Easton Middle School Musicians Benefit from Artist-in-Residence Program Returning

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This past school year, band students from Easton Middle School (EMS) enjoyed having the University of Maryland’s Mid-Atlantic Brass visit them as part of the Talbot County Art’s Council’s ongoing Artist-in-Residence Program. The brass quintet made four visits to EMS, providing master classes with EMS band students. This year students in four sixth-grade band classes experienced World History with World Music in an effort to show the importance of the arts in societies around the world.  Each visit involved a 45-minute presentation by the quintet, as well as class time to help develop a meaningful relationship between quintet members and the students they mentored. In addition, seventh and eighth-grade band classes received master classes from the visiting artists.

According to Nancy Larson, representing the Talbot County Arts Council, “This latest project was initiated by members of the board of directors of the Talbot County Arts Council who were dismayed by the near total absence of young people attending Mid-Shore Area performances of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and Chesapeake Music.  A study group concluded that younger people might begin attending if they could be introduced to classical music in various appealing forms at the secondary school level.”

L-R: Mid-Atlantic Brass members Lauren Patin (French horn), Matt Larson (trombone), Jisang Lee (tuba), John Walden (trumpet), and Dylan Rye (trumpet).

Don Buxton adds, “This opportunity enabled Chesapeake Music, who is a partner in the program, to enhance what our organization is already doing in the schools. Chesapeake Music’s YouthReach Program has introduced students to music through school assemblies and one-on-one residencies provided through the organization’s First Strings Program in Talbot County schools for many years. This year, through a generous donor we have been able to offer free tickets to come to concerts which was very well received.”

The objective of the program is to provide the student body a rare opportunity to learn from the skill and experience of graduate-level musicians, to both inspire a lifelong love of classical music among the general student body and allow music students to benefit from the skill and enthusiasm of young professional-level musicians, who are qualified as music teachers and who are participating as volunteers.

Donna Ewing, Band Instructor at EMS, comments, “The University of MD graduate students greatly enhanced our program, giving students a chance to hear and learn from accomplished musicians.  Having four sessions allowed The Mid-Atlantic Brass to get to know the students and the students eagerly looked forward to their return.  It was a joy to watch the interaction between our students and the Mid-Atlantic Brass and to hear the musical growth made over the four sessions!”

The Mid-Atlantic Brass asked students about which popular arrangements they would like to hear performed. Among the songs selected included “Star Wars March of the Resistance,” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Lauren Patin, the French horn player with Mid-Atlantic Brass comments, “We have definitely seen improvement being here all year. It’s been cool to be out of the University of Maryland bubble and be with students who don’t have access to something like this.”

Dylan Rye, trumpet player with Mid-Atlantic Brass, states, “The most rewarding thing was the one-on-one interactions with the kids.”

Trombonist Matthew Larson, adds, “It was fun when they didn’t know the trombone could do some of the things it did musically.”

Trombonist Matt Larson gives lessons to 7th-grade trombone players, L-R, Samuel Rogers, Johnny Galvez-Perez, Jaelynn Ashburn, Caleb Wooters, and Julian Hutchison.

Mid-Atlantic Brass, comprised of students from the University of Maryland (UMD) School of Music, has been performing around the DC metro area for the past two years. Last spring, they were recognized and invited to be a part of the UMD School of Music Honors Chamber Showcase. The University of Maryland portion of the initiative is being managed by Dr. Robert DiLutis, Professor of Clarinet and Director of the Community Engagement Office at the School of Music.

Talbot County Public Schools has been involved through the encouragement of former fine arts supervisor Dr. Marcia Sprankle and her successor, James Redman. The EMS component is managed by band director Donna Ewing with the assistance of chorus director CJ Freeman.  Chesapeake Music has been represented by executive director Donald Buxton and Hanna Woicke, chair of the YouthReach Committee. Participating Talbot County Arts Council board members are Nancy Larson and Bill Peak. Housing during the quintet’s overnight stays in Talbot County has been organized by Chesapeake Music president Courtney Kane, with generous hospitality provided by Hanna and Peter Woicke and Liz Koprowski.

