Getting Ahead Program Making a Difference in Talbot County

“Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’- By World,” a collaborative program of the Talbot County Department of Social Services (TCDSS) and Talbot Family Network (TFN), enters its second year with new community sessions starting September 4 and running through November 27, 2018. The program allows participants to explore the impact that poverty and low wages have and what it takes to move from just getting by, to getting ahead and realizing the future that they really want.

According to Cawaina Friend, Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World Facilitator, “The program is not just for people in poverty, but for people who have been impacted by life’s trials. The program helps participants network with community resources and develop relationships with one another to gain financial stability and to advance their careers.”

Individuals can sign up on their own or be referred by one of the programs community partners, like Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, Talbot Interfaith Shelter, Mid-Shore Fresh Start Program, Inc., the Talbot County Department of Social Services, or the Talbot County Detention Center.

Photo: Pictured left to right are Bruce Bennett, Kenneth Wayne Phillips Jr., and Thomas Griffin, all graduates of the Mid-Shore Fresh Start, who recently participated in the “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World” program.

A 34-year old female who was referred to the program from Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) comments, “After spending eight months at TIS and then being in their transitional apartments for three years, I decided to participate in the program. It has helped me a lot and given me confidence. I learned interviewing skills which have helped me progress to the next step in the interviewing process for a job. I am also looking forward to attending Chesapeake College.” She adds, “The money management information was also very impactful to me.”

Participants take part in a 13-week workshop, meeting two hours a week in small groups where they have problem-solving discussions and investigations. Weekly stipends, childcare, dinner and transportation assistance are offered to participants in the program.

For a 35-year old man who was referred through the Mid-Shore Fresh Start Program, the program has helped him step outside of his comfort zone and to think outside of the box. He states, “I came from an urban environment and the culture is different on the Eastern Shore. I have learned how to network and develop relationships with people here. It has helped me grow.”

Now with a job and a vehicle and 17 months in recovery, he states, “As a recovering addict, I have learned I need other people and resources to help me in the recovery process. When I let go of things, new doors opened.”

Friend adds, “The program has helped people facing homelessness, illness, and even literacy issues. By the end of the program, the group is close-knit and are helping one another. It’s about gaining the knowledge and resources to get ahead.”

The “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’- By World” program meets at the Easton Family YMCA in Easton on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. beginning on September 4. Persons interested in participating in this program or individuals or organizations wishing to refer individuals to the program should contact Paris Quillet, Special Projects Coordinator, TCDSS, at 410-770-5870 or email paris.quillet@maryland.gov.

Talbot County Empty Bowls Breaks Fundraising Records in 2018

The all-volunteer Talbot County Empty Bowls committee recently completed distributing checks to ten food pantries. Each beneficiary of the 2018 fundraising efforts received a check for $3,389.

The food pantries that benefited from Talbot County Empty Bowls in 2018 include Asbury Methodist Church, Easton; Care Packs; Christ Church St. Michaels Food Panty; Harvest of Hope Food Pantry, Easton; Neighborhood Service Center; Presbyterian Church, Easton; St. Vincent de Paul Society; Scotts United Methodist Church, Trappe; Tilghman Island Food Pantry; and Union United Methodist Church, St. Michaels.

Susan duPont (right), co-chair of the 2018 Talbot County Empty Bowls committee, presents a check to Francine DeSanctis for the Tilghman Island Food Pantry.

“Although the annual Empty Bowls dinner held in February is our signature event, we fundraise all year long in an effort to end hunger in Talbot County,” says Susan duPont, who has been co-chair of the Talbot County Empty Bowls initiative for 10 years.

“After the dinner each year, we sell hand-painted bowls at community events, adding more funds to the Empty Bowls kitty,” duPont adds. “We speak at public events and cooperate with other organizations to enlist the people of Talbot County to help their neighbors in need.”

Since its first dinner in 2009 Talbot County Empty Bowls has distributed $163,000 to local food pantries that feed the hungry 365 days a year. In addition to Empty Bowls dinner ticket sales, the funds given to the food pantries come from selling leftover hand-painted bowls at the Easton Farmer’s Market and at other community events. The first annual appeal completed in 2017 also contributed to the 26 percent increase in financial support for Talbot food pantries in 2018.

