syndrome can be a game of odds. Statistics show that women who become
pregnant after the age of 35 find themselves facing an increased risk of
having a baby born with this genetic malformation. Of course, no one
ever expects that it will happen to them, before or after the bench mark
age, but when it does it can be devastating to parents who are thrust
into a world that is foreign to them. Frightened and unsure of what the
future holds for their newborn child, such parents search for answers.
In Southern Maryland they can find them at Angels Forever Up!
Angels Forever Up! is a Southern Maryland-based organization who's
mission is to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families
through education and awareness. The organization began as the
collective brainpower of a group of parents of children with Down
syndrome who were attending support group meetings in La Plata. The
group, interested in starting a buddy walk, realized that they needed to
apply for non-profit status in order to be able to raise funds for the
event. In the fall of 2005 the group became official when it received
its non-profit status. The organization is affiliated with the National
Down Syndrome Society. According to Colleen Morrill, one of the early
founders of the group, "Our funds come from local companies and others
who make private donations. The community has been wonderful in
supporting our mission."
This past October, Angels Forever Up! held its second Buddy Walk. A
tremendous success, the proceeds from the event will be used to provide
further information throughout the community, especially to those
touched by Down syndrome, and to educate folks in general about it. "The
more awareness there is, the better chances our children have of leading
the most normal lives possible," Morrill said.
Extremely important, when new parents confronted with the news of a
child born with Down syndrome are still in the hospital, literature
packets are provided by Angels Forever Up!, so that from the very
beginning these parents know that they are not alone. The group meets
weekly at the Charlotte Hall library and is open for anyone who is
interested in attending.
Angels Forever Up! is only one of many non-profit agencies that serves
the Southern Maryland region. From non-profits that help find homes for
lost animals, to organizations that deal specifically with issues
concerning the youth of the region, where there is a need, there is
generally a non-profit organization that was organized at some point to
address it. This means, that when people find themselves in various
situations such as experiencing domestic abuse, facing homelessness, or
simply wanting to find out what help is available to minorities wanting
to start a new business, the help is there.
Non-profit organizations are formed world-wide, primarily for the
purpose of supporting an issue or a matter that is of private interest
or public concern, without concern for monetary profit. Locally, there
are many non-profit agencies, and, as with Angels Forever Up!, some are
tied into national and international agencies such as the American
Cancer Society or the American Red Cross. Others address local interests
only and derive their support mainly from the communities they serve. No
matter their origin, these agencies are providing invaluable services in
Many Southern Maryland organizations doing great work.
For the many residents who struggle with literacy, the Literacy Council
in all three counties supports and advocates for literacy by providing
free literacy tutoring to adult county residents. The mission of the
Charles County Literacy Council is to "provide free community-based
one-on-one adult literacy tutoring to ensure that all adults have the
access to quality education needed to fully realize their potential as
individuals, parents, and citizens." In Calvert County, 100 adults are
tutored annually. It is estimated that in St. Mary's County 15 percent
of the population struggle with illiteracy. As with the other Southern
Maryland counties, its Literacy Council stands by to help.
Finding quality childcare can be challenging and for some even scary.
Serving all three counties is the Southern Maryland Child Care Resource
Center. This organization "works with parents, child care providers,
businesses, and community organizations to help promote the availability
of quality child care in Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's Counties." Not
only does the organization work hard to help match parents seeking child
care in the region with a licensed provider, it also provides numerous
low-cost training workshops for providers and assists with curriculum
development. It is an invaluable resource for those needing to find a
safe nurturing environment for their child in order to have peace of
mind while at work.
The Center for Children served more than 30,000 people in the Southern
Maryland region since its inception in 1989. Dedicated to the mission of
believing "that every child in need should have the opportunity to
receive quality mental health care," the agency is "dedicated to the
prevention and treatment of child abuse and the promotion of positive
mental health through crisis intervention, therapy, education, and
advocacy." With offices in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties the
agency provides services such as individual, group, play and family
therapy, assessment and evaluation of children, psychological and
psychiatric testing, mentoring and more. The Center for Children is
currently the largest provider of children's mental health services in
Southern Maryland, employing the only child psychiatrist available to
people who are in the public mental health system. The center also
provides the only primary child abuse prevention program in the region
targeted specifically at high-risk, first-time parents.
