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Maryland Offers Hope With Feel Good Community Stories

Like much of the nation, Maryland has experienced some degree of hardship due to COVID-19. Fortunately, the state retains its integrity and tenacity. Maryland residents are not only supporting their friends and families but strangers as well. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with bad news under the current circumstances. Below are just a few of the ways that Maryland has taken the adversity faced in 2020 and still produced great results that benefited not only the state but the world at large. It may be difficult to find feel good stories in the news right now, but Maryland is making that much easier.

Holiday Hope Benefits from Anonymous Assistance

Those that haven’t heard of Holiday Hope in the past may want to inform themselves about the campaign and its benefits. Holiday Hope is held each year by the Carroll County Times, and is currently in the midst of its twenty-second year. The Carroll County Times teams up with Access Carroll, Carroll County Food Sunday, Carroll Hospice, The Shepherd’s Staff, and Human Services Programs of Carroll County in order to facilitate charitable giving. The point of the program is not to merely create feel good stories in the news, but to help many of the less fortunate in the area. There are over 6 million people residing in Maryland alone, and it’s often all too easy for many of those people to go what they need, particularly during the holiday season. Through Holiday Hope, the goal is to raise $125,000 for these five charitable organizations. In this sense, a wide variety of Maryland residents with different needs can be served. While those in need of food can benefit from Carroll County Food Sunday, those that require end of life healthcare can benefit from the donations made to Carroll Hospice. Therefore, Holiday Hope serves a wide variety of people.

While it can be difficult for Holiday Hope to reach its desired goals, an anonymous donor turned its 2020 fundraising efforts into one of Maryland’s most prominent feel good stories in the news. While there were numerous anonymous donations on the same day, an anonymous donor gave a particularly large donation of $10,000, which pushed Holiday Hope’s overall fundraising results over $40,000 in total. Other nations were mailed in to Holiday Hope or donated online, which brought its grand total for funds raised thus far in 2020 to $41,470. Those donating to Holiday Hope can do so for any reason. Many this year have done so in honor of healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the memory of relatives and loved ones. The wide reach of the charitable effort makes it particularly appealing to a wide range of people.

While Access Carroll offers medical care on a sliding scale to those that are uninsured and low income, Carroll County Food Sunday operates food banks for the needy in Carroll County. As previously discussed, Carroll Hospice offers end of life care. The Shepherd’ Staff is a Christian Outreach program helping individuals become self-sufficient, and Human Services Programs of Carroll County similarly aids people in paying for rent, utilities, and basic bills as they maintain their housing needs. Hope Holiday aids all of these programs and is a vital part of Carroll County’s continuing functionality.

A Baltimore Group Offers Mental Healthcare to Black Teens

Maryland is a diverse state. While in general mental healthcare has become a more important issue to consider for not only adults but at-risk youth, many black Maryland residents, in particular, are forced to go without the mental healthcare that they need and deserve. Mental healthcare crises have been particularly prevalent during 2020, which has not only been the year during which a pandemic has occurred, but has also suffered through a difficult presidential election. Fortunately, the Healing Youth Alliance has made itself available to young Maryland residents suffering from mental health issues. The Healing Youth Alliance was initially formed during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and is particularly focused on the problems facing black young adults in Baltimore. Young black Baltimore residents face individualized challenges, including systemic racism and recent events that make it difficult for them to focus on feel good stories in the news. Typically, these young adults are faced with white social workers that cannot necessarily identify with and understand their personal experiences. Not only can this cause problems, but it can actually cause setbacks for young black Baltimore residents facing mental health crises.

This is why the Black Mental Health Alliance, the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and a nonprofit based in Maryland worked together to create the Healing Youth Alliance. This organization specifically created a curriculum with a black mindset and the black experience. The intent of the alliance is to share mental health-related resources while understanding the current issues surrounding systemic racism.

Those forming the alliance were heavily educated on the challenges facing Black youths in Baltimore. Black social workers and educators worked to not only inform but prepare those in the alliance for the issues that would need to be faced in order to properly tackle mental health in Baltimore, focusing on effective coping strategies.

The unique aspect of the Healing Youth Alliance is that it empowers other young adults to not only provide their authentic perspectives but to help their peers. This makes the story of the alliance a unique tale among feel good stories in the news. Young adults can provide their experiences regarding drugs, eating disorders, and the effects of violence in their communities. Furthermore, they can discuss their mental health struggles in a way that informs the means through which the alliance and related organizations address such issues in the future. Three of the key problems that the alliance focuses upon are eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. By examining how these problems affect the black community in particular, the alliance can tackle such problems head on and ideally help Baltimore’s next generation.