Mary Lou Malone (right), a member of the Talbot County Empty Bowls planning committee, presents a check to Naomi Thomas for the Scotts United Methodist Church food pantry.

“We depend on these bowls sales as well as sponsorships, donations of goods and services, and the work of many volunteers to ensure that every penny raised from dinner ticket sales is returned to the community organizations committed to serving people in need,” says Anna Harding, who sparked the idea for Talbot County Empty Bowls.

The 2019 Talbot County Empty Bowls dinner will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019. Tickets will go on sale in January.

Donations to Talbot County Empty Bowls are accepted year round through the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. Make credit card payments at www.mscf.org. (Specify Talbot County Empty Bowls as the fund under “Additional Information.”) Mail checks payable to Talbot County Empty Bowls to Mid-Shore Community Foundation, 103 E. Dover Street, Easton, MD 2101.

Visit www.TalbtCountyEmptyBowls.org and like the Talbot County Empty Bowls Facebook page to learn more about how to participate in ending hunger in Talbot County.

MSRVG Raises $26,000 in Inaugural Bicycling Fundraising Event

The Mid Shore Recovering Veterans Group (MSRVG) raised $26,450 from its inaugural bicycling fundraising event, titled SOAR For Veterans this spring. The nonprofit group, a fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, provides unfunded needs to local veterans in the five counties of the Mid-Shore.  The group serves individual needs of veterans in any way they can. This includes providing wheelchairs, handicap ramps and the like, including services as simple as providing toiletries and other small incidentals.  The group often provides food, gas, transportation and other services for local veterans in dire need. As a small nonprofit, MSRVG is able to be fast-moving and nimble in meeting local veterans’ needs.

Pictured L-R: Cyclists Amy Haines, Susan Sarubin, Sandi Whitehurst, and Wendy Palmer.

The event, initiated by a committee of local volunteers identified by Dock Street Foundation and with dozens of local sponsors, offered three bike rides in Talbot County (25, 50 or 62.5 miles). Coinciding with the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall’s presence at the VFW Post 5118 in Easton, all riders had the opportunity to stop and visit The Wall to pay their respects.

Royce Ball, co-founder of the Mid-Shore Recovering Veterans Group, was extremely grateful for the effort made by so many “professional” participants, all of whom enjoyed a wonderful ride and visit to the Vietnam Traveling Wall.  Monies raised will be divided among the recently initiated Workforce Scholarship Program for Veterans and the organization’s regular scholarship program for high school graduates of Veteran families. The MSRVG General Fund will receive monies as well.

“I wish I could have thanked them all personally”, said Ball, and he added that he was especially thankful to Dock Street Foundation for the idea to even attempt this wonderful event.

Supported by local businesses and individual contributors, the event was extraordinarily successful and will become an annual fundraising event. Cyclists, sponsors and supporters should mark their calendars for Saturday, June 1, 2019, for the second annual SOAR for Veterans bicycling fundraising event.

Little Tree Library Officially Opens

Easton’s newest Little Free Library, dubbed the “Little Tree Library” because it is nestled in the trunk of a crepe myrtle, officially opened on Saturday, August 11.

Nearby residents who attended the grand opening event took many books home and also brought books to share. Attendees were able to make a bookmark to take home and refreshments were available.

Little Free Libraries are small repositories of books that allow for the free exchange of books on a neighborhood scale. The Little Tree Library is Charter #59299 with the Little Free Library program and is one of at least 4 such libraries in Easton. More information on Little Free Libraries and where to locate them can be found at https://littlefreelibrary.org/.

The Little Tree Library is located at 211 Stewart Street, at the home of Missy Corley. It is only one block away from Idlewild Park and can be accessed 24/7, all throughout the year.

Corley, who holds a degree in library science and is on the Friends of the Talbot County Free Library board, was inspired to set up her own Little Free Library after reading about other such libraries in the area. When considering where to place such a library in her yard, she realized the crepe myrtle tree could serve as the perfect base.

“I wanted the library to be accessible to as many people as possible,” Corley said. “With Idlewild Park nearby and lots of kids passing by my house on the way to and from school, I hope it will encourage a lot of neighbors to enjoy and share books.”

The Little Tree Library is stocked with books for all ages, including some Spanish-language books, and also features seeds from the Talbot County Free Seed Library.