If the pilot program proves successful, it is hoped funding will be found to continue the initiative in future years at Easton Middle School and possibly expand the project to include other local schools. The program is made possible by a grant from the Artistic Insights Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, with funds from an Arts-in-Education grant from the Talbot County Arts Council, using revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council. Carpe Diem Arts also supported the program.

Channel Marker Cuts Ribbon on Regional Wellness Center

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Channel Marker, Inc. has completed the final phase of its renovations of its 19,000-square foot Regional Wellness Center on Glebe Park Drive in Easton. The organization’s ribbon cutting celebrates the completion of a $2 million Capital Campaign to provide integrated services to people with severe and persistent mental illness in Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester counties.

Senator Addie Eckardt; Tolbert Rowe, Volunteer Executive Director of Channel Marker Foundation; Cathy Cassell, Channel Marker Program Director; Len Foxwell, Chief of Staff for Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot; and Danielle Williams, Clinical Coordinator, in the Channel Marker’s new fitness gym

The new building consolidates the administration and client programs, previously situated in rented properties and houses a dedicated medical wing for a Registered Nurse, Nurse Practitioner Consultant, and Psychiatrist. The program section of the new building offers two lounges for social activities – one for transition age youth (ages 18-25) and one for adults, a computer lab with work stations, a large teaching kitchen and pantry, a dining area, two large group activity rooms, and a fitness gym with exercise equipment. As visitors enter the building, they are greeted with a view of a lush courtyard, complete with a pond and garden, around which the building was constructed.

Johnny Mautz, Senator Addie Eckardt, John McQuaid, President of the Channel Marker Board of Directors; Debbye Jackson, Executive Director of Channel Marker, and Ryan Snow from Governor Larry Hogan’s office.

Chad Hill, Liz Freedlander, Development Director; and Scott Warner of Rural Maryland Council.

Debbye Jackson, Executive Director of Channel Marker, commented, “Our plans are to offer a wide variety of group activities in the new facility for all of our clients. Many Caroline and Dorchester county clients now receive services from their psychiatrist and therapist at the Regional Wellness Center. The organization also recently rebranded its public image, with a new focus on wellness for our clients.”

According to Jackson, who has been with Channel Marker for 34 years, Channel Marker, Inc. opened its doors in 1982, operating out of donated space in churches. Over time, the organization embarked on a campaign to build facilities to have a permanent place in communities in Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester counties. Channel Marker serves approximately 400 people annually, almost 50% of whom are under the age of 21. Channel Marker’s services increase social and problem-solving skills, job readiness, illness management, and substance abuse recovery. Services are provided in day and residential settings in all three counties of the Mid Shore by a dedicated staff of nearly 60 people who have a personal and caring relationships with the individuals who live with organic brain disease through no fault of their own.

During the activities to put the final touches on the client program spaces, in preparation for the building’s ribbon cutting, one client asked a staff member, “When the party is over, will this all be taken away from us?” Hearing that everything was for the permanent use of the clients, he replied, “Then this must be my birthday!”

Ceci Nobel, Debbye Jackson, Executive Director of Channel Marker; and Marti Reed in the new fitness gym.

Funding for Channel Marker’s work in the community primarily comes from Medicaid and the State of Maryland.  Support from generous members of the community and private foundations underwrites uncompensated costs for programs that are vital to clients’ well-being. A community of donors including government, private foundations and individuals participated in the completion of the recent Capital Campaign.

Donor Nancy Klein of Oxford commented, “Our foundation was pleased to contribute to Channel Marker’s Capital Campaign. Its mission to serve very vulnerable members of our community matches our philanthropic interests.”

