Elkridge resident Rita Chelton, would like to invite you on a virtual walk across Maryland! Members of Grace Episcopal Church in Elkridge have strapped on pedometers and started counting their steps as of Sunday, June 3rd as part of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland's "Walk Across the Diocese" focused on promoting unity, health and wellness. The effort, led by The Rev. Canon Scott Slater from the Baltimore-based diocese, invites everyone and anyone to walk a portion, or all, of the 320-mile route throughout the summer months.

"The activity is designed to be a fun raiser," says chair Charlotte Aldridge. Some members of Grace Church may take the journey through Maryland from Oakland to Solomon's Island with Rev. Slater, but most will participate virtually as part of "Get a Move On With Grace." Over 50 parishioners have pledged to wear pedometers on a daily basis in an effort to count their footsteps. Total accrued miles will be combined, and, when the church members gather at their annual picnic on Sept. 30th at Patapsco State Park, they'll learn just how far they collectively walked.

"Our diocese is doing a great thing by leading an effort that we can easily take part of to grow healthier as individuals and as part of a spiritual family." says Grace's rector, the Rev. Taylor M. Smith. We can inspire each other and have fun in the process." To learn more about the schedule of activities and to follow the group's progress, visit the parish website at http://www.GraceElkridge.org

H.O.P.E. for All will host their big, monthly yard sale on Saturday, June 9, 8 a.m. – 12 noon, 323 Roesler Rd., Glen Burnie, in the Azar Complex directly behind Bowl America. Because it is held indoors, this fundraiser will be held rain or shine. According to Leo Zerhusen, H.O.P.E. founder, "There are some great finds at good prices. No junk or messy items; and we have pretty much anything and everything from A to Z." Also, if the weather cooperates, the sale offers some larger items for sale, usually on display outside. If interested in volunteering on behalf of H.O.P.E., this grassroots effort would greatly appreciate your assistance. Folks are needed at the storage warehouse every Tues., Wed., and Thur. from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. where most of the clothes sorting takes place; and help with picking up donations is also needed. Call 410-859-1297 or 410-766-0372 for more details.


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Pimentel, Dominican Republic, is 3.5 hours North of Santo Domingo and has a population of 10,000, according to the 2002 census records, all within 48 square miles. The needs in Pimentel are both great and extensive. The World Bank stated on its website that the GDP for 2008 was $2,800 per person annually, compared with $47,000 in the US. While there is much poverty, there is also great joy. Pastor Radhames Quezada, the local pastor of MIVA in Pimentel started a dream 15 years ago. Pastor Quezada started a school to educate the children of Pimentel, which, along with the normal curriculum, offers two free meals and sports opportunities. He has launched and/or sponsored many local businesses, including a cheese factory and a T-shirt business, all in an effort to raise his people out of poverty. But that is information you can find online.

What you cannot find online — at least not yet — is the story of how two local Maryland churches want to help this tiny Dominican Republic town. According to Pastor John Mackall of CrossLife Community Church. in Elkridge, Crosslife and Matt's House Church, in Arbutus, are what I would call, "partners in time." They are joining forces to reach out and help this group of people who are simply not on anyone else's radar, for both of these congregations share a vision and a passion for helping others globally, as well as locally.

So, as Crosslife and Matt's House prepare to help Pastor Quezada in his mission to provide his town hope and dignity, you can help their initiative without leaving Elkridge. The churches are sponsoring a coffeehouse fundraiser that will help send as many people to Pimentel as possible to help build and repair homes, businesses, hearts and lives. The Coffee House will be held at the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department Hall, 6275 Old Washington RD, Elkridge, 21075 on Saturday, June 16 from 7 -10 p.m. Advance tickets will be available for a suggested donation of $15, at the door $17, and children 10 and under are free. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. If you do not have an advance ticket, seating will be on a first come, first serve basis. There will be three live bands performing and coffee and baked goods for purchase, as well. So, bring a few friends, and come out for a fun, family friendly evening. You'll enjoy great music, delicious desserts, and help make a dream of dignity a hopeful reality.

Don't miss WOMENFEST, presented by the Howard County Office on Aging, on Saturday, June 16, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center at Glenwood, 2400 Route 97, Cooksville, MD 21723. This annual event is an interactive day focusing on health, wellness, fashion, and beauty, and is designed to inspire women to live more balanced, healthy, and fulfilled lives. In addition to a wide array of dynamic vendors and exhibitors, WOMENFEST includes relevant and engaging seminars and important, free health screenings, and will also feature a free blues/jazz concert by Howard County's own Deanna Bogart. Admission is free; lunch is available for purchase; and don't forget to bring a lawn chair for the concert. For more information, go to http://www.howardcountyaging.org/womenfest or call 410-313-5440.

There's still time to get your golf on! The Elkridge Hurricanes will host their annual golf tournament on Monday, June 18 at Hobbits Glen Golf Course, in Columbia. Registration begins at 10 a.m. with an 11 a.m. shotgun start. The cost to participate is $125 per person or $450 per foursome. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. Please sign up as soon as possible at http://www.elkridgehurricanes.com. According to Bill Leishear, event coordinator, "Supporting Hurricanes Football is a great reason to play hooky from work and have fun with your friends. But, it's also a great way to entertain clients. " For more information, contact Leishear at bleishear@printingimages.com.

The Howard High School Class of '72 is having its 40th reunion. According to event coordinator Judy Shehan Wheeler, the reunion will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13 7 p.m. –midnight at Jilly's Bar and Grill, 10030 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, 21042. This party will cost $12 per person (with a cash bar on site); and an RSVP is helpful, so it's only $10 per person if you register ahead of time. Make checks payable to Howard High Class of '72 and mail your RSVP to Judy Shehan Wheeler, 6288 Montgomery Road, Elkridge 21075. Take note all you former Lions: Saturday, October 13th is Howard's Homecoming Game. So, make a day of it by roaring for the home team on the gridiron and then joining the gang for a fun evening catching up with old friends and perhaps make a few new ones! If you can't be there, please send regrets via email to howardclassof72@gmail.com to help Judy build a solid contact database for future events. If you're in still in touch with others from the class that are out of the area, be sure to share the invitation about the reunion.

Well, even if the words are reminiscent of the Alice Cooper lyrics, it's that time of year and "school's out for summer!!!" Please remember to be extra careful of kids everywhere, whether on foot, bikes, or boards. You can never be too safe or too careful, and our children are our most precious resource. Also, remind young people of all ages that it's always the right thing to do when to report odd behaviors, suspicious activity or strangers that suddenly start hanging around the neighborhood.

That's all for this week, but keep those emails coming and let me know what's going on in your backyard! Until next time, please pay it forward and practice random acts of kindness. Thanks and have a stellar week!