Serving the interests of humans isn't the only mission of local
non-profits. Several agencies in all three counties work tirelessly to
ensure that our four-legged friends are taken care of as well. Around
the clock emergency rescue service is provided in each county by the
humane society. Through the services of the Charles, Calvert and St.
Mary's County humane societies, injured animals can be rehabilitated and
receive necessary veterinary care. The societies also help find homes
for dogs and cats alike, by sponsoring pet adoption programs at local
pet stores. Rabies clinics are provided for dogs and cats so that they
are protected from the threat from a rabid animal.
If you'd like to contribute financially or otherwise to a local
non-profit organization, check out the list below as a starting point.
While this is far from a complete list, it should give you an idea of
the depth and breadth of our non-profit community organizations.
Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee, Inc.
http://www.smtccac.org/ , P.O. Box 280, Hughesville, MD 20650,
A private non-profit organization committed to combating poverty in
Southern Maryland. Provides a variety of self-sufficiency services to
the residents of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties.
Animal Relief Fund
P.O. Box 184, Hollywood, MD 20636, 301-866-0305
ARF is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping animals; pet
Calvert Animal Welfare League, Inc.
http://www.cawl.us/ , P.O. Box 1660, Prince Frederick,
MD 20678, 410-535-9300
The welfare league is working to build and operate a private, nonprofit,
state-of-the-art animal shelter to serve the pets and people of the
region. The league also promotes adoption of unwanted, homeless dogs and
cats and offers educational pet care programs to children. A spay and
neuter program gives financial assistance to lower income families.
Calvert County Humane Society
2210 Dalrymple Rd., Sunderland, Maryland 20689
Charles County Humane Society
Industrial Park Drive, Waldorf
301-645-8181 after 11 a.m. (after 1 p.m. on Thursdays).
Charles County Pets-On-Wheels
http://www.ccpetsonwheels.com/ , 301-392-0155
This nonprofit, all volunteer organization provides 'Pet Therapy'
visitation to nursing homes, adult day care centers, Charlotte Hall
Veteran's Home and others.
Southern Maryland Child Care Resource Center
http://www.smccrc.org/ , 29958 Killpeck Creek Ct., Charlotte Hall, MD
20622, 866-290-0045, 301-290-0045
This agency provides free referral services for parents seeking
childcare; and training, technical assistance, and behavioral services
to childcare providers.
Southern Maryland Parents of Multiples
P.O. Box 1224, Mechanicsville, MD 20659
This non-profit organization serves as a support group to expectant
parents, parents, grandparents and legal guardians of multiple birth
children in St. Mary's and Calvert counties.
Children and Families
Alternatives for Youth and Families
http://www.alternatives4youth.org/ , P.O. Box 659, Charlotte Hall, Md
20622, 301-884-0312 ext 122
Community-based care options for emotionally troubled youth, ranging
from family counseling and in-home services to crisis shelters, foster
care, and residential treatment.
Angels Forever Up!
http://www.Angelsforeverup.org/ , P.O. Box 868, Waldorf, Md. 20604
Dedicated to helping families of children with Down syndrome.
The Center for Children
http://www.center-for-children.org/ , 301-609-9887
The Center for Children is dedicated to helping children and families
build better lives, recover from the pain and fear of abuse, and deal
with the effects of mental illness. We welcome the opportunity to answer
questions, and offer guidance to people in need of our programs and
services. Offices in La Plata and Leonardtown, Maryland serve more than
3500 people annually from across Southern Maryland
Charles County Children's Aid Society, Inc.
http://childrensaidsociety.tripod.com/ , 3000 Huntington Circle, Waldorf,
MD 20602, 301-645-1561, 301-843-0352
This agency provides emergency assistance to families with children
residing in Charles County. Assistance can take the form of help with
rent/mortgage, utilities, clothing, baby items, prescriptions and food.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
P.O. Box 2205, Leonardtown, MD 20650
301-475-6667 (St. Mary's), 301-609-9887 (Charles)
The CASA program is a non-profit organization advocating for abused and
Southern Maryland Center for Family Advocacy
23918 Mervell Dean Rd., P.O. Box 760, Hollywood, MD 20636, 301-373-4141
This not-for-profit organization provides free or low cost assistance to
families for legal assistance with protective orders and family law in
St. Mary's and Calvert counties.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maryland
http://www.bgcsm.net/ , 12865 H.G. Trueman Rd.,
Suite 2B, Lusby, MD 20657
410-326-2200, FAX: 410-326-9370
The club provides a safe place for youth to build their strengths and
use them as a foundation for their future.