Among the other donors to the Campaign are The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation, The Michael and Nancy Klein Foundation, Bruce and Sandra Hammonds, Maxine Whalen Millar, The Whalen Company and Craig A. Wanner in memory of Ronald J. Wanner, Dr. David Hill and the Hill Family, The George B. Todd Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, The Reynolds/Cristiano and Ferree Funds of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Wayne and Terri Cole and Win Transport, Amy’s Army, Tom and Cathy Hill, The Schulman Foundation, The Robert and Ruth St. John Foundation, John and Debra McQuaid, Phoebe Reynolds, C. Tolbert and Jeanne Rowe, The Van Strum Foundation, and anonymous friends.

According to Tolbert Rowe, Volunteer Executive Director of Channel Marker Foundation, completion of Channel Marker’s Capital Campaign, “Opening New Doors to Wellness,” has enabled the organization to repay the Foundation’s loan to purchase and renovate the building. He added, “The Foundation is excited about our next project to improve services to youth in Caroline County, having just purchased the former Hospice House in Denton for this purpose.”

For further information or to tour the new Channel Marker facility in Easton, contact Debbye Jackson, Executive Director of Channel Marker, at 410-822-4619 or visit channelmarker.org.

At the Academy: Brad Ross and the Art of Teaching Art

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Since 2016, Brad Ross has been offering painting and drawing classes at the Academy Art Museum, in Easton, MD. Learning the classical approach to drawing and painting through his studies greatly influenced what he paints today. While at Maryland Institute, where he completed a BFA in 1991, he studied portrait drawing with Abby Sangiamo and figure drawing with Peter Collier. Between 1994 and 1995 he took evening and summer classes at the Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore. There he experienced a classical approach to drawing and painting and a taste of the way all artists learned their craft prior to the twentieth century.  The Schuler School is also where he had some of his first experiences painting outdoors with noted watercolorist Fritz Briggs.

Ross states, “Drawing from plaster casts was the most important classical training I had and the concepts learned from them influence everything I do. . .  Most of my fine art training at Maryland Institute College of Art and Montgomery College was modern in philosophy, so my later exposure to the classical approach at the Schuler School broadened, refined and grounded the modern approach from those schools.”

Over the years, Ross has gained priceless drawing and painting knowledge by taking workshops with great artists like Carolyn Anderson, Tim Bell, George Strickland, Abigail McBride and Teresa Oaxaca. From 1995 to the early two-thousands, his professional work focused on still life painting in the classical tradition, maintaining a relationship with La Petite Gallery in Annapolis, MD and Renjeau Gallery in Natick, MA.

He adds, “Throughout this time, plein air painting, portrait and figure drawing remained avenues for skill-building and personal enjoyment.”

In 2012 he registered for his first quick draw competition at Plein Air Easton and has participated in several local plein air events since then, winning prizes in Chestertown’s quick draws three times, and being awarded Best in Show and Artist Choice Awards at Paint Berlin, MD, in 2018.  This year, he was juried into the 15th Plein Air Easton competition and will be competing in that premier event, as well as several others in 2019.

Ross comments about his plein air painting, “For most of my life I’ve been a very hesitant painter, taking a long time to finish work.  Plein air painting is a great antidote for that. Light changes frustratingly fast and forces you to identify important elements quickly and make decisions, then keep that concept in mind as conditions change.”

He adds, “Plein air was important in dispelling the misconception that an artist is recording or copying a scene.  In order to get faster you have to think on an abstract, conceptual level. This has strengthened my painting in general.”   

This spring, Ross is teaching a few classes at the Academy Art Museum, including “Drawing the Human Figure” on Wednesdays, May 1–29, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a Two-Day Workshop: “Oil Painting: Color Crash Course” on June 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.

Ross says about his portraiture classes, “Getting a likeness is pretty essential to portraiture and because of that it’s more demanding than other genres.  I love the challenge of conveying a personality in a drawing or painting and I love helping people tackle that challenge.”

For further information about classes taught by Bradford Ross at the Academy Art Museum, call 410-822-2787 or visit academyartmuseum.org.

