Center comes to aid of teen parents


WHEN I FIRST heard about Raising Hopes Infant Center on Distillery Drive in Westminster, I thought, "The name says it all -- Raising Hopes."

Since 1995, Raising Hopes has been helping teen parents stay in school by providing child care, transportation and support groups for them to share the joys and hassles of being a parent.

Raising Hopes is helping eight young mothers finish school, including Colyn Brumfield, who is attending the Carroll County Career and Technology Center so she can become a nurse.

Brumfield, a 1998 graduate of Westminster High School, said she lost a lot of friends who didn't understand how much her life would change when she became pregnant in 11th grade.

"I couldn't go out late or do all the other things teens love to do," Brumfield said. "Raising Hopes became the place where I could relate to other people going through the same things, the same stress of parenting."

Brumfield's son, Ethan, whom she describes as a "very hyper almost 2-year-old who likes puzzles and playing outside," is at the center for about 24 hours a week while his mother is in school. Raising Hopes started with two infants and now has 11. The center is licensed for 12.

"Being a parent is difficult, and being a teen parent is doubly hard," said Laurie Jones, program coordinator. "In addition to offering child care and support services, Raising Hopes is just friendly place for teens to share the joys, hassles and adventures associated with teen parenting."

The Governor's Council on Adolescent Pregnancy, the Maryland Department of Human Resources, the United Way and the community support the infant center.

During its meeting this month at Western Maryland College, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) held a silent auction for Raising Hopes.

Members donated items from a bag of fresh green beans to bubble bath to raise about $175. The group hopes to raise more money to purchase a double stroller and a child's rocking chair for the center.

"This is one cause that speaks to AAUW because it fits our interest in continuing education for women and girls," said Nell Young, co-president of the club.

AAUW is a national organization that promotes equity for women, lifelong education and societal change. The local branch has 35 members and is seeking more. Women with college degrees are eligible.

Information about AAUW: 410-756-6402. Information about Raising Hopes Infant Center: 410-876-4849.

Overnight canoe trip

It's a cool night on the Potomac River, near the C & O Canal. A screech owl calls across the woods as canoers quietly paddle 12 canoes.

A father hums "Old Man River" until his daughter threatens to jump ship, or paddle on if he doesn't stop.

Family moments like this one, as well as nature's tranquillity, await participants in an overnight canoe trip organized by the Hashawha Environmental Center in Westminster.

At 10 a.m. Oct. 3, a caravan of canoes and campers will leave Bear Branch Nature Center for an overnight trip. After 2 1/2 hours of canoeing, participants will cook supper on an open fire and spend time hiking, fishing or relaxing.

They'll sleep in tents, enjoy breakfast, canoe for a few more hours and eat lunch at Whites Ferry.

"It's slow, easy, calm water. Lots of dads and daughters and dads and sons go on these trips," said Tina Shupp, outdoor recreation specialist. "We see some beautiful wildlife."

Participants must be 8 or older. Children 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. The fee ($70 for one paddler, $120 for two paddlers and $35 per child) includes transportation, canoes, tents, life jackets and related equipment, plus three meals, snacks and beverages.

"It's a lot of fun," said Mike Roland, treasurer of the Hashawha advisory council, who has taken several canoe trips with his daughter, Megan. "The river is peaceful and quiet, and the worst that can happen is you get a little wet."

Information: 410-848-9040.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 9/14/98

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