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Madelyn "Maddie" Zimmerman of AnnapolisVolunteer work: Across...


Madelyn "Maddie" Zimmerman of Annapolis

Volunteer work: Across the county and across the state, weekly meetings of Parents Anonymous (PA) take place in an effort to break what Maddie Zimmerman calls "the cycle of abuse."

Ms. Zimmerman, a Parents Anonymous volunteer for the past five years, heads a PA group in Glen Burnie that works on techniques to deal with life's stresses and with ways to redirect parents' anger from their children.

Ms. Zimmerman says it is often a parent who was abused as a child who turns into an abuser.

As a trained volunteer facilitator for PA, Ms. Zimmerman considers herself an advocate for youngsters. "Children are people with feelings that should be respected. It really is my belief that nothing is going to change in this world unless we start respecting children."

Ms. Zimmerman invites parents of any age -- single, divorced or married -- to come to PA to "learn how to step away from situations that make them angry enough to strike a child."

In addition to leading the Glen Burnie group, Ms. Zimmerman also helps train others to become PA group leaders.

Ms. Zimmerman is among some 400 other PA volunteers throughout the state. To become a volunteer or for more information on Parents Anonymous meetings and services, call the 24-hour Parent StressLine at (410) 243-7337. Collect calls are accepted.

Volunteer's comment: "In reality, gone are the days when you can lean over the back fence and ask questions of your neighbors. Parents need someplace to come and talk -- someplace where they won't be criticized, and where they won't be judged."

Organization's comment: "Maddie Zimmerman is a strong believer in children's rights. Her commitment to children is so intense that she is willing to expend considerable time and effort to ensure that mothers and fathers who attend Parents Anonymous are equipped with good child-rearing skills. There have been many successes for people in Maddie's groups. That's where she finds her satisfaction, from seeing people increase their parenting skills," a PA representative said.

To recommend someone to be in the "Volunteer Spotlight" call the Anne Arundel Bureau, 315-8911 or 1-800-829-8000, Ext. 8911, any time or fax nominations to 315-8916 or mail them to: The Sun For Anne Arundel, 8131 Ritchie Highway, Pasadena 21122.

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