Minority Business Enterprise Workshop June 9

Maryland Capital Enterprises/Women’s Business Center will host the next Minority Business Enterprise workshop on Friday, June 9, 2017. The workshop will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Eastern Shore Innovation Center, 104 Tech Park Drive, Cambridge, Maryland.

This workshop will cover your “how to” questions regarding the application process of becoming a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), or Small Business Enterprise (SBE); how to complete an application, and certification process.

The workshop will be taught by Pamela R. Gregory, Intake Operations Manager, Certification, Office of Minority Business Enterprise, Maryland Department of Transportation.

Register at www.marylandcapital.org/services/education/eastern-shore-events, or call Lisa Twilley, Administrative manager at 410-546-1900.

Crashbox Theatre Brings Broadway to Talbot County!

Crashbox Theatre Company is a direct link to the professional talents of New York City!  Richard (Ricky) A. Vitanovec, who serves our community as 6-8 Theatre Teacher/Director ~ Easton Middle School, 9-12 Theatre Director ~ Easton High School,  Executive Director ~ Crashbox Theatre Company works tirelessly to develop relationships in New York that transfer to direct opportunities for our youth.

The latest partnership brings Brian Michael Hoffman from the SEUSICAL Off-Broadway show, loaded with experience from touring nationally with ANNIE, and Internationally with HERCULES, THE MUSE-ICAL. He even served on the film team for ANNIE and THE WIZ LIVE with Sony Studios and NBC’s PETER PAN LIVE. Hoffman specializes in Character Voices and Improv, while teaching expert technique for acting for live audiences. Having his attention on our youth opens doors for the future.

Vitanovec attracts the experts due to his earned reputation in New York City as a serious talent developer and show producer and director. He holds a master’s degree in theatre production and has directed over thirty-three productions. He further contributes to our community by acting at Church Hill Theatre, Hugh Gregory Gallagher Theatre, Tred Avon Players and the St. Michael’s Community Center.

What does all of this talent mean to your aspiring theatre kid? Hope and a professional leg up.Dreams combined with skills creates realities.  It assures us that in our small arena we can develop talent ready for the larger stage.  If you have a child curious about the theatre world and truly wants to explore all the different technical jobs and roles for talent that can ignite that passion, then they need to sign up for a Crashbox Theatre Company Summer Camp. There is also room for adults.

The musical theatre camps are offered for elementary students starting July 25th for seven days 9:00am – 11:00am for $175. Middle School children starting July 25th for nine days 9:00am – 3:00pm for $325. These camps specialize in songs, scenes and choreography.  The technical camp for 8th grade- adult starting July 25th for nine days 3:00pm – 6:00pm for $285 focuses on set design, paining techniques, stage makeup, sound and stage lighting. The tech camp even includes a full (large) makeup kit. Discounts are available for siblings and multiple classes. All camps are held at the Easton High School Auditorium.

Whether you are just starting out, or already active, these camps have something for the community both on and off the stage. Find out more at crashboxtheatre.com

10 Year Anniversary of St. Michaels YMCA

The St. Michaels Family YMCA celebrated their 10th Anniversary on May 12, 2017. Members, staff and guests gathered in the Y to visit with one another, share stories and look toward the future of the new Y facility in St. Michaels.

Anniversaries are important. Whether it is a marriage or time spent in a career; commitment is what holds an anniversary together. The St. Michael’s Family Y has made a commitment to the Bay Hundred area to take care of the people who live there, to be there for the community and enhance their lives. This is a joint effort of staff, partners and members.

Front row: JoAnn McQuay, Susan Irwin, Suellen Gargalli, Tracy Cohee, Senator Addie Eckardt, Thomas Stanford, Shirley Cockey; Back row: Roy Myers, Gloria Paul, Kim Kerrigan, Michael Bibb, Sherri Atkinson, Judy Warner, Delegate Johnny Mautz

Jacque Smith, long time member, sees the growth as exciting. She is looking forward to more space for classes, workout equipment, activities and more diversity. The present facility is smaller and fosters a sense of community. If a member needs assistance with the equipment, there is always someone eager to help. The new facility will be more spacious but will not lose that small community feeling.

At the helm of the St. Michaels Y is Tracy Cohee, the Executive Director. She has been with the YCMA for twenty years, and has been with the St. Michaels Y since day one. She maintains close relationships with the members and staff. It is just like a family. Tracy and the staff have managed to keep this Y in the top 1% of Ys in the nation for customer service. Her commitment is unwavering and the staff and members know they can be a part of the great work going on there.

