BALTIMORE COUNTY'S greatest social challenges are its young and its old. The population is increasingly gray, with more than one-seventh of residents 60 or older, and that number expected to grow rapidly through 2005. With budget constraints forcing cutbacks in government services and families without time or energy to care for their own, the job of looking after old people will increasingly fall on charitable organizations -- or go undone.
The same goes for children. Recent studies show that while kids in suburban Baltimore are far better off than their city counterparts, many suffer from having both parents (or the only parent) work and the shortage of guidance that goes along with that. Aggressive behavior, substance abuse and crime are rising among youth nearly everywhere.
Every day, the United Way of Central Maryland helps this region cope with the problems of young, old and all manner of folk in between -- not just in the city but in Baltimore County and other suburban locales. Last year, it pumped more than $4 million into local health and human service organizations, including services allowing frail elderly people to stay in their homes, after-school programs for homeless children and substance abuse and delinquency prevention for youth.
Without United Way dollars, the Cockeysville-based Community Counseling and Resource Center could not afford drug and alcohol prevention services for kids. The demand for treatment at the middle and high school levels is so great, executive director Jim Perrone says, that preventive services for younger children -- the key to long-term solutions to substance abuse -- always take a back seat. With United Way funding, the center can keep prevention workers at Hillendale's Halstead Academy and at Police Athletic League centers in Hillendale and Cockeysville. The community needs more of this kind of support, not less.
If you doubt the need for the United Way programs, consider that county residents used United