Senior Nation: Ellen Walbridge Turns 100

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: Pictured is the Walbridge family. In the photo seated left to right: Ellen with daughter Lois Schall. Standing left to right son Gene Walbridge, daughter Carol Goss, her husband Jeffrey Goss, daughter Barbara McCann, and her husband Larry McCann

Ellen Walbridge of Easton turned 100 at The Dixon House on February 26, 2019. On her birthday she stated, “I never dreamed I would be 100! It is a blessing to celebrate it.” Ellen had several celebrations: a celebration at her church, the Church of the Brethren, the Dixon House Celebration, and dinner with family. She added, “Dixon House has kept me active. I walk around the block every morning with my son which gets things going for me.”

 

Ellen Walbridge with Director Linda Elben as she blows out the candles of her cake at her 100th Birthday Celebration at Dixon House

Ellen was born in West Virginia but had ties to the Eastern Shore. At age 15, she came to work at Fike Orchard in Skipton at the suggestion of her brother who knew the Fikes through church. While living here, she met Alvin Walbridge at a church social and the rest is history. Over the years, she supported her husband who started Walbridge Bros. with two of his brothers. Family is very important to her. She and her husband had five children, one boy, and four girls. She now has 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Walbridge moved to The Dixon House in 2017 after living independently. When asked about the reason for longevity, she states that her brother lived until age 96 and she never drank or smoked. She was active in 4-H, loved to garden (she tends the flowers at The Dixon House), and enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and sewing. She also loves to bake, helping with the baking activities at The Dixon House, and lemon meringue pie is her specialty.

 

At her celebration at The Dixon House, Ellen received salutations from Governor Hogan and from the Eastern Shore Delegates. Pastor Joe Glass played her favorite hymns on the accordion. Mayor Robert Willey gave her a free parking card for the town of Easton. Sheriff Joe Gamble gave her a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, which gave her a laugh. She stated, “I will try and be good!”

The mission of The Dixon House is to provide high quality and affordable residential care to seniors in an enriching home-like environment. For further information, contact Linda Elben, Executive Director at 410-822-6661 or visit dixonhouse.org.

Senior Nation: The Dixon House 99ers by Amy Blades Steward

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When you meet Ellen Walbridge and Helen Crow, residents of Dixon House in Easton, you won’t suspect that they are both 99 years old. Both women are vibrant and enjoy recalling their full and rich lives. This is the case for several residents at The Dixon House in Easton.

According to Linda Elben, Executive Director, “We are seeing more and more residents coming to us later in their lives, in their 90s, still very active and living quality lives. Most just need to simplify their living and have less responsibilities.”

She adds, “These two women are remarkable. They join a number of our residents who are centenarians or who approaching 100 years of age. It is a testament to them living active lives surrounded by family and friends.”

Ellen Walbridge, a resident of Dixon House, will turn 100 in February 2019.

Ellen Walbridge, born in West Virginia, had ties to the Eastern Shore. At age 15, she followed her brother, who came to work at Fike Orchard in Skipton. While living here, she met Alvin Walbridge at a church social and the rest is history. Over the years, she supported her husband who started Walbridge Builders. Family is very important to her. She and her husband had five children, one boy and four girls. She now has 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Walbridge moved to The Dixon House in 2017 after living independently. When asked about the reason for longevity, she states that her brother lived until age 96 and she never drank or smoked. She was active in 4-H, loved to garden (she tends the flowers at The Dixon House), and enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and sewing. She also loves to bake, helping with the baking activities at The Dixon House, and lemon meringue pie is her specialty. She comments, “I don’t feel real young, but I don’t feel 99.” She will turn 100 in February 2019.

Helen Crow, a resident of Dixon House, will turn 100 in April 20.