Sherri Atkinson, lead welcome center staff at the Y, is excited about the growth the Y is experiencing and the new St. Michaels Y. One of her favorite things is seeing the youth come after school. “At first unsure of themselves and their surroundings, they see where they fit in and soon the Y becomes a home away from home. It is all about community”. She sees the advantages the new facility will bring for youth. “They will be able to come right over to the Y after school without having to walk along the road, and have a safe and fun place to be with their friends”. As Brandon Young, a member almost his whole life, says “We need a basketball court, where we can play ball and hang out with our friends. And Ms. Tracy, she is the best”.

Senator Addie Eckardt and Delegate Johnny Mautz

Robbie Gill, CEO of the YMCA of the Chesapeake, spoke about what the Y means to the residents in St. Michaels. “They Y is a community connection where everyone comes together”. Similar comments were spoken by Senator Addie Eckardt and Delegate Johnny Mautz. They see the Y as a place where everyone can go, regardless of their economic status or age. Seniors, families and youth can come in to get fit and have a place where they belong. Mr. Mautz remembers coming to the Easton Y as a youth and wants the youth in St. Michaels to have the same opportunities he had.

The new facility will bring a new partner. Talbot County and Upper Shore Aging have entered into a shared-use agreement that will result in the St. Michael Senior Center moving into the facility and having a shared space. This will enable the Y and Upper Shore Aging to double the impact on the community while saving on resources. The new facility will be brimming with seniors, youth, families, and adults who want a quality facility to build relationships in, get healthy and interact in a multitude of activities. Sound interesting, right? You can be a part of it.

So far the St. Michaels Y has raised $2.3 million with a campaign goal of $5 million. With grant requests from local foundations and partnerships, the amount raised is expected to be $4.5 million. The support of the community is needed to reach the campaign goal. Gifts are accepted and appreciated as well as 5 year pledges. This is an opportunity to be an active participant in the beginning of the new St. Michaels Family Y. This is your Y, your community. The facility is on track for site work to begin this summer. The construction site will be cleared, with one tennis court being relocated and the other resurfaced. Groundbreaking for the new facility will be in August.

The spirit that runs through the St. Michael’s Y has been, and always will be community. Whatever your reason for coming, there is something for you at the Y. And it is about to get even better.

Elijah Cummings to Address Talbot County Democrats on June 2

The Talbot County Democratic Central Committee’s Inaugural Douglass-Tubman Dinner will be held Friday, June 2 at Easton’s historic Waterfowl Building, 40 S. Washington St.  Festivities will begin at 5pm with a reception, followed by dinner.  To attend, go to www.talbotdems.com

The key note speaker will be Congressman Elijah Cummings, Maryland’s 7th district Representative.  Born and raised in Baltimore, Representative Elijah Cummings graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University and is also a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law.  Congressman Cummings has received 12 honorary doctoral degrees from universities across our nation, and today serves as a key member of the U.S Congress of the United States of America.

Congressman Elijah Cummings, Maryland’s 7th District Representative to the U.S. Congress of the United States of America

Kathleen Matthews, Maryland’s newly elected state Democratic Party Chair, will also address the dinner highlighting the need to elect strong leaders into key positions in the County, State and at the national level.

Chairman Scott Kane looks forward to hosting this event; “We are sponsoring this this event to raise funds in support of democratic candidates and ideals”, and importantly, “During such challenging times we are fortunate to be able to follow the inspiration of our Eastern Shore’s leaders, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman”.

Talbot County’s Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in the early 1800s, but went on to become a renowned abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman.  Harriet Tubman of Dorchester, a spy for the U.S. Army during the Civil War, is best known for leading people to freedom on the Underground Railroad during that war.

Congressman Cummings will highlight the democratic mission of ensuring that our children have access to quality education, health care, clean air and water, and a strong economy defined by fiscal responsibility. As he has stated, “Children are the living messages that we send to the future.” And as he reminds us, “We have come a long way, but more remains to be done.”

For more information and to sign up, go to www.talbotdems.com. Questions about the Douglass-Tubman Dinner? Contact Karen Shook, 410 745 3307.

