Loch Raven: Calvert Hall, Vehicles for Change are driving forces for helping others

Christmas came a little early to a single mother with three children thanks to Vehicles for Change and Calvert Hall College High School. The woman, who was recently hired as a director of a Baltimore day care center was presented with a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix at a ceremony at the school on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

Calvert Hall began its partnership with Vehicles for Change in 2009 and since then has promoted the nonprofit in its publications. In exchange, the school receives 40 percent of the net proceeds from the sale of cars donated on the school's behalf.

Since 2009, Calvert Hall has received more than $8,000 through car donations and uses these funds for the Hall Fund, which is used for need-based financial aid, academics and student life, and the furthering of the school's Catholic mission and service.

"Calvert Hall has been an outstanding partner to VFC," said Martin Schwartz, president of Vehicles for Change. "Our partnership magnifies the impact of a car donation. Funds are raised for both organizations, and we are able to change the lives of even more families. It is a true win-win."

Since Vehicles for Change's formation in 1999, the nonprofit has awarded more than 4,000 cars to low income families throughout the Maryland, Washington and Virginia area. For more information, go to http://www.vehiclesforchange.org or call 410-242-9674 .

Congratulations to several Calvert Hall College High School students for their newsworthy accomplishments.

Senior J.C. Lazzaro was selected to represent Maryland as a member of the viola section in the 2013 National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Orchestra and freshman Nicholas Peltz was chosen to represent Calvert Hall as part of the violin section for the 2013 Maryland All-State Junior Orchestra.

Seniors Brendan McCoy, Matthew McCoy and Andrew Witczak; junior Todd Fleming and sophomores Collin Power and (alternate) Chris Swartz were selected to the Maryland All-State Senior Chorus.

Finally, freshmen Kevin Costello, Palmer Foran and Kirby Smith were selected to the Maryland All-State Junior Chorus and classmates Nicholas Cipollone, Michael Ehart and Cooper Greenman were named as alternates. Only 160 of the 900 students who auditioned were selected.

First- and third-graders at Pleasant Plains Elementary school put their artistic talent to work and created magnets, pins and ornaments using shell-like materials. Their creations were showcased and sold during the school's annual winter concert in December.

The students' sales totaled $100, which was donated to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and was part of the national project called Shells for NJ Shores designed to help teachers, students and artist raise money for the rebuilding of New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. Art teacher Ann Valuntis coordinated the project at Pleasant Plains.

Youth at Hiss United Methodist Church braved the cold drizzle to portray the story of the birth of Christ for passersby on Harford Road on Sunday, Dec. 16. The portrayal is done annually by the church's youth group, Label (Love and be Loved), but this year they had a new stable built by the youth group leaders and a brighter star.

Mary and Joseph arrived with their live donkey to a stable housing a live calf and the shepherds had live sheep and goats in their flocks in the field. The animals were provided by ROHA Farms. After the portrayal, guests enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies and sang Christmas carols.

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