7:25 AM EDT, August 13, 2013
A 97-year-old Catonsville woman will be able to access her home more easily thanks to a team of volunteers from Arnolia United Methodist Church and the Baltimore County Christian Workcamp. Arnolia's team comprised Pastor Mary Ellen Glorioso; Amy Vickers, (youth leader); Allison Nelson, (youth member); Jarrett Rettman (youth member); Tim Hugus; and Mike Pfeifer. Team members built a ramp to the kitchen door of the home so the woman would be able to get in and out of her home. The team had the support of the congregation, which donated funds for the project and offered prayers.
Arnolia become involved because the pastor and youth leader wanted to encourage youth involvement in mission projects. It obviously was worthwhile. Jarrett said, "This was the first time in a long time that Arnolia has done a work camp like this, and we are definitely looking forward to making a tradition of it!" He added, "The project went very smoothly thanks to our leader on the project, Tim Hugus. With Tim leading the job, it was steady work — with steady laughs!"
The Baltimore County Christian Workcamp is a nonprofit founded in 1984 by two United Methodist ministers. Currently, it is ecumenical and run completely by volunteers. During the third week of July, volunteers make repairs to more than 40 homes; the exact number depends on the number of volunteer groups, the difficulty of the projects and the amount of funds available. Recipients are referred by the Department of Social Services, churches and food banks and the jobs are prioritized. The work camp takes on all kinds of repair and installation work including: ramps, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, roofing, interior and exterior painting, caulking, and inside and outside cleanup.
Volunteers contribute $25 to help with expenses and each participating group is asked to contribute at least $100. Volunteers for all the projects meet at a host church each morning for
breakfast and prayers; and then they report to their respective job sites. The day concludes with a group dinner and fellowship at a host church,
Arnolia received thanks for the work when the elderly resident saw the completed ramp and expressed her thanks. Youth leader Vickers summarized the project as "two days working with some pretty amazing people and gaining respect for myself and the five others from my church who gave time, labor, knowledge, care, compassion, humor, and genuinely wanting to make the world a little easier for a complete stranger. Let's do it again next year!"
Sailing is a fun way to spend a summer evening but it's not so easy for a child with disabilities. But it is easy for some kids thanks to the Downtown Sailing Center, the Lollipop Kids Foundation and dedicated volunteers. On various Monday evenings throughout the summer, the Lollipop Kids Foundation invites kids in their program to sail at the Downtown Sailing Center. Each kid, paired with a buddy or guardian sails away in a two-person dinghy sailboat. New people are given a quick lesson on working the sails and rudder and they spend the next 75 minutes sailing around the harbor.
The program is very disability friendly; there is a Hoyer lift down at the dock to lift nonambulatory kids into the sailboats. All the children are met with warm and friendly greetings. And for the novice sailors, there are a few motor boats circling the water with helpers aboard to lend a hand if necessary.
The Downtown Sailing Center also offers accessible sailing one or two Saturdays a month from April through August. Persons with disabilities may register on their website http://www.dowtownsailing.org.
The Lollipop Kids Foundation is a nonprofit group whose mission is to make it possible for kids with disabilities to do everything the average kid can do. On a series of nights through the summer, Lollipop clients meet at the Downtown Sailing Center for an evening of fun.
Lollipop Kids Foundation also provided free Oriole tickets to their clients. The foundation has an equipment loan closet and holds support-group meetings. Currently ,the foundation is located in Rockville but it serves all of Maryland. To learn more, go to the website lollipopkidsfoundation.org or call 202-640-2035.
The Lollipop Foundation will hold a fundraiser, Celebrate Hope Gala , on Sept. 20 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Argyle Country Club in Silver Spring. For tickets, contact Debbie Sahlin at 202-640-2035 or go to lkfcelebratehopegala.eventbrite.com.
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