MORE ABOUT THE TALBOT COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE

The Talbot County Democratic Central Committee is the official governing body of the Democratic Party in Talbot County, Maryland. Chosen by Democratic voters during the gubernatorial primary election, the central committee consists of eight members who carry out the local business of the party. Together with the other jurisdictions in the state we make up the Democratic State Central Committee of Maryland, the governing body of the Maryland Democratic Party.

In addition, the central committee fosters other party-building activity in Talbot County, including candidate recruitment, establishing an election headquarters and voter registration activities in conjunction with the Democratic Clubs.

The web address of the committee is www.talbotdems.com.

“A Quilted Garden,” a Gorgeous Display of Artistic Talent

Bayside Quilters of the Eastern Shore, Inc. is presenting their Biannual Quilt Show, “A QUILTED GARDEN” on June 2, 3 and 4, (10:00am to 4:00pm Friday and Saturday, 10:00am to 3:00 pm Sunday) in picturesque OXFORD, MD. Over 200 member made quilts will be displayed hanging from the rafters in the main show at the Oxford Community Center, 201 Oxford Road. Boutique items made by Bayside quilters and quilts will be for sale. A Vendors Mall will be held in the Oxford Fire Hall and antique quilts will be displayed in two historic churches.

Admission is $10.00 and all locations are handicap accessible.

Sponsored in part by the Talbot Arts Council.

Also on Saturday, June 3, Oxford Garden Club will have their garden show, Secret Gardens of Oxford with tickets available at the Oxford park.

Paul Taylor Paints on the Porch at Candleberry Gallery

Paul Taylor, a Rochester, New York, artist with a thing for St Michaels, will demonstrate on the front porch of Candleberry Gallery on Saturday, May 20.  Come see his beautiful watercolor maritime paintings and watch him do a St. Michaels matchstick painting.  Paul will also have coasters and trivets for sale.  Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend and come see a great artist in action!  Candleberry Gallery is located at 210 St. Talbot Street in St. Michaels. 

http://paulallentaylor.com/index.php

Eastern Shore Crisis Response Helpline: Helping Callers One Crisis at a Time

Quietly operating out of an unassuming building in Dorchester County, the Eastern Shore Operation Center of the Eastern Shore Crisis Response Service is saving lives. Phone counselors at the Center’s Eastern Shore Crisis Response and Resource Helpline work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help prevent suicides, homicides, unnecessary hospitalizations, arrests or detention, and to reduce dangerous or threatening situations involving individuals in need of behavioral health services.  

According Lynn Gurley, LCSW-C, Clinical Coordinator of the Eastern Shore Operation Center, “The program has grown progressively each year. This is in part due to people with chronic mental health issues using us instead of going to the hospital and the word is getting out and people now know what we do.”

Pictured L-R are staff working with the Eastern Shore Crisis Responses and Resource Helpline: Brandy James, after-hours phone counselor; Brittany Crawford, phone counselor; Lynn Gurley, LCSW-C, Clinical Coordinator of the Eastern Shore Operation Center; Carol Masden, LCSW-C, Director of Eastern Shore Crisis Response; Lindsey Tolley, phone counselor; and Katherine Harrison, phone counselor. Absent from the photo are after-hours phone counselors Sheri Christopher, LCSW-C, Keonia Greene, Tina Morris, Sherone Thompson, Eboni Taylor-Tue, LCSW-C, and Ivy Garcia.

Sponsored by The Eastern Shore Crisis Response Services of the Affiliated Santé Group, the crisis response helpline serves the nine counties of the Eastern Shore from Cecil to Worcester counties offering telephone support for individuals and family members in crisis.  The crisis response helpline has three daytime counselors who work from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. All counselors are trained clinicians and must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Human Services, plus have five-year crisis response helpline experience. In addition, all phone counselors participate in a special training program which uses a curriculum developed by Gurley specific to the crisis response helpline services offered through the agency.

Through a grant from the Rural Maryland Council, the agency just added a new counselor position to cover 4 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday as evening call volume has been steadily increasing. The new evening position will replace after-hours staff who worked from home during the week. The position also allows the crisis response helpline to increase its response to incoming calls, as well as outgoing follow-up calls and client satisfaction surveys.

There are seven after-hours contractual phone counselors with the crisis response helpline who work on weekends and holidays from 8 a.m. to midnight. The Baltimore County Crisis Center provides crisis response helpline counselors from midnight to 8 a.m. daily.

