public health and safety by using effective communication, prevention, response and recovery techniques. All students in the HSEP Program take Course 1 their 10th grade year.
Course 1: Foundations in HSEP focuses on the interdependence of HSEP agencies, guidelines and concepts. Students research and develop action plans used at the federal, state, and local levels. After completing this foundational course, students choose one of three pathways to complete: Homeland Security Sciences, Administration of Justice or Information/Communication Technology. In the 11th grade students take two courses specific to their chosen pathway. In their senior year, students participate in an internship/capstone project or complete a GIS Technician Certification. Students present their projects in the final months of their senior year.
Students are exposed to hands-on experiences which are unable to be offered in the traditional classroom setting. The HSEP program trains them for today’s emergency preparedness industries, but teaches the skills needed for tomorrow’s command, control and communication (C3) demands. The program includes relevant instruction and provides opportunities for networking with peers and professionals already working in the field. The program has arrangements with three area colleges to provide college credits for the completed courses.
For more information on this educational opportunity please contact the program coordinator, Ms. Erica Kelly, by phone 410-612-1510 or email: Erica.Kelly@hcps.org