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Our View: Thumbs up to honoring all seniors; girls empowerment group; second chances

THUMBS UP: We are in favor of anything municipalities or organizations are able to do for graduating high school seniors, who are missing out on so much this spring. So, naturally, the Friday motorcade put together by the town of Mount Airy, featuring Mayor Patrick Rockinberg and other prominent town members from the town council, the Mount Airy police and fire departments riding all manner of vehicles, including emergency vehicles, giving grads special attention, gets a thumb-up from us. “Our seniors were missing out on their traditional graduation but we thought we could actually make it something even better than the traditional graduation; something unique that no other class had the opportunity to have," the mayor told us. But what set Mount Airy’s celebration apart is that other group of seniors the town honored. Senior citizens received motorcades on Tuesday and Thursday and as such a vulnerable and isolated group during this terrible coronavirus pandemic, no one is more deserving. “I’ve always felt very passionately about our senior citizens,” Rockinberg told us. “This is one of our many outreaches to help them feel connected, to help them feel loved. We did the sirens, the music, it was quite a spectacle ... If you could see the excitement on their faces as well as the excitement on our faces. It was wonderful.”

THUMBS UP: We believe most everyone is deserving of a second chance, a do-over, a mulligan, and we are happy that facilities such as Mulligan Sober Homes are around to give just that to those who have struggled with addiction. The brain child of Michael Griesser, whose story of redemption we brought you last November, and Brian McCall, who manages daily operations, Mulligan Sober Homes opened on Nov. 1, 2019 for men who are clean and sober and trying to stay that way. Many have been helped since, including the eight currently in residence. McCall told us: “We’re not just here to have a nice place to stay or have cheap rent or whatever — we’re here to get better.” Those who turn to Mulligan Sober Homes generally realize this is their last chance to get their lives back on track, often after years of substance abuse. The residents must pay rent; they have chores; they even have a curfew. They attend Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, in addition to house meetings. Residents can stay as long as they need to. McCall estimates they’ve had about 20 people come through since they opened. Two were asked to leave after relapsing, while others left when they were ready. McCall and Griesser hope to open a second recovery house. “Unfortunately there’s a huge need for this,” Griesser said. “We’re happy to meet it.”

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THUMBS UP: We have long been fans of the Girls on the Run program, which uses running as one tool to empower girls in third through eighth grade. Any other year, girls get together along with coaches after school to run, talk and bond. The coronavirus and subsequent restrictions designed to mitigate its spread forced the cancellation of the spring season, but the organization has taken steps to remain relevant, transitioning to digital. Jessamine Duvall, Girls on the Run of Central Maryland executive director, said they created a virtual 5K. “You decide where you want to run, and if you don’t want to run, you don’t have to, you can pick another goal,” Duvall told us. As part of its digital efforts, the organization has also developed Girls on the Run at Home, which provides registered families with on-demand video lessons twice weekly that girls can complete independently or with their families. Additionally, Girls on the Run of Central Maryland is presenting a “SHEro” series to celebrate local women making a difference within the communities of Carroll and Howard counties. The organization is compiling a series of articles to showcase local “SHEroes.” A recent article was penned by Kati Townsley, executive director of Carroll Technology and Innovation Council. Up next was Linda Mattes, a former coach with Girls on the Run and an emergency room nurse. We applaud the organization for continuing on and making a difference in girls’ lives during this crisis.

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