Marriottsville: Spend a night with your sweetheart at Bon Secours' Valentine's Day dinner

February. What more need I say? Punxsutawney Phil will let us know today how much longer until spring, but if the winter drearies have got you down and you just can't watch another minute of Bill Murray repeating his "Groundhog Day," then start thinking ahead to Valentine's Day.

Bon Secours Spiritual Center will host a Valentine's Day dinner Saturday, Feb. 11, at a cost of $75 per couple. The evening will begin with mass at 5 p.m., followed by a wine and cheese reception, dinner, and a special program in which marriage educator Bill Coffin will teach partners how to demonstrate a better understanding of one another.

Bon Secours will also offer two other special programs at the end of the month. On Feb. 25, Mary Jo Johnson will lead "What Is this Thing Called Prayer?" from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The retreat will help participants explore different types of prayers, how to pray, what to do if one encounters difficulty in prayer, and how to get help with personal prayer. The cost is $55.

Sister Maureen Conroy will then teach about "Dreams: A Way to Understand Ourselves and Experience God" Feb. 29 from 7-9:30 p.m. The program costs $25, and topics will cover everything from a definition of dreams and "dreamwork" to common dream motifs and specific ways to pray with dreams.

Bon Secours will also offer its monthly community program, "Keep the Spirit Up: A Day for Job Seekers and Career Changers," Feb. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Grace Garrett, of Appreciative Café Coaching and Consulting, will lead a morning session of guided reflection followed by a time for relaxation on the Bon Secours campus. After a noon lunch, participants can attend workshops on personal and job management skills. Bon Secours will collect a freewill donation (suggested amount: $15).

To register for any of the events at Bon Secours, call 410-442-1320, or go to The address is 1525 Marriottsville Road, in Marriottsville.

The Howard County Conservancy continues to offer its free Wonder Talk series on the second Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. This month, on Feb. 11, Dr. Barbara Schmeckpeper, a Howard County Master Gardener, will present the delightfully-named "Squirmy Wormy Worms that Work: Kitchen Garbage to Top Soil." Kids of all ages can learn about the amazing abilities of worms and how they turn waste into rich earth. Participants can also pet worms and look for worm cocoons (eggs) during "worm exploration" time.

After the presentation, Schmeckpeper will conduct a workshop on how to create a successful worm bin and, for up to four families, will even stock the new bins with Red Wigglers, a great worm for composting. Those interested in making a worm bin should email for a list of materials.

The Conservancy will also host Cockeysville author Twig George, daughter of Newbery Medal-winning author Jean Craighead George, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. Come listen to her anecdotes about "Growing Up Wild with 173 Meadow and Woodland 'Pets.' " George will describe a house full of critters that filled her with an appreciation of wildlife and provided fodder for her mother's books. She will also relate some of the stories behind her own books and take audience questions.

The program costs $10 per family prior to Feb. 23 or $12 after that date. To register, call 410-465-8877, or go to The Conservancy's address is 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), in Woodstock.

This winter, the Columbia-based Association of Community Services would like to invite members and nonmembers alike to participate in a three-part series on fundraising. The lectures will begin Feb. 16 as Debbie Daskaloff, development officer for the Columbia Foundation, presents "Fundraising Essentials." Participants will learn how to identify potential donors, utilize the elements of "no-ask" fundraising, and ensure that their organization's fundraising plan fits its mission and resources.

On March 1, Beth Harbinson, director of Institutional Advancement at Barrie School, in Silver Spring, will talk about the art of turning new donors into ongoing supporters. "After the Check Clears" will teach participants how to motivate donors and pinpoint fundraising efforts that provide the best return for the organization.

Finally, on March 15, participants can learn about "Planning for the Changing Face of Philanthropy." Jocelyn Harmon, vice president of sales and marketing for the Bethesda-based Network for Good, will help participants discover how giving varies within different demographic groups and develop a fundraising strategy designed to appeal to a wide range of donors.

The lectures will take place from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the ACS offices at 10480 Little Patuxent Pkwy, ninth floor. Individual sessions cost $40 each for ACS members or $60 for nonmembers, and the complete series costs $105 for members or $165 for nonmembers. Register online at, or email or call 410-715-9545 for more information.

Looking for something to do this weekend? Come on out to Marriotts Ridge High School Friday, Feb. 3 for a "PINK" in the Paint girls' basketball game fundraiser. All ticket sales and fundraising activities during the event will support the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The Lady Mustangs will sport pink uniforms during their game against Atholton High School and encourage everyone in attendance to wear pink, as well. The junior varsity team plays at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity at 7 p.m. For more information, email coach Kristen Reier at

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