According to Carol Masden, LCSW-C, Director of Eastern Shore Crisis Response, “The key to the crisis delivery system is the helpline. During fiscal year 2016, our Eastern Shore Operations Center, where the crisis response helpline operates, assisted 6,361 callers, up 25.8 percent from fiscal year 2014. Wicomico, Cecil, and Dorchester counties were the counties with the highest number of new calls in fiscal year 2016.”

She adds, “With our most recent changes there are no disruptions in services to the nine counties we serve. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties.”

According to Gurley, one of the key services that the crisis response helpline offers is counseling at the time of the call.  The phone counselors assess the situation using a six-step Crisis Intervention Model. The first step is to assess the situation and identify the problem, this includes assessing the person for safety issues, including suicidal feelings, whether the person is a danger to others, determining whether mental health issues are present, as well as whether there is a medication/alcohol or drug use issue. The phone counselor can also walk the caller through exercises and suggest supports that can help the caller with managing the crisis he or she is experiencing at that moment.

Gurley states, “We express empathy to the caller, brainstorm ideas for services which can benefit them, and make a plan with them for next steps. This includes getting a commitment from the caller that he or she will follow through with the plan we set up. Our model is person-centered, so each caller is a part of making the plan.”

Services provided through the crisis response helpline include connecting callers to behavioral health appointments in facilities across the Shore. Callers get an appointment to these providers with 24 to 48 hours of calling the crisis response helpline.  The crisis response helpline is also a source of information and referral to callers who may need to get a new mental health provider because they are new to the area or referral to a homeless shelter if the person is homeless. 

Each caller has an Electronic Case Record which enables phone counselors to follow up with callers on the same day for any unresolved issues. The phone counselors also follow up with callers to be sure they have gone to scheduled appointments with providers. Web-based scheduling interfaces with the Electronic Case Record to accomplish this tracking. Once a client is stable and has received services, the crisis response helpline case is closed.

Phone counselor Katherine Harrison states, “A significant percentage of our helpline calls come from parents and foster parents who are struggling with children suffering from severe behavioral health issues, which are oftentimes the result of past trauma. We can provide counseling on the phone, and assist with linking them to outpatient behavioral health treatment if needed. If we can’t be successful on the phone, we can then dispatch a Mobile Crisis Team to the home. The ultimate goal is to prevent hospitalization, but sometimes that is where the client needs to be.”

Harrison recalls, “There are success stories, however, every day. I was recently able to de-escalate a child who was experiencing a behavioral health crisis over the phone, and he was able to go to school and ended up having a good day.”

Lindsey Tolley, another phone counselor with the helpline, states, “We are seeing more and more clients struggling with the co-occurring issues of substance use disorder and a mental health issue. It is more common now for family members to call on behalf of a minor or on behalf of their adult children in regard to substance abuse.”

Additional services provided by the crisis response helpline include coordination with law enforcement and other emergency personnel when more serious mental health issues arise. Eastern Shore Crisis Response provides ongoing Crisis Intervention Team training for law enforcement about mental health and substance use issues. In some cases, when a call comes in that involves a dangerous situation, the phone counselor will dispatch the Mobile Crisis Team and law enforcement at the same time.

The Eastern Shore Crisis Response Mobile Crisis Teams are available between 9 a.m. and midnight seven days a week, 365 days a year. Approximately one half of the calls through the crisis response helpline require the Mobile Crisis Teams to be dispatched. Teams are available in all the Eastern Shore counties but Worcester County, which already has a mobile crisis team in place.

Masden comments, “In FY 2016 the Mobile Crisis Teams responded to 2743 dispatches to provide immediate crisis interventions, psychosocial assessments and referrals, helping individuals, families with mental health crises, substance abuse, and intellectual disabilities.”

According to Masden, most callers present with more than one behavioral health issue and the crisis response helpline deals with clients with chronic mental health issues. In fiscal year 2016, the top three focal issues for callers were chronic mental illness, depression, and situational crisis. The agency reported that 22.4 percent of new calls were related to substance abuse and/or co-occurring disorders. Services are provided to people across the lifespan, with ages ranging from age young children to adults aged 99, who may be suffering from a mental health issue such as dementia, now referred to as neurocognitive disorders.

The crisis response helpline cannot provide transportation assistance for callers or give medical or legal advice or ongoing therapy to callers. According to Gurley, “Our mission is to respond to crisis calls and ensure the safety and well-being of the person in crisis until such time as the individual has been stabilized, provided with needed support and information and referred to appropriate community resources for continuity of care.” She adds, “There has been positive feedback from our satisfaction surveys for the crisis response helpline and we are utilizing the feedback for continuous quality improvement.”

