From Harford Councilman Mike Perrone, Jr.:
Changing Lives, One Child at a Time
Harford County has many wonderful programs to help our children grow and mature, one of them is the Boys and Girls Club of Harford County. Their mission says it all: “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”
In 1990, Boys and Girls Club began in Harford County, in Aberdeen, where a group of concerned teachers, the mayor and a city commissioner banded together with a common purpose: to provide a safer and more educational alternative for out-of-school time. The first group of 40 Aberdeen kids met in the basement of Grove Presbyterian Church. Twenty-five years later, Boys & Girls Clubs are serving nearly 4,000 kids at their five Clubs in Harford County.
The Clubs are dedicated facilities, which offer a substantial benefit to the children served by their programs. These Clubs are neighborhood-centered, with programs in specialized areas, including character development, educational enhancement and career exploration. Club employees are well-trained, full-time child youth development professionals.
Character development and leadership are two primary focus areas for the Clubs. The goal of these programs is to help the children become responsible, caring citizens and acquire the skills necessary to participate in the democratic process of our country. The children also develop leadership skills and are provided opportunities for planning, and decision-making, contributing to both Club and community.
Several programs help the youth create aspirations for the future, providing opportunities for career exploration and educational enhancement. One of the programs is Project Learn. Project Learn reinforces and enhances what the children learn through activities which are fun, yet continue the learning. These activities include leisure reading, writing activities, homework help and games like Scrabble, which develop children’s cognitive skills. Another wonderful tool the Clubs utilize is the Power Hour. The Power Hour provides Club professionals with the strategies, activities, resources and information to create an engaging homework help and tutoring program, encouraging Club members at every age to become self-directed learners. Other programs offered include: Money Matters: a program to teach the 13-18 year old club member financial responsibility and independence. Career Launch: a career exploration pro-gram for the 13-18 year old member. Junior Staff assists Club members ages 13 to 18 in exploring a career in youth or human services, particularly Boys & Girls Club work.
Another main focus for the Boys and Girls Club is to encourage the members to begin, achieve and maintain an active and healthy life style. There are several programs the Club uses to encourage this goal.
SMART Moves: The SMART Moves (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) prevention/education program addresses the problems of drug and alcohol use and premature sexual activity. Using proven techniques, the program uses a team approach involving Club staff, peer leaders, parents and community representatives. More than simply emphasizing a “Say No” message, the program teaches young people ages 6-15 how to say no by involving them in discussion and role-playing, practicing resistance and refusal skills, developing assertiveness, strengthening decision-making skills and analyzing media and peer influence.
The ultimate goal: to promote abstinence from substance abuse and adolescent sexual involvement through the practice of responsible behavior. SMART Girls: An outgrowth of the popular and effective SMART Moves program, SMART Girls is a health, fitness, prevention/education and self esteem enhancement program for girls ages 10-15. The program is designed to encourage healthy attitudes and lifestyles that will enable early adolescent girls to develop to their full potential.
Passport to Manhood: The program promotes and teaches responsibility in Club boys ages 11 to 14. Passport to Manhood consists of 14 sessions, each concentrating on a specific aspect of character and manhood through highly interactive activities.
Date SMART: This program is a supplement to SMART Girls and Passport to Manhood for Club members aged 13 to 18. Through fun and easy-to-use sessions, members learn how to achieve mutually supportive relationships free of violence and abuse.
The Boys and Girls Club provides chances for the members to display their creativity, by providing exposure and developing skills in crafts and visual, performing and literary arts. One national photography program is ImageMakers.
This comprehensive photography program encourages girls and boys to learn and practice photography to express themselves. ImageMakers provides local, regional and national recognition through an annual photography contest. Winning photos will be displayed nationwide at museums as well as at Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s annual National Conference. The National Fine Arts Exhibit encourages creativity through a variety of media. The Exhibit is made up of local, regional and national exhibits. Artwork selected through a national competition is displayed at Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s annual National Conference.
As part of the Boys and Girls club goal for the members to maintain and achieve an active life style, several programs are offered. WANNA PLAY? encourages the 6 to 12 year old members to increase their overall fitness and health through physical activity and improved nutrition education, while learning the fundamental skills of baseball and softball. Badges for Baseball is designed to teach the fundamentals of baseball and softball to children ages 5 to 12. The members are instructed by Harford County Sheriff Office Deputies. Triple Play is a comprehensive health and wellness program, striving to improve the overall health of Club members aged 6-18 by increasing their daily physical activity, teaching them good nutrition and helping them develop healthy relationships.