http://www.calvertkids.net/ , P.O. Box 138, St. Leonard, MD 20685,
This group is a catalyst, advocacy and networking organization focusing
on increasing volunteer and financial resources dedicated to programs
for children and youth, and on building community awareness of youth
Literacy Councils provides free literacy tutoring to adult residents.
Calvert County Literacy Council, Inc.
P.O. Box 2508, Prince Frederick, MD 20678
Charles County Literacy Council, Inc.
3795 Leonardtown Rd., Waldorf, MD 20601
Literacy Council of St. Mary's
22835 Washington St., P.O. Box 340, Leonardtown, MD 20650, 301-475-9865
SoMD CAN/College Access Network
http://www.somdcan.org/, P.O.Box 114, Sunderland, MD 20689, 410-474-4144;
skwfinaid (at) comcast.net
Serving first generation, low income, and/or minority students (with a
GPA of 2.5 or better) and helping their families navigate the process of
college selection, college admissions application and plans to finance a
American Chestnut Land Trust
http://acltweb.org/, 2420 Aspen Rd., P.O. Box 2363, Prince Frederick, MD
This group works to preserve farmland, woodlands and wetlands in Calvert
Battle Creek Nature Education Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 122, Port Republic, MD 20676, 410-535-5327
This organization provides supplemental financial support for the
educational programs of Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary, Flag Ponds
Nature Park and Kings Landing in partnership with the Calvert County
Natural Resources Division.
Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust
P.O. Box 1955, Leonardtown, MD 20650-1955
This organization is dedicated to the preservation of agricultural,
forested and open space land in the Southern Maryland region.
Potomac River Association, Inc.
http://www.p-r-a.org/, P.O. Box 76, Valley Lee, MD 20692
301-475-8366, 301-862-3517, FAX: 301-862-2306
PRA is a tax-exempt non-profit environmental, educational, civic and
Health and Welfare
American Red Cross, Southern Maryland Chapter
9255 W & W Industrial Rd., La Plata, MD 20646
301-934-2066, 1-888-276-2767, FAX: 301-753-4042
American Red Cross services include blood collection, support to
veterans and military families and disaster service. Community classes
include water safety, first aid, CPR and HIV/AIDS education.
Brem Foundation to Defeat Breast Cancer
www.bremfoundation.org/ , P.O. Box 1891, Prince Frederick, MD 20678-
working to raise money for new technologies and equipment needed to
diagnose breast cancer earlier and save lives.
Habitat for Humanity
This group is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity
International, ecumenical Christian housing organization that builds and
renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need,
regardless of their ethnic or religious background.
Charles County Habitat for Humanity
P.O. Box 2734, La Plata, MD 20646 , 301-392-0770
Calvert and St. Mary's-Patuxent Habitat for Humanity
http://patuxenthabitat.org/, P.O. Box 1093, Solomons, MD 20688,
Health Share of St. Mary's
Box 1208, Leonardtown, MD 20650, 301-475-4784
Health Share identifies low-income individuals and families who cannot
afford medical care and provides health care at a very minimal cost to
those who are eligible.
Building homes for the less fortunate.
So. MD Applied Research & Technology Consortium, Inc. (SMARTCO)
http://www.smartco.org/, 21703-E Great Mills Rd.,
Great Mills, MD 20653, 301-737-0394
SMARTCO is a total volunteer non-profit organization helping citizens
cross the digital divide. They refurbish surplus computers and make them
available to schools and non-profit organizations.
The United Way organizations of each county, provides support for an
extensive line up of non-profit organizations in all three counties.
Please contact them directly for more information
Charles- www.unitedwaycharles.org, 301-609-4844
Calvert- www.unitedwaycalvert.org, 410-286-0100
St. Mary's- www.unitedwaysmc.org.