A number of agencies partner with Eastern Shore Crisis Response to provide care to crisis response Helpline callers, including Mid-Shore Behavioral Health Services, which provides referrals, shares cases and provides peer review for Eastern Shore Crisis Response. Mid-Shore Behavioral Health is also a pass through entity for funding the agency. Masden states, “Mid-Shore Behavioral Health is our champion. The staff advocated for us with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Behavioral Health Administration when our call volume increased exponentially and we needed to fund additional positions. They also secured funding for us to enhance our Call Center, creating a phone que system which is more consumer friendly. This enhancement helps us better serve our neighbors when they are most fragile.”

Masden adds, “In Cecil County, the Cecil County Core Service Agency helps to fund the Cecil County Mobile Crisis Team, as well as funds a portion of the Call Center staff.”

Through collaborative partnerships with hospitals, outpatient mental health clinics, substance abuse services and peer support programming, Eastern Shore Crisis Response has built a strong community program. For immediate support, access the Eastern Shore Crisis Response and Resource Helpline at 888-407-8018.

The Affiliated Santé Group (Santé), a dynamic and leading provider of crisis psychiatric care and system management services to public and private entities, is the largest provider of crisis services in Maryland. Santé, a nonprofit entity, also manages mental health outreach and psychiatric recovery services. It has been delivering mental health care to individuals and families and pioneering new treatment modalities since 1974. As a nonprofit, the organization welcomes donations to assist with the growing operational expenses associated with the volume of calls that the crisis response helpline is experiencing. For further information about the Affiliated Santé Group, visit www.thesantegroup.org

Frederick Douglass Honor Society May 21 Event

A fundraiser to support the Frederick Douglass Honor Society Scholarship Fund and Frederick Douglass Day will be held on Sunday, May 21 from 2-5 p.m. at the Wye House, formerly the home of a young, enslaved Frederick Douglass. The Society is dedicated to developing programs that continue the Frederick Douglass legacy of human rights, personal growth, and involvement of citizens in their communities. Douglass, an American hero, abolitionist, orator, author, statesman, and reformer was a firm believer in equality for all people.

The event “From Frederick Douglass to Barack Obama, Why the Struggle Continues,” includes a round-table discussion focusing on the vision and ideals of Frederick Douglass and their relevance today. World-class Frederick Douglass scholars participating are David Blight, Yale University professor and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, Hari Jones, assistant director and curator, African American Civil War Freedom Foundation and Museum, Clara Small, emeritus professor, Salisbury University, expert on African Americans living on the Delmarva peninsula  and John Stauffer, professor of English, African and African-American Studies, History of American Civilization at Harvard University.

“Frederick Douglass is an American hero, and his vision and willingness to fight for his ideals through reason, consensus-building and peaceful advocacy are vital messages for all of us, especially our youth, and couldn’t be more relevant right now” said Eric Lowery, President of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society.

The Frederick Douglass Honor Society annual scholarship program provides financial assistance to two high school graduates, selected for their leadership skills, who want to attend college. The purpose of this event is to increase the size of the scholarship fund to include more student-leaders, offer a higher level of financial assistanceto students and expand and enhance mentorship efforts to support these student leaders throughout their college experience.

Every year the Society celebrates Frederick Douglass Day as a way to honor this American hero and his great legacy by sharing his story here in Talbot County, the county of his birthplace. Free and open to the public, this inspirational event is an important vehicle to reach our community and visitors through education and entertainment.

Program hosts for the fundraiser are the Frederick Douglass Honor Society and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Tilghman. Program committee members include Ms. Amy Haines, Rabbi Peter Hyman, Mr. Richard Marks,Dr. Lois McCoy, Mr. Bruce Ragsdale, Mr. Richard Scobey and Dr. Willie Wood. Tickets are $100 per person and available online @ https//mscf.givezooks.com/events/Frederick-Douglasss-honor-society.

For more information about this event or to learn more about the Frederick Douglass Honor Society visit http://www.frederickDouglassshonorsociety.org/ or Facebook page at Frederick Douglass Honor Society.

‘Envision the Choptank’ Offers Free BMP Workshop for Talbot County Residents

Live in the town of Easton, St. Michaels, or McDaniel and interested in the health of the Chesapeake Bay? If you answered “YES”, then the Envision the Choptank initiative has an opportunity for you!