Corley, who is also a Talbot County Master Gardener, founded the seed library at the Easton Branch of the Talbot County Free Library in 2017, in conjunction with University of Maryland Extension and the Master Gardeners program.

The Little Tree Library is on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/littletreelibrary21601/) and Instagram (@littletreelibrary).

Delmarva Power Reminds Customers of Available Energy Assistance

Delmarva Power reminds customers of important energy assistance available through the federally-funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help meet their energy needs. Up to $1,000 in grant support per customer is available, depending on a household’s income, size and type of fuel, with no pay back required.

“We are committed to helping our customers manage their energy needs,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president. “Every day, our employees are in the communities we serve raising awareness about these important energy assistance opportunities and providing customers with the tips and resources they need to save money and energy. Over the last 12 months, these efforts have helped more than 35,000 customers secure nearly $17 million in energy assistance.”

Delmarva Power customers in Delaware can take advantage of LIHEAP until March 31, 2019, by applying through their local Catholic Charities office or online at the Division of Health and Social Services website.

In Maryland, customers can apply for LIHEAP energy assistance until June 30, 2019, through the Department of Human Services website, by visiting a Local Energy Assistance Office, or by calling the Office of Home Energy Programs at 1-800-332-6347.

Each state has determined eligibility guidelines based on household size and income. To be eligible for a grant, a customer’s annual household income cannot exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines in Delaware or 175 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines in Maryland. Homeowners, renters, roomers and subsidized housing tenants may be eligible for the program. Customers do not have to be behind on their bills to receive a grant.

Delaware’s maximum monthly household income eligibility requirements are as follows:

– $2,028 – One-person household
– $2,750 – Two-person household
– $3,471 – Three-person household
– $4,193 – Four-person household

Maryland’s maximum monthly household income eligibility requirements are as follows:

– $1,770 – One-person household
– $2,400 – Two-person household
– $3,030 – Three-person household
– $3,660 – Four-person household

In addition to LIHEAP, there are many other programs and tips available to help Delmarva Power customers save money and manage their energy service. Customers can sign up for My Account, which contains tools and detailed energy usage information. By tracking their energy use, comparing usage trends, and discovering the results of energy-saving practices, customers can manage their energy more efficiently. Customers can visit delmarva.com to learn more about My Account, available energy assistance programs, and other ways to save money and energy.

Delmarva Power will work with customers who may have difficulty paying their energy bill. The company offers payment options, like budget billing, which averages payments over a 12-month period to help customers manage their monthly energy bill, or flexible payment arrangements that offer individually tailored payment installment plans. Customers who may be struggling to make a payment should contact Delmarva Power as soon as possible at 1-800-375-7117.

To learn more about Delmarva Power, visit The Source, Delmarva Power’s online news room. Find additional information by visiting delmarva.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/delmarvapower and on Twitter at twitter.com/delmarvaconnect. Delmarva Power’s mobile app is available at delmarva.com/mobileapp.

About Delmarva Power: Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), provides safe and reliable energy to more than 520,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware and Maryland and approximately 132,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware.

Republican Central Committee Collecting Donated School Supplies for Students

The Republican Central Committee of Talbot County has launched a drive to collect and distribute donated school supplies to county students whose families are not in a position to purchase them.

School supplies needed are pens, pencils, note books, note book paper, back packs, folders and markers.

Beginning on Monday, August 13 and running through Friday, August 31, red collection baskets will be at the following locations:

Republican Central Committee Headquarters — 110 East Washington Street, Easton

Rauch Inc. – 106 North Harrison Street, Easton

Carpenter Street Saloon – 113 South Talbot Street, St Michaels

Talbot County Chamber of Commerce – 101 Marlboro Avenue, Suite 53, Easton

Easton Premier Cinema – 210 Marlboro Avenue, Easton

There are limited number of collection baskets still available. To request one or if you need more information on this community public service project,contact Central Committee member Jim Jaramillo at jamesjaramillo42@gmail.com.

Easton Velocity Upgrades Internet Infrastructure

Easton Velocity, a service of Easton Utilities is embarking on a system-wide technology upgrade to improve the infrastructure that delivers high-speed internet to current customers. The upgrade will offer increased speeds of up to one gigabit (down), 100 Mb (up), improved reliability, and the capacity to support next generation services. “We are excited to bring this level of service to our customers in Easton who expect quick and seamless connectivity,” stated Ted L. Book, Director of Easton Velocity.

