THE CARROLL County sheriff's office and the Carroll County Career and Technology Center have started an unusual venture that benefits both parties as well as the community.
Since the beginning of the school year, students in Cathy Spencer's fashion design class have been replacing the patches on the deputies' uniforms.
The Singer sewing machines have been humming at least four hours a day, three days a week so the 250 uniforms will be ready for fall.
The joint venture is saving taxpayers 60 percent of the cost that a private vendor would charge for similar work. Even more important, the students get a kick out of making a noticeable difference in the community.
"Sometimes the girls recognize the names on the uniforms, and that's fun," said Spencer. "They're getting paid for the job, but they also like knowing that someone in the community will be wearing something they did."
Spencer estimates that the class is getting paid approximately 75 cents per shirt. As the bags of shirts continued to roll in last week, students dreamed about what to do with the money.
Should they contribute to the annual field trip fund?
In the past, classes have journeyed to New York for a fashion show or a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Should they upgrade the sewing machines? The computerized machines are a lot more efficient and with only a few available in class, the wait for a machine is long.
"I've been over to the school and those students are so meticulous," said Chief Deputy Robert L. Keefer.
"We are always looking for ways to involve the community, and this project really connects us with the students. It's a win-win arrangement," he said.
Carroll County Career and Technology Center is no stranger to community service projects. Word is out that these students can crank out large-scale projects on tight deadlines with ease.
Students have sewn treasure bags for Theatre on the Hill's benefit performance of "Peter Pan," bunny bags for Shepherd's Staff and Care Bears for the local police department.
This arrangement with the sheriff's office grew out of a conversation between Keefer and Spencer. They're neighbors, and one day Keefer told Spencer about his day at work getting bids from private vendors for a sewing project.
"Do you think " he started to ask -- and without hesitation she answered his question -- "that the fashion design class could help out? Absolutely."
They all hope this project is the first of many more to come.
Newspapers in Education
Win gift certificates, artwork, a Harbor Cruise, symphony tickets and much more at the annual Newspapers in Education Auction on Nov. 4.
Proceeds support the Newspapers in Education program at all county schools.
Doors open at 5 p.m., and the auction begins at 6 p.m. at O'Farrells Auction Barn, 435 Sullivan Road in Westminster. Information: 410-875-5400.
"Vehicles for Change"
The Department of Social Services has contracted with Vehicles for Change to accept donated cars, refurbish them and then provide them to needy families.
If you would like to donate a car or if you own a garage where you'd be willing to allow the group to repair a car, call 1-800-835-3821.
Lisa Breslin's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.
Pub Date: 10/04/99