Come to the Eastern Shore Conservation Center (114 South Washington St., Easton) on May 17 or May 22 from 5:30-7:30pm for an informational workshop and walking tour to learn how to reduce flooding and control runoff in your own backyard. Refreshments will be provided as residents learn a little bit about some best management techniques for your home.

Those in attendance will also go on a short walking tour to see techniques first hand and speak with homeowners who are already helping to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Everyone who attends will get a free soil test and recommendations for lawn care. A rain barrel will also be raffled off each night.

Please RSVP by e-mail to Nicole Barth (nbarth@eslc.org) or by phone to Michelle Funches 410-690-4603 ext. 169 by May 15!

Envision the Choptank is a collaborative initiative that engages communities, nonprofits, and government agencies in developing joint solutions to improve the health and productivity of native oysters and support a fishable, swimmable Choptank.

Tony Hoffman Shares His Experience at Opioid Conference

The Talbot County Department of Social Services recently sponsored a free Opioid Conference at the Talbot Community Center in Easton, Maryland. There were approximately 80 community members in attendance for the daylong event. The conference featured former BMX pro and recovering addict, Tony Hoffman, who told a powerful story of redemption.

The staff of the Talbot County Department of Social Services with Tony Hoffman, BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict. L-R are Katie Pederson, Child Welfare Supervisor; Christine Abbatiello, Adoption/Foster Care Supervisor; Lindsay Newcomb, Parent Education Coordinator; Tony Hoffman, Debbe Faribank, Adult Services Supervisor, Chrissy Montague, Option Respite Coordinator; Shari Blades, Assistant Director, and Linda Webb.

Hoffman shared a detailed account of his experience as a BMX pro featured on the cover of a magazine in high school to his experimentation with drugs that ultimately led him to robbing someone at gun point to fuel his addiction.  Having experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows during his battle with addiction, he has dedicated his life to bringing awareness around the country through motivational speaking.

Hoffman commented about first becoming a successful athlete in middle school, stating, “I began looking up to athletes on television and started mimicking how they acted – entitled.”

After giving up on BMX racing after high school, Hoffman no longer had an outlet to keep him involved and he began going to house parties. He told himself he was only going to use drugs one time, but that led to more frequent use. He stated, “One pill made me an addict. There is a doorway that exists. I had opened up the door the first day I tried drugs. Most people who have walked through that door are dead.”

Pictured L-R are panelists Charlie Roe, Dry Dock Recovery and Wellness Center; Jayne Fitzgerald, Talbot Partnership; and Lt. John Bollinger, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office.

Hoffman added, “I didn’t realize how much I was going to have to change to get to the other side of the door. Every day of my life now is working to stay on the other side of that door.”

He tried to get back into BMX racing in 2011, but it didn’t work out due to a severe knee injury. He founded the Freewheel Project in 2012, which has brought access to action sports to kids in the community in effort for youth to develop healthy life choices. About his new nonprofit, Hoffman said, “My calling wasn’t for me to be a selfish athlete. God told me I had a bike and to use it. The bike also gave me the microphone I use today.”

Following Hoffman’s speech, he spent time thoroughly answering people’s questions and providing motivational feedback.  Lindsay Newcomb, LGSW, Parent Education Coordinator for the Talbot County Department of Social Services, comments, “Listening to Hoffman recount his experiences provided a sense of hope and inspiration to the audience, recovery is possible.”

Pictured L-R are panelists Bruce Strazza, Val Albee, Mariah’s Mission Fund; and Tina Brown, Eastern Shore Crisis Response.

The conference also presented two panel presentations from local residents sharing personal stories, law enforcement, parent education, peer support, and local resources. In addition to the presentations, many local agencies brought resources to share through informational tables.  At the end of the day, the Talbot County Health Department offered an opportunity for NARCAN (Naloxone) training and certification. NARCAN is used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation.  Approximately 25 community members were certified and distributed a NARCAN kit.

Partners participating in the Conference included the Talbot County Health Department, Dri-Dock Recovery, Talbot Partnership, Mariah’s Mission, Rising Above Disease, Maryland Coalition of Families, Eastern Shore Crisis Response, Recovery for Shore, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office, Shore Regional, Corsica River Mental Health Services, and Chesapeake Voyagers.