Construction is expected to begin in early September and will last approximately two years for full completion. The project plan focuses on work by specific locations to ensure the least amount of disturbance for residences, businesses and traffic.  “We are asking for patience and understanding from our customers and all residents of our community so we can deliver the services they are demanding,” added Book. More details will be forthcoming as Easton Velocity is committed to keeping people informed and are constructing a page on their website at eastonvelocity.com with real-time information.

“This significant investment and dedication of resources will ensure Easton has extremely fast internet which is crucial for quality of life and economic development,” said Hugh E. Grunden, President and CEO of Easton Utilities. The award-winning Town of Easton supports a variety of businesses, arts, culture, excellent dining experiences, a busy airport, access to large metropolitan areas, great health care, and a unique quality of life overall.

Easton Velocity, a service of Easton Utilities, is committed to keeping our community connected and current with a variety of service offerings designed to meet the needs of both residential and commercial customers. Easton Utilities is a community-owned, not-for-profit utility and telecommunications company operating the Electric, Natural Gas, Water, Wastewater, Cable Television, and Internet services for the Town of Easton and portions of the surrounding area. Please visit www.eastonvelocity.com or call 410-822-6110 to learn more.

Maryland DHS Celebrates Public Assistance to Entrepreneurship Strategy Graduates

On August 1, local Department of Social Services (DSS) directors, Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) representatives, and others convened at the Dorchester County DSS to honor three entrepreneurs from Maryland’s Upper Shore; Talisha Dodd of Talbot County was among the three praised for distinction.

Steve Benden, Director of Strategy and Performance with the Department of Human Services, commended the honorees’ participation in the Public Assistance to Entrepreneurship (PA2E) Strategy. The program, inspired by Harvard Business School research, was designed to provide business development training, tools, and techniques to individuals that are currently receiving public assistance  who also have dreams of owning a business while driving economic development. Benden also praised the SBDC for their partnership, as they provided valuable training to the program graduates.

Linda Webb, Director of Talbot County DSS, was quick to praise Ms. Dodd. “The drive and initiative shown by Talisha in the PA2E program serve as a wonderful example to us all of setting and achieving goals,” she remarked, adding “Talisha’s new business is an asset to the Talbot County community.” Talisha Dodd successfully runs her own cleaning services business.

This PA2E strategy has demonstrated its ability to enhance and expand Maryland’s current workforce development programs to provide resources and training to individuals receiving assistance with the ultimate goal of independently supporting themselves and their families.

DHS—the Maryland Department of Human Services—is the state’s primary social service provider, serving more than one million people annually. Through its 24 local departments of social services, DHS pursues opportunities to assist people in economic need, provide preventive services, and protect vulnerable children and adults in each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. Additional information may be found at www.dhs.maryland.gov, or on Facebook and Twitter.

Haven Ministries Opens Hope Warehouse to Support Ministries

On Thursday, July 26, Haven Ministries opened Hope Warehouse, a new warehouse offering used appliances, furniture and building supplies for purchase in Queenstown. According to Krista Pettit, Executive Director of Haven Ministries, the sales of items at a reduced cost to the public will support Haven Ministries other ministries in the community, including its homeless shelter, food pantry, thrift store, street outreach, and resource center.

Hope Warehouse will also provide a Retail Training Program that will complement Haven Ministries Resource Center in Centreville, helping with job training and placement in the community for individuals trying to get back on their feet in the community. The program will help those persons to get job training who have come through Haven Ministries homeless shelter and resource center and who have a poor work history. The training curriculum offers training in such areas as customer service and using a cash register.

Pictured is Susan Phillips, Warehouse Manager of Hope Warehouse.

Susan Phillips of Stevensville, Hope Warehouse Manager, comments, “People in the training program will serve as employees in our warehouse to get on-the-job training. We will also help them through the employment hiring process once they are finished the program.”

Hope Warehouse is open Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteers are needed and donations of used appliances, furniture and building supplies will be accepted on these days. For further information or to volunteer or donate, contact Susan Phillips at HopeWarehouse@Haven-Ministries.org or call 410-490-8498. Hope Warehouse is located at 6527 Friels Road in Queenstown, MD. Local businesses Reedy Electric, Native Landscaping, and Mitchell Glass donated their services to help Haven Ministries get the warehouse open.

