Each year, The Arc of Howard County recognizes individuals and groups who put its mission statement into practice, which is: "Achieving full community life for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities — one person at a time."

Among The Arc's 2013 annual awards, recognition for Excellence in Schools has been awarded to Howard High School. This award is presented to a school for successful inclusion of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities into the regular activities of the school.

According to The Arc of Howard County's website, the following faculty and staff members of Howard High School have been recognized: Michael Cohee, Laura Parsons, Sara Few, Matthew Hanson, Dave Dittman, Brian Boussy, Erin McArdle, Erin Kirkpatrick, Cristina Deforge, Brian Murphy, Cynthia Bianca, Ellen McNulty, Gina Massella, Janice Bornstein, Kedré Fairley, Brad Dyer, Michael Duffy, Elaine Walker, Jeffrey Hensley, Elizabeth Augustin, Christina Piekarski, Michael Kellaher, Deborah Bates, Mike Williams and Andre Lingham.

As the site explains, "this remarkable team, together with family and friends, is supporting full inclusion of a 17-year old student, who is never in a segregated setting. His support team ensures that his inclusion is not only academic but also social, and his independence is promoted inside and outside of school."

Howard County Councilmember and District 2 representative Calvin Ball recently contact me with details on some great community-focused events.

"I had the pleasure to host my third annual Hope for Homeless 5k on Saturday, May 4th at Rockburn Park. We had over 130 registrants and have unofficially raised over $2500 for the Route Day Resource Center, as well as collected food and clothes the day of our event for those in need."

He also extends an invitation to the community to his fifth annual Men's Health and FitnessFest, Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Howard High School, 8700 Old Annapolis Road, Ellicott City. The event will feature free health screenings on blood pressure, body mass index, kidneys, dental, spinal and more; the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity will be on site for a community blood drive.

You can schedule your life-saving donation by calling 1-800-REDCROSS or visit http://www.redcrossblood.org (use sponsor code No. 05311170). As the FitnesssFest will offer plenty of fitness demos and opportunities to train and engage with fitness experts, attendees are encouraged to come dressed to participate. Come out and enjoy live music, free healthy food samples, giveaways and the chance to speak with various health experts. This event is focused on men's health issues, but women and children are encouraged to come out and join the fun, too!

The Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department's Junior Firefighters will sponsor its A Night In The Country youth dance for ages 9-15, Saturday, June 1, 7-10 p.m., at the fire hall, 6275 Old Washington Road. Wear your cowboy boots and/or camouflage. Tickets are available at the door for $10 per person with a maximum of 200 tickets sold. Food and beverages, which include pizza, corn dogs, pretzels, nachos, candy, water and sodas, will also be for sale at the dance.

The department does have a "no exceptions" policy on appropriate behavior and dress code for its youth dances, and also enforces a strict adult sign-in/sign-out procedure for attendance. For more information on the dance, call 410-761-6633 (and select option 5), or go to http://www.ElkridgeVFD.org

If you've got news or upcoming events, kudos, and any other notables to share, I'd love to hear about it.