The Boys and Girls Clubs are forward thinking in the goal to help their members reach their full potential. Realizing there is a growing need for people in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, otherwise known as STEM programs, the Club has developed the i3STEM program. This program uses hand-on, project based learning to have members learn about and enjoy science and math from an early age, developing an interest and skills in STEM areas.
Since the Boys and Girls Club wants to ensure the learning
continues in the summer, they offer summer enrichment
programs too. The in-club summer programs in-clude field trips and swimming, in addition to other fun
Another little know the summer program the Boys and Girls Club offers is Camp Hidden Valley, an outdoor education program focused on character and leadership development and curbing summer learning loss. It is located on 180 acres of beautiful land along Deer Creek in White Hall, Maryland. With walking and hiking trails, low ropes courses, a swimming pool, basketball, archery, indoor spaces and volleyball, a well rounded camp experience has been created. Each two week day camp has a theme. You can look here for more information. The Boys and Girls Club also has a Family Swim Center in Aberdeen. For an annual membership rate, a family can have a safe, fun place swim.
When you look at all the Clubs provide it is hard to imagine what it costs the families to have their children participate in the after school program. One would think it would costs hundreds of dollars a month. While the program is worth the cost, a family only pays $20 a year for each member. Twenty dollars a year! This only happens because of generous donations by local individuals and companies, so it is important to thank them when you know who they are. Summer Enrichment camps and Camp Hidden Valley are offered at an additional cost.
The Boys and Girls Club is making a difference for the youth of Harford County. The Clubs fill a vital gap and provide needed programs to help our children grow now and give them a springboard to a great future. As a matter of record, 57% of Boys & Girls Club alumni say participating in a Club “saved my life.” What more can a community ask out of an organization?
Digging Out of Debt: Cutting Expenses
If you look at the sample budget from last time, you will see there is $143 dollars available at the end of the month, which is wonderful. Look more closely at the budget though. There are vital things missing, food, gas, transportation, which when plugged into the budget will use all the money and probably more.
When families spend more than they bring in, they often turn to credit cards to fill that gap. To dig out of debt, the first thing one needs to realize is you have to stop using credit. Until you make this decision and stick to it, you will have a hard time paying off credit cards and any other outstanding bills. The family needs to take a hard look where to cut expenses to reduce the gap between income and expenses.
Let’s use the sample budget from last time and see how to hopefully save money. Expenses the family are paying (other than the mortgage/rent) have been put in order from the highest to lowest:
Car Insurance $150
Cell Phone $45
Credit Card $50
Electric Bill. Utilities are one area the family has a lot of control over in regards to the cost. Take a look around the house and see where you are throwing away money. What types of lights do you use? Do you leave lights on when you aren’t in the room? Where is your thermostat set? There is phantom electricity used for things such as quick start functions on computers or TVs or leaving the chargers plugged in with nothing charging. They are kept primed to start with a little electricity running through them all the time. Do you run the dishwasher when it is not full? Are you using a dryer for every load of laundry?
Brainstorm with the family ways to reduce electric use.
Make sure lights are turned off when no one is in the room. Put those phantom users on power strips and turn them off when not in use. Set the thermostat higher in the summer and lower in the winter. If you have a programmable thermostat, research the best ways to use it so your family can save money. Can you dry half of your loads of laundry? Can you run the dishwasher only when it is full or hand wash the dishes? Reduce the temperature on the hot water heater to 120 degrees. Call around to electricity providers and get some quotes and contract terms. Research the companies to make sure they have good reviews.
Change to another if it works for the family. Make a goal to reduce electricity use by 20 percent. If the family meets this goal there will be savings of $40.00.
Water Bill. Think about ways to lower it. Take quicker showers; make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are full before they are run. Use the water from washing dishes or even baths to water plants. (Look into ways to use grey water.) Install low flow shower heads, faucets and toilet fixtures. Another trick for toilets is to take a washed out milk jug, filled with water and place it in your toilet. Less water will be used to fill the toilet, and it does not effect the flushing. Again aim for a 20 percent reduction for another $40.00 savings.