Love shapes the ministry, love transforms people, and hope prevails at Haven Ministries.  Haven Ministries operates a Resource Center at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Centreville, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with job training, educational programming, and case management services.  The Haven Ministries Food Pantries are held on the third Friday monthly at Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Stevensville and at a second location at Centreville United Methodist Church at 608 Church Hill Road in Centreville from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Our Daily Thread Thrift Store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Homeless Shelter is open October through April at Kent Island United Methodist Church. For further information about Haven Ministries, visit haven-ministries.org or call 410-739-4363.

The Inaugural Eastern Shore Research Forum on September 10

Integrace Bayleigh Chase and the Integrace Institute have announced that the Easton life plan community will host the inaugural Eastern Shore Research Forum on Monday, September 10. Aging services, healthcare and research professionals are invited to learn about current research studies being done to examine how new technologies can be used to better deliver health care and other support to older adults.

The event’s keynote speaker will be Jody Holtzman, founder and senior managing partner at Longevity Venture Advisors, LLC. Named one of 2017’s “Top Influencers in Aging” by Next Avenue, Holtzman is the former Senior Vice President of Market Innovation at AARP and has worked for more than 10 years to create programs that spark innovation and entrepreneurship for Americans over the age of 50.

Research projects will also be presented by representatives from:

– University of Maryland, School of Medicine
– University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy
– New York University School of Medicine
– The Erickson School at UMBC

“This event gives us the opportunity to showcase how technology providers and researchers are working together to create solutions that can improve quality of life for older adults and those who care for them,” said Tabassum Majid, PhD, Executive Director, The Integrace Institute. “We hope our attendees will see how technology can help people access health care differently, which can be life changing, especially in rural communities such as Easton.”

Continuing education units (CEUs) will be available for social workers, long-term care administrators and activity professionals in attendance.

Registration for the inaugural Eastern Shore Research Forum is available for $65 and includes breakfast and lunch. Those who register before August 17, students, and groups of three or more are eligible to register for the discounted price of $55.

Registration is available online at integraceinstitute.org/eastern-shore-research-forum. Those seeking more information may contact Stephanie Carideo at the Integrace Institute at 410-552-3238.

About Integrace Bayleigh Chase

Located on a 35-acre campus in historic Easton, Bayleigh Chase is a not-for-profit life plan community that affords residents a lifestyle of flexibility and choice to live life on their own terms. Bayleigh Chase offers independent living options in its villas, cottages and apartment homes, as well as a continuum of supportive living services, including assisted living, neurocognitive support, outpatient and short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing and diagnostic and treatment support through the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic. For more information, please call 410-763-7167 or visit www.bayleighchase.org.

About the Integrace Institute
The Integrace Institute is the not-for-profit research and education arm of Integrace, whose mission is to transform neurocognitive living through person-centered research, education and partnerships. With over 20 years of expertise, the Integrace Institute serves Integrace’s communities by building an evidence-based platform for care practices and education. In addition, it partners with universities, technology and pharmaceutical companies, and other senior living organizations outside of Integrace to conduct community-based research studies, provide interactive learning experiences for professionals and caregivers, and consult with other organizations to build innovative models that support meaningful living. For more information, please visit www.integraceinstitute.org or call 410-970-2031.

About Integrace
Integrace is a forward-thinking non-profit organization that strives to ignite in all people the passion for meaningful living. Integrace oversees a family of vibrant senior living communities in Maryland, including Bayleigh Chase in Easton, Buckingham’s Choice in Adamstown, and Fairhaven in Sykesville. Integrace is also a nationally-recognized leader in the art of neurocognitive support, with the Sykesville-based Copper Ridge community and Integrace Institute, as well as two neurocognitive clinics in Easton and Sykesville, serving as catalysts to a profound shift in how we perceive, and relate to, those living with Alzheimer’s, dementia and many other forms of cognitive change. Integrace communities provide a continuum of services to support both residents and the greater community, including assisted living, skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation and more. Each of these innovative programs focuses on person-centered living, honoring the abilities, possibilities and authenticity of each individual. For more information, please visit Integrace.org.