Born in rural Ohio, Helen Crow was always physically active. Her father, a builder, was also a physically active person. Helen recalls doing handstands and headstands when she was young. Today, she doesn’t miss an exercise class at The Dixon House. She and her husband, Elmer, nicknamed “Amo” married after Amo served in the Army’s 17th Airborne Division as a paratrooper during World War II. The two had three children, and today she has three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Amo had a career as a master craftsman, training many young men who entered the flooring trade, while Helen did office work for a law firm, then a refinery.

Both Helen and Amo participated in an activities group for art in Cincinnati, where Helen enjoyed oils and watercolors and Amo enjoyed stained glass, caning, and pottery. The two also enjoyed music, attending Cincinnati Symphony concerts for 40 years. The couple retired to Florida and then to Easton, where their son, Roger and daughter-in-law Heather live. The two then came to live at The Dixon House in 2014. Crow comments, “Easton is a nice town. We were amazed at the quality of friends we have made at Dixon House.” She adds, “I have had a good life.”

The mission of The Dixon House is to provide high quality and affordable residential care to seniors in an enriching home-like environment. For further information, contact Linda Elben, Executive Director at 410-822-6661 or visit dixonhouse.org.

Senior Nation: Talbot Senior Summit Draws Record Crowd

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Talbot Community Connections (TCC) and the Talbot County Department of Social Services recently held their third annual Talbot Senior Summit. This day-long program for seniors, children of seniors, caregivers, professionals and concerned citizens provided presentations and discussions on the issues that seniors face today.  Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and Mental Health Advocate Lynn Sanchez provided the remarks to open the day.

Pictured is Mental Health Advocate and keynote speaker Lynn Sanchez

In Sanchez’s keynote remarks, “Wine Isn’t the Only Thing That Improves with Age,” she said, “It’s the age of our spirit that matters as we age.” Sanchez went on to present three things she attributed to finding happiness and contentment with aging. She said we need something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to every day. By incorporating humor, Sanchez encouraged participants to keep wondering and to trust the journey.

Pictured are Summit attendees participating in the workshop, “Rising Strength: Self Defense,” conducted by Rachel Layer and Matt and Kathy Herron.

Over 200 participants listened to speakers on such topics as “Manage and Reduce Stress: Organize, Downsize, De-Clutter;” “How to Protect Yourself Against Insurance Fraud;” “Transitions: How Will  We Flourish in Midlife and Beyond;” “Rising Strength: Self Defense;” “Helping Seniors Navigate Our High-Tech World;” “Senior Fitness: Finding the Athlete Within;” “Yoga: Aging Positively;” and “The Importance of ‘Social Capital’ for Seniors.” A special Virtual Dementia Tour conducted by Christina Wingate-Spence from Bright Star was especially popular.

Pictured are staff of Avon Dixon Insurance Agency, one of the near 50 vendors at this year’s Talbot Senior Summit.

Participants were able to visit informational tables of almost 50 vendors with services and resources for seniors.  A healthy lunch was provided by Sprout.

Platinum sponsors for this year’s Senior Summit were the Star Democrat, Talbot County Department of Social Services, and Talbot County Government. Gold sponsors were the Talbot County Health Department, the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, and the Visiting Nurse Association of Maryland.

Photos by Calvin Jackson Photography

The Heart of It (Part Two) by Amelia Blades Steward

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Sometimes it takes a while to process things. Such was the case after witnessing the meeting of Casey Artzer and his heart donor family, Elizabeth, Rodney, English and Chloe Tong in June of this year. The Artzers arrived on a beautiful Eastern Shore day full of sunshine and hope. I had arrived early to record their meeting, trying to stay in the background of this poignant and touching reunion. This vantage point allowed me another perspective, that of the Tong’s Corgi, Maggie, and it is from Maggie’s point of view that I can share part of this story.

Pictured back row, left to right, are Chloe, Rodney and English Tong. Pictured middle row, left to right, are Kathy and Casey Artzer and Elizabeth Tong. Pictured in front row is Lisa Colaianni, Donor Family Advocate with The Washington Regional Transplant Community.