Car Insurance. Call your insurance company or agent; see if there are ways to reduce your cost. Can you raise your deductible? Can switch to collision only? If you have a decent driving record, call other insurance companies to compare prices. Let’s assume a raised deductible or a switch to collision only resulting in a $25.00 savings
Trash Bill. Can you find a way to reduce the cost? Call your company. Can you switch to once a week pick up? Are they running a deal for new customers, if so ask for the rate. Some companies have a “per bag” rate. You can purchase bags from them for a set cost per a bag. The goal here is to reduce the amount of trash you generate to save money. Research ways to recycle and to compost food items, except dairy and meat, they will stink. Let’s assume you switch to a once a week pick up, for a savings of $20.00
Cell Phone. Why do you have it? Is it for personal use or business use? If it is just for personal use, do you really need it? Do you need a smart phone? Call your company and evaluate the options. What is the cost for a basic, non- smart phone and cell phone plan? Do you need it at all? If you are keeping the cell phone, do you need a home phone? Are they offering a special for new customers? If you have a plan through one of the major carriers like Verizon or AT&T, can switch to a pay-as-you-go plan like Straight Talk? After calling and talking to the company a decision it made to keep the phone and plan. No cost savings.
Cable. Do you really need it? Do you watch all those channels? Why do you have it? Do you need the fastest internet speed available if you are only using it read email and search the internet? Do you need those premium channels? There are other options out there, Roku and Chromecast are some examples. If you have a newer gaming device such as the Wii, Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3, you can access Netflix, Hulu plus and other sites to view TV shows and movies, for the cost of the services monthly fee. Call your cable provider. Are they offering a special for new customers? Explore options with them and see how much you can save. A decision is made to keep the internet, dropping down to a lower speed, and cancel the cable and home phone. You save $20.00, but sign up for HULU Plus to watch your favorite shows on the PlayStation. It costs approximately $8.00 a month. here is a net savings of $12.00
Credit Cards. If you have been a long time account holder for your credit card(s) and have a decent credit rating, call to see if they will reduce the interest rate. If they won’t, explore options for other another card with a lower interest for a balance transfer to save money. Don’t look for rewards points, cash back offers; after all you will not be using the card. Look for the cardwith the best interest rate. The goal is to not use the card, but use the lower interest rate to help pay off the card faster. If you get a new card, make sure to close the old account. Many cards offer a zero (0) percent interest on balance transfers for a limited period of time. Make sure you know the time limit. The goal is to pay it off during the promotional rate time frame. A decision is made to transfer the balance of your credit card to a new card with a 0 percent interest rate for 18 months. For the next 18 months you save $4.00 month. To explore different payoff options you can use a payoff calculator, like this one.
When you add up all the savings, there is an additional $141. in the monthly budget, which will bring the total available at the end of the month to $284. It may take a month or two to see these all savings as the changes take effect.
Your homework this time is to evaluate where you can free up money by reducing your expenses. It never hurts to call your service providers and see what specials they are offering and take advantage of them. Most companies want to keep you as a customer and will work with you.
Near Tragedy in Edgewood
On March 6, 2015 at 2:48 AM, the Joppa Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched for a townhouse fire in the 1800 block of Eloise Lane, Edgewood. The first unit arrived at 2:56 AM and reported smoke showing from the middle of the group of townhouses. As firefighters were approaching the residence, they found an adult female in the front yard who had jumped from the third floor. Four children had also jumped from the third floor. A second alarm to dispatch additional fire trucks, was called to help combat the fire. Additional paramedic units were sent to the scene. The adult patient was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview and the four children were taken to Johns Hopkins Pediatric Trauma Center. The Maryland State Fire Marshals are investigating the cause and origin of the fire.
The most important thing to note is THERE WERE NO SMOKE DETECTORS IN THE HOUSE!
This time no lives were lost, but injuries happened because the home’s residents were not alerted in time and had to take extraordinary measures to reach safety.
Check the batteries in your smoke detectors to make sure they are working and replace them if they are not. If you do not have a smoke detector, please get one. If you cannot afford to purchase a one please call your local fire department and ask to speak to the Fire Prevention Officer. They will be able to provide and install them for you. If you have any questions, please email Ron Sollod, Chair of the Harford County Fire and EMS Association’s Fire Prevention and Life Safety Committee.
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
2015-2016 Harford Fire Cadet Application Deadline
April 15, 2015
Get the Application HERE.
Contact John Richter at
443-903-8098 or email@example.com
You have the skills and time to volunteer.
But not sure where to go?
Head to the Harford Volunteer Expo
9 am – 12:00 pm
Patterson Mill Middle-High School
85 Patterson Mill Road, Bel Air, MD
The Expo provides the perfect chance to hear from many organizations and agencies about volunteer opportunities available!
