THE ARC of Howard County's respite care home is a place where people with developmental disabilities can stay when those who care for them need a break -- for an afternoon, overnight, even an occasional weekend.
But the home, off Sunny Spring in the village of Hickory Ridge, has needed some care of its own, said Sherrie Nolan, director of family support services for the local ARC.
Now, with labor donated by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and materials donated by the Vertical Connection, three bedrooms in the home are getting a bright new look.
Young adult members of the Ellicott City church spent Monday evening stripping wallpaper and painting the rooms.
Next week another group will stencil patterns on the bedroom walls while a third group sews valances, curtains and wall hangings.
Church member Ann Towne is coordinating the volunteers.
"They're creating a very inviting environment" for the home's guests, Ms. Nolan said. "We're thrilled."
Shades, drapery hardware and ceiling light fixtures are still needed, she said. Call 730-0638 if you can help.
The efforts of ARC and the church were matched by the Columbia Volunteer Corps, the Columbia Association arm that places volunteers with groups that need help.
Mark Dubac, an eighth-grader at Wilde Lake Middle School, not only has earned a chair in the Maryland All State Junior High School Band but also has been named section leader for clarinets in the highly competitive group.
Mark also made the Howard County Gifted and Talented Band, as did classmates Bryanna Herring, who plays trumpet; Adam Arnold, who plays trombone; and Bryn Johnson, who plays French horn and was named section leader for the county band.
Richard Lucas, band director at Wilde Lake Middle School, is himself a product of West Columbia public schools. Mr. Lucas is a graduate of Swansfield Elementary, Harper's Choice Middle and Wilde Lake High.
A dream fulfilled
Merchants, community associations and individuals have donated $650 so that every student at Bryant Woods Elementary School can have a new book to take home and enjoy.
Members of the Wilde Lake Village Board, led by Janet Blumenthal, offered to raise money so Principal Susan Webster could fulfill her dream of giving a book to each child.
Village board members contacted various groups, including a request to neighborhood associations and the placement of a "Donate a Dollar" can at Slayton House community center.
Three townhouse groups made donations: the Bryant Woods Neighborhood Association, the Hollow Oaks Community Association and the Tidesfall Association.
The Wilde Lake Merchants Association and the Wilde Lake Community Association also made contributions, Ms. Blumenthal said. Ms. Webster is ordering the books this week, and she hopes to distribute them in mid-February.
New congregation officers
Beth Shalom Congregation installed Friday its slate of officers for the year. Alan Fishbein is congregation president, Phillip Levin is executive vice president, and Sharon Freedman and Ben Zingman are vice presidents. The congregation's treasurer is Samuel Ulan, and Arlene Malech is secretary.
The conservative congregation is at 8070 Guilford Road in Hickory Ridge.
Young children and senior citizens are a successful combination at Running Brook Elementary School, where senior volunteers Amelia Davis, Portia Huber, Dolores Rice, Lynn Sharp and Hortense Singer put in many hours each week reading to students and assisting teachers, said Principal Deborah Drown.