I had met Maggie in puppy class with my Corgi, Schooder. Like most Corgis, Maggie liked to be center stage, greeting people enthusiastically when arriving, jumping with delight and eager to be petted. I guess my focus was still on her a bit when the Casey and his mother Kathy arrived at the Tongs house in June. I wondered how her welcome would interfere with the embraces that the families would share.

As Casey came down the Tong’s sidewalk, seeing Rodney for the first time, the two embraced and held onto each other. My eyes drifted down to Maggie and I realized that she was not jumping up to be greeted, but instead, she was sitting mindfully at Rodney’s feet, looking up at Casey as if to say, “I know you are special and a part of my family too.” We walked inside where Elizabeth Tong was waiting in the foyer of their home. Again, I was struck by Maggie’s attention and behavior, sitting dutifully at Elizabeth’s feet and looking up at Casey in wonder.

Twenty-four years ago, Rodney and Elizabeth Tong, and their daughters English and Chloe, of Royal Oak lost their son and brother, Hunter Tong, age two and one half, to an unexpected death. Hunter’s parents chose to donate Hunter’s organs and his heart went to a one-year old child, Casey Artzer in Topeka, KS. This June, Casey came to meet the Tong family. He had already met English Tong seven years ago, but decided to reach out to the whole family after reading English’s blog post about the visit.

Lisa Colaianni, Donor Family Advocate with The Washington Regional Transplant Community, who met the Tongs after the donation and who has become a family friend, comments, “Today, we have a 25-year old who is alive because of Hunter’s donation. It’s unusual to have a meeting like this happen so many years after the donation. I have facilitated meetings as soon as three months after the death of a donor. The meetings usually take place after a year and usually before five.”

Rodney Tong recalls the week, “We gave Casey a real Eastern Shore experience, taking him sailing for the first time at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum and he loved it. He also rowed with Chloe’s rowing club, the Eastern Shore Community Rowers.”

The Artzers stayed next door at the house belonging to a friend of the Tongs. The house, located on the water, had a pool and provided the perfect respite for their week-long visit. The Tongs hosted a build-your-own Taco Night and also made crabs and rockfish plentiful during the Artzers’ stay.Rodney adds, “Casey reveled in the Eastern Shore fare.”

Elizabeth Tong recalls the fun the two families had making dinner the first night. She states, “We are very grateful the family was willing to come across the country to meet us. It was light and easy and we all got along well. The week was about doing fun things with this new family we were getting to know. It was easy and comfortable.”

Pictured is Casey Artzer playing ukulele at the Tong’s musical jam session.

Casey, a history buff, enjoyed a trip with his mother to Washington, DC to take in the monuments and the White House. The Tongs organized a picnic and jam session with local musicians, so Casey could play music. Elizabeth adds, “I think the jam session was his favorite event of the week! He is a talented musician.”

Casey Artzer reflects on his visit with the Tongs, stating ” Oh wow! I can’t wait to go back! I had such a great time hanging out with Rodney, Elizabeth, English and Chloe. Their food was amazing, I loved sailing and getting the chance to row with the Chloe’s row team. I was sore for a while after going with English to Cross Fit! And I can’t thank them enough for the jam session. I feel a deep connection to them all, especially Rodney.”

The Tongs noticed how much Casey and Rodney had in common. Rodney notes, “Casey and I had a lot of similarities. I made a real connection with him. He has a wonderful general knowledge and is a very curious person like I am. He ran errands with me and helped me finish a crossword puzzle. He loves to travel like me and for the rest of his life wants to do as many things as he can.”

English Tong, who originally made the connection with the Artzer family and who was only four years old when Hunter died, states, “It made my brother’s life more real. When it’s been so long, it’s easy to feel far removed from him, but having his heart near me again gave me back his existence.”

“The whole thing was unreal, but amazing,” adds Chloe Tong. “I felt a weird instinct of comfort with Casey. It was so amazing to see how he was enjoying life to the fullest. I felt connected almost right away in a way I never have before.”

