As we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, many people took the initiative to join in a volunteer day in remembrance.

Volunteering provides much-needed resources during financially strapped times for many organizations. Let's make a challenge to volunteer at least one hour every month somewhere.

It may not seem like a lot to you, but those 12 hours over a year add up, as more and more people take your lead and step up. Schools, churches, community centers, recreation councils, soup kitchens, homeless shelters don't even begin to touch on the number of organizations looking for people to step forward and lend a hand, one hour at a time. If you volunteered last Monday, send me an email at dpws@aol.com letting me know where you volunteered and how you think it made a difference.

Our schools continue to make us proud as they each provide wonderful opportunities for our students.


"Like" Laurel Leader's Facebook page

Meade Middle School received recognition from Anne Arundel County schools Superintendent Kevin Maxwell as one of three schools honored with the county's first Wellness Schools of Distinction Award. Meade earned the award by rigorously promoting initiatives related to health education, physical activity, allied health personnel partnerships, nutrition, mental wellness, school environment, staff health and family/community involvement, not just in the classrooms but through after-school activities and outreach programs. Congratulations to the staff and administration of Meade Middle for going above and beyond for our students.

In order to provide additional opportunities and activities for our students, PTSAs usually step forward to help fund new initiatives.

All of our area elementary and middle schools collect BoxTops for Education as a way to meet these costs. As you open your next grocery item, check for a small rectangle that says BoxTops with an expiration date. Take the two seconds to rip it off and place it in a Ziplock bag on your refrigerator. After a couple of weeks you will notice they begin to grow and, suddenly, those tiny pieces of cardboard will add up to a couple of dollars for a school rather than taking up space in a landfill. Just drop them at the school of your choice and help our students have more opportunities.

Are you hungry for some pizza and a place for the kids to play? Join the Maryland City Elementary PTA for a Spirit Night, tonight, Jan. 19 from 3-9 p.m. at Chuck E. Cheese in the Laurel Shopping Center. By mentioning Maryland City Elementary, a portion of all sales come back to the school. Remember to purchase your game tokens at the register as well, so the school gets credit for those purchases too.

Also, Meade Middle School PTSA is sponsoring a family night at the Arundel Mills Chick-fil-A from 5-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Just mention Meade Middle and a portion of your purchase will be donated to the school. The Meade Middle students also plan a Dave & Buster's Night in February and will sell game cards in advance for use at the February Spirit Night or any other time. So, if you enjoy Dave & Buster's, let your favorite Meade Middle student know that you want to buy a game card.

Finally, the Mustang Soccer teams will hold their banquets on Sunday, Jan. 29 at the Maryland City Volunteer Fire Department on Route 198. Coaches should be in touch with teams to let them know the correct time and items to bring for the potluck lunch or dinner. Players are asked to wear their team jersey for the banquet. Registration for the spring soccer season will also take place. For more information, call my husband, John Venit, at 301-725-7711.

Enjoy your winter fun and please keep me posted about special community events and our extraordinary neighbors. All information can be emailed to me at dpws@aol.com. As always, thanks for your eyes and ears in the community.