Free Dental Clinic Helps Veterans in Need

It can be difficult for many individuals to pay for their typical medical care in this day and age. Even when they are offered health insurance, many Americans are unable to work with their insurance agencies or employers to ensure that they have affordable and effective dental coverage. Yet dental care is vital to an individual’s overall health. Teeth that go without proper care not only suffer from cavities but can potentially develop into abscesses that poison the bloodstream. However, many veterans in Hollywood, Maryland are unable to afford regular dental care. This is why Patuxent Dental worked to provide one of the best feel good stories in the news of 2020.

Conscious of the fact that many veterans lost their judge and therefore their insurance coverage due to the pandemic, Patuxent Dental hosted its second annual free clinic for veterans this year. The team involved five different dentists, as well as hygienists and office staff donating their time in order to aid those that had already served their country. In terms of dollars and cents, the free dental clinic is donating roughly $20,000 worth of dental care. In light of the pandemic, the clinic invested even more time and energy into the clinic in order to ensure that its patients and practitioners were as safe as possible.

While it can be difficult for many jobless veterans to afford their typical dental cleanings, leading them to skip such vital services, the Patuxent Dental clinic made it possible for them to maintain their regular dental maintenance. Not only did this ensure that their teeth stayed healthy; it also allowed these veterans to receive care from fully qualified and caring individuals. In this sense, the dental clinic transformed one of Maryland’s prominent feel good stories in the news into a charitable event that contributed greatly to the long term health of recipients.

Meal and Mental Health Care is Combined through United Way

The holidays are always stressful. But as can be attested by Maryland residents, the holidays are particularly stressful during the pandemic. Families are being forced to make difficult decisions regarding visiting during the holidays, and regardless of those decisions, a holiday meal likely be expected by many. Yet it may be difficult for many families to supply the traditional family experience for their relatives this year, not only on an emotional level but on a financial and physical level as well. United Way of Central Maryland is therefore taking steps to ensure that Maryland residents do not need to risk their livelihoods or considering taking out personal loans in order to experience one of the feel good stories in the news this year.

United Way is offering food deliveries to those that are in need this year. However, it is further adding stress relief kits to those that are stressed and cannot leave their houses. This is particularly helpful to individuals that are more vulnerable to the virus or are receiving home health care, and therefore have been forced to stay in their houses even more than the rest of the population. The kits included in the stress relief kits may feature stress balls, coloring books, and contact information for the Pro Bono Counseling Project hotline. This hotline is available for Maryland residents experiencing mental health crises.

The reality is that many Maryland residents are more isolated now than ever before. Many are dealing with their bills, and are worried about their landlords making the decision to evict them if they cannot make rent in a timely manner. While the deliveries from United Way cannot solve all of their problems immediately, they can offer welcome relief that will allow them to think of something else for a while.

Teachers Benefit from a Maryland Company’s Donation

Countless Maryland residents are currently seeking jobs. However, some of those that remain at work during the pandemic are facing working conditions that are not only difficult but potentially unsafe. Those that are working with teaching jobs right now are facing near-constant exposure to students that may or may not be returning to home that observe proper quarantine restrictions and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Teachers that work remotely must otherwise deal with the challenges of working with students and keeping them up to date through the prism of a laptop screen. Fortunately, a Maryland company has sent aid in the form of personal protection equipment for teachers.

The company in question was Hardwire, LLC. The company donated 200,000 face shields, which means that every teacher and faculty member in Maryland will be able to receive a shield and work with them. In reality, Hardwire, LLC. was further able to benefit from the production of the face shields. Through this production, the company was able to hire over 160 new employees, further making progress by offering jobs for those struggling to make ends meet in light of the pandemic. Unlike flimsier face masks, face shields are more readily reusable and therefore sustainable. In May, Hardwire benefited from a grant that allowed the company to add 130 work cells and make 165 displayed workers a part of its staff. This in itself was among the feel good stories in the news of Maryland, but Hardwire making the decision to proverbially pay it forward to teachers further enhanced the story.

It is important to note the fact that face shields do not only make teachers and faculty members safer but additionally more likely to readily return to school. With many teachers voicing concerns about returning to school on a regular basis, it makes sense that some have preferred to continue distance learning. Their concerns are understandable. If a school is simply unable to maintain up to date heating and air conditioning services in a more crowded building, the COVID-19 virus can linger. Personal protection equipment like face shields acknowledges the concerns of teachers and allows them to return to regular work safely.

Though it may seem at times that there are not many feel good stories in the news, Maryland residents and organizations are proving that misconception wrong. In the coming months, Maryland must further provide resources for residents moving forward and recovering from the pandemic.

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