Elizabeth Tong, Kathy Artzer, and Rodney Tong.

For Casey’s mother, Kathy Artzer, who says she and the Tongs have always been connected by Hunter’s heart, notes that the two families are now connected by true friendship. She adds, “It’s hard to put in words what this trip meant to me and Casey. I have always kept them in a special place in my heart, but spending time with the whole family was surreal and extraordinary. Rodney, Elizabeth and the girls are all lovely, kind, hilarious and unique, in their own right!”

She reflects, “Giving my family the gift of life 24 years ago was so selfless, during the worst tragedy. It was also wonderful to get the sense of love in the Eastern Shore community, in which the Tongs are a huge part of.”

Elizabeth Tong was a founding member of the Donor Family and Community Advisory Council for the Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC). She continues to be a volunteer WRTC Donate Life Ambassador, speaking at Continuing Education Courses at Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC, sharing with the professionals who work with transplant families that it’s ok to be emotional. She comments, “It’s important for these professionals to hear from a donor mom just how meaningful it is to be able to donate a loved one’s organs. It becomes a gift not only for the recipient, but also for the donor.”

Elizabeth adds, “Meeting Casey and his mother was a very meaningful experience – sort of like collateral beauty. We are no longer strangers. To actually meet Casey was a gift. Now our families are joined. There is a piece of Hunter that is still living and it’s doing good.”
Rodney concludes, “Casey is keeping Hunter alive and Hunter is keeping Casey alive.”

The heart is a beautiful thing.

For information about making the decision to be an organ donor, visit Washington Regional Transplant Community’s website at www.beadonor.org. To see a video about the Tong’s story and their reunion with Casey, visit here.

Inside the Sandwich: Muscular Dystrophy Carnivals and Annual Giving By Amelia Blades Steward

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During the 1960s and 70s, it wouldn’t be summer if we didn’t hold a Muscular Dystrophy Carnival in my neighborhood near the high school in Easton. A group of about 10 kids from my neighborhood looked forward to these backyard carnivals, to benefit “Jerry’s kids.” The Muscular Dystrophy Carnival kits came in the mail and included tickets, posters and an idea pamphlet to help us raise the funds to help find a cure for the disease. It was an important and noble cause. We had watched for hours the Jerry Lewis Telethons on the television and wanted to do our part to help the kids we saw in the images on the screen. We didn’t have many children in wheelchairs in our school, so it seemed particularly important to reach out to those who were unfortunate enough to be in that situation.

We used each other’s backyards to host the carnivals and rotated from house to house each year, based on the parents who agreed to having their card tables placed in the grass outside and their clotheslines strung with sheets, providing backdrops to the games we played. The O’Briant family’s yard was the most popular one in which to hold the carnivals. We each had aluminum wash tubs to contribute for bobbing for apples or for the floating duck game, where you picked a duck and got a prize based on the number on the bottom of the duck. There were magic shows, fortune-telling booths, and Kool-Aid stands. Everything required a ticket and the tickets cost about five cents each.

We assembled our props and got the carnival set up, borrowing from each other’s households. An alley connected our backyards, so it was easy to get things from one place to another. There was Kool-Aid to be stirred, cookies to be baked, and we had to get out the word so people would come to our carnival. The nearby

Elks Club pool provided the perfect place to share our news. Word spread among the kids when the carnival would take place. Of course, we counted on our mothers coming – they helped fill out our numbers and usually donated extra money.

The carnival started around 11 a.m. and went until 1 p.m., when the pool opened. We didn’t like to miss our pool time. We took our carnival jobs seriously, whether running a game, performing, or selling drinks or food. We knew the more we smiled and encouraged our patrons, the more money we would make. As the day wore on, however, so did we. The sun shone high overhead and the humidity rose. Some of the excitement waned and my friends and I grew weary.