Sign up to volunteer on the spot. Hundreds of exciting and rewarding volunteer opportunities are available.
House of Worship Events
Fry-Day Night Lenten Fish Fry
March 13 & 20
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Cost $6.00 Per Person
Grilled Cheese also available
Prince of Peace Catholic Church
2600 Willoughby Beach Road
Edgewood, MD 21040
Sponsored by the
Knights of Columbus
Corpus Christ Council
Church of the Resurrection
Lenten Soup Suppers
Copley Not for Prime Time Players
March 18 & 25
Doors Open at 6 pm
Cost $7.00 Per Person
Children 6 to 12, $5.00
Under 5 Free
700 Anchor Drive
Joppa, MD 21085
For more information:
410-679-8700 or www.copleyparish.org
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
Edgewood, MD 21040
Register for Prepare Because You Care, a four (4) week course sponsored by the Harford County Department of Emergency Services (DES) and supporting agencies. It is designed to educate citizens on an “all hazards” approach to Emergency Preparedness and other safety topics. This exciting, interactive program will feature:
– Fire Safety & Extinguisher Use,
– Crime Prevention & Awareness, and
– General CPR/First Aid Class.
The program will be an exciting and interactive experience to prepare citizens for emergencies and disasters. In addition, it will provide general knowledge on how to survive the first 72 hours following a disaster. Citizens enrolled should attend all four classes.
1st Session March 25, 2015 Emergency Management Presentation and Emergency Preparedness
2nd Session April 1, 2015 Fire Safety & Extinguisher Use
3rd Session April 8, 2015 Crime Prevention & Awareness
4th Session April 15, 2015 CPR/First Aid
Make-up April 22, 2015
Classes will be held 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Some classes may run longer than anticipated.
Harford County Sheriff’s Office
305 Pulaski Highway, Edgewood, MD 21040
For questions, registration or cancellation please call:
Shawn Krout at 410-588-5724 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Spotlight’s on: Global Studies Program/International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
To remain competitive and offer the county’s students greater opportunities, Harford County Public Schools offers magnet programs and special certificate programs in their high schools. One of the magnet programs, based out of Edgewood High School, is the Global Studies Program/International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. The International Baccalaureate Organization is the governing authority for this internationally recognized program and aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. Our local program, coordinated by Ms. Amy Woolf, makes such these goals are accomplished throughout the four year program.
In the first two years students participate in classes with a global focus, preparing them to meet the rigorous academic and personal requirements of the two-year long IB Diploma Programme. Students complete a wide range of classes which meet both Maryland State and the International Requirements. IB specific classes have assessments and tests which are sent throughout the world to be graded, in addition to some locally graded requirements.
These wide ranges of classes stretch their mind, bodies and community commitment of the IB Student. One unique IB required class is The Theory of Knowledge. This course stretches the student to think “how we know what we know” and asks the student to delve into a greater awareness of personal and ideological assumptions, as well as develop an appreciation of the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives.
Another requirement is the completion of the Extended Essay, a 4,000 word research paper. This paper allows the student to develop research and analytical skills, learn how to formulate an argument and communicate ideas. It lays a foundation for college undergraduate research.
A third requirement is completion of the CAS Programme. CAS stands for Creativity, Action and Service. This program occurs outside the normal school hours and tries to provide a balance with the academic requirements.
For the Creativity aspect students are required to participate in clubs or activities which focus on creative pursuit, such as drama productions, school newspaper, or band. The Action part puts the student out in the community to assist local organizations trying to make a difference and it must involve some physical action or movement, an example would be a dog walker at the Humane Society. For the Service portion, students volunteer with projects or organizations to provide a service to the greater community and receive a learning opportunity in the process.
Volunteering with an elementary school enrichment program or a senior citizen home would meet this requirement.
Throughout the CAS Programme, students provide personal reflections on their activities. Entrance into the GS/IB program is competitive and involves an application and consideration of grades, standardized tests, and courses taken. Applicants must demonstrate and interest and motivation for learning, which is documented by teacher recommendations, a writing sample, community involvement, and an interview.
The program is extremely rigorous as the students enter the final years with the essays, oral presentations and tests required to obtain the IB Diploma. However, the program prepares the students for life-long learning and provides a springboard to greater opportunities in the future.
For further information on the GS/IB program, you may contact Ms. Amy Woolf, Program Coordinator at 410-612-1500 or Amy.Woolf@hcps.org.