A NEW CHILDREN'S book is destined to bring more than "Hugs and Kisses" to Carroll County's young people.
The book, written by Westminster author Lois Szymanski, will benefit the Carroll County Children's Fund, a nonprofit group that helps families cover their children's medical expenses when other resources have been exhausted.
The fund - which gave away more than $50,000 last year - has also given money to organizations that provide services to young people, such as the drug education programs at Junction Inc.
"The fund is still functioning in the way it was originally planned to function," said Cindy Parr, the group's executive director. "But we've branched out into finding other ways to help the youth of Carroll County."
The sale of the book - which was illustrated by local artist Kathy Mulhearn and printed by Opera House Printing of Westminster - will replace the group's traditional fall fund-raiser, an annual dinner meeting and dance, Parr said.
"This should be heads and tails above," she said, adding the dance had become difficult to manage in recent years. "It was getting increasingly difficult to get people out to the annual dinner meeting and to find entertainment to draw them."
Like most of Szymanski's nine published books, "Hugs and Kisses" is a tale of horses and children. Based on a local incident, the story involves two foals born with little chance of survival. They are adopted by a veterinarian and nursed to health.
"Of course, in the story, the vet has children," said Szymanski. "And I did add some conflict and some things that didn't happen to the real horses."
Szymanski, who often works with children and young authors on writing, said she was thrilled her book could benefit such a good cause.
"I think this is one of the most worthwhile things I've done with my writing," she said, adding that she and Mulhearn have signed all rights to the limited-edition work over to the fund.
"This covers a broader scope," Szymanski said. "It's for all children, not just those that are interested in writing. It will help a lot of kids."
About 5,000 copies have been printed and are being sold for $10 each. They are available at Locust Books and Paradise Books in Westminster; Little Professor Book Center in Eldersburg; and at Carroll County Public Library branches. It can be ordered at any branch of BB&T; bank, and will be featured at the Random House Book Fair in November.
Five dollars of the price of the book is a tax-deductible donation to the fund.
Fighting domestic violence
Carroll County Domestic Violence Task Force is presenting an educational seminar from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. today at Westminster Church of God, 640 Lucabaugh Mill Road, Westminster.
The first half of the program will feature general information about domestic violence and suggest ways to protect oneself and help others. The second half will feature a panel discussion with representatives from the Carroll County state's attorney's office, the Carroll County sheriff's office, Family and Child Services and Maryland State Police.
Jump into fitness
The Women's Place at Carroll County General Hospital is sponsoring a Jump Start program at the YMCA of Central Maryland on Wednesday to help women begin exercising and get into shape.
Weekly classes begin at 6 p.m. and run through Nov. 15. Participants will be introduced to fitness activities that they can pursue at their own pace.
Cost is $40 per person and registration is required.
Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.