Once we had drunk the Kool-Aid and eaten the cookies, we were ready to pack up the games, return the tables, chairs and props and head to the pool. Before we did, however, it was exciting to see how much money we had raised. If we made over ten dollars, we were excited! We weren’t old enough to have checkbooks, so one of our parents would deposit the money and write a check to be mailed to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. We waited anxiously for the return “thank you” letter in the mail from Jerry. It confirmed our hard work had paid off and showed we did something meaningful with our summer. These backyard carnivals instilled in us a compassion for helping others, something that still rings true today as the annual appeal letters arrive in the mail. While I no longer get that personal letter from Jerry, I still find satisfaction in anticipating the “thank you” after my annual donations are made – a confirmation that we can still make a difference, no matter how small the gift.

 

Inside the Sandwich: Easter Baskets to Camp Tee Shirts By Amelia Blades Steward

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I never have transitioned from one season to the next on time. My friends laugh about the year the Christmas tree stayed up until Valentine’s Day (it was real, not artificial) and they had to practically do an intervention to get me to take it down. This year, I didn’t even get my Easter decorations out. The snowman on the sideboard got taken down in early April and replaced by two Beatrix Potter figurines and a small basket of Easter eggs that I got for my birthday in March.

It is how I have approached the “things” in my life too. Not always being ready to part with the memories attached to the items I have collected over the years. This week, however, that sentimental streak paid off when I found an old camp tee shirt and jacket that I wore at age 14 while attending Wye Institute, a camp held at Aspen institute in Queenstown, MD in the 1970s and 80s. I looked for the camp clothing because Aspen is doing a documentary on Arthur Houghton and Wye Institute and had called me about being interviewed as a camper. Houghton, the president of Steuben Glass in New York, had founded the Wye Institute camp for gifted and talented adolescents from rural areas to expand their intellectual and creative minds. I viewed it as perfect timing, as did Aspen, when I brought the tee shirt and jacket to the documentary taping.

The green and white striped camp-issued cotton tee shirt brought me back to a time and place in my life when the ground shifted and something changed in me, something that changed my view of the world. It was the summer of 1974 when I attended the month-long camp at Wye Institute with other 8th graders from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and New York’s Finger Lakes region. We would be attending high school in the fall. We all wore the same camp uniforms. The only time we didn’t wear our camp clothes were when we went to bed each night and could wear our own pajamas. My bunk-mates and I talked late into the night about world peace, women’s lib and what we were going to do with our lives.

As campers we studied and discussed classic literature, film and theater, learning about how these things have shaped our country’s foundation. We explored art, music, creative writing, and the environment – learning how to sail on the Wye River and attending our first theater production of the play “Godspell” in Washington, DC. We even participated in social experiments. One experiment had half the group paint their faces in wild colors and shop in nearby Centreville, while the other half of the group without the painted faces shopped in the same shops. I was in the group with the painted faces and we were run out of the shops we went in.

At Wye Institute I realized that I wanted to be a writer. For the first time, I participated in a creative writing class and learned the power of the pen. The camp showed me that I could illicit a reaction from the words that I wrote. My peers responded to the words and that was powerful. It was a summer when we all learned we had opinions and that our voices could be heard.

We had debates and studied rhetoric. We even put on the musical, “The Fantasticks,” for our parents when they came to visit us mid-month. It was the first time many of us had been away from home and from our parents for this length of time. After leaving camp that summer, I remember how different I felt when I got home. I had been transformed somehow and knew that I would approach high school in a new anticipatory way.

Now, as I think about summer approaching, I wonder if my own college-aged son will one day remember working as a camp counselor, experiencing wet sleeping bags from summer thunderstorms, chiggers and poison ivy, lost bathing suits, glorious camp productions, and the tears of campers saying good-bye to new friends. While memories like these linger for all of us, we are forced to move ahead to the next chapter of our lives. Ready or not, the season is changing. I just need to find where I put that box of Easter decorations before Memorial Day arrives.

 

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