Business group helping students make the grade

WHEN THE baby boomers have all retired, the children now in elementary and middle school will be taking charge. The middle schooler you see zooming down the street on his scooter may become the senator who casts the deciding vote on issues such as preserving the Social Security system.

The North County Business Advisory Board - a volunteer organization of community residents, elected officials and area business people - is working to ensure that the youngsters become successful citizens, employees and leaders.


"We try to link together what the business person wants and what the children will need when they graduate to make them ready for the work force. We want to close that gap," said Kathy Souble, a board member who is legislative aide to County Councilwoman Pamela G. Beidle. "We take the time to talk with them, spend a little time with them and reach out to them."

Business advisory boards are active in other areas of the county, working with their local high schools. The North County board has the distinction of working not only with North County High, but with every feeder school in the North County system.


"We saw needs and wanted to address them," Souble said.

The "Just Lunch" program is an example of how the board reaches out to elementary schools. In that program, a member of the board becomes a "buddy" to a student, and meets him or her for lunch at the school once a month. They discuss topics suggested by the principal, based on the pupil's needs and interests.

"We just converse with them about a pre-chosen topic and let them know that someone is interested in their lives," Souble said.

At the high school level, there are mentoring programs, career fairs, mock interviews to help students prepare for their post-high school job search, programs to help them improve work habits and community beautification.

Beidle, a Linthicum Democrat who also is a member of the board, says, "As a member, I've seen many ways that business and the community can be involved in the schools. It is very rewarding to participate in helping our students."

The board is hoping to expand its membership. "We have an extensive list of members - elected officials, teachers, professional people. Anyone who is interested is welcome to get involved. Retirees would be great," Souble said.

Board meetings are held monthly at Brooklyn Park Middle School, 200 Hammonds Lane.

Souble invites anyone interested in joining to call her at 410-222- 6890, Ext. 116, or Joyce Coleman at North County High School, 410-222-6970, Ext. 124.


Celebrate black history

The History Committee of St. John United Methodist Church invites the public to its Black History Month celebration at 4 p.m. Feb. 11.

The theme of "Youth in Spirits - Living in Harmony" will be celebrated with performances by the Poly-Western High School Jazz Band, Bassey Production's Congo Drums, the Mighty Young Men and Brothers of Positive Thoughts, and the church's Praise and Worship Choir.

The church is at 6019 Belle Grove Road.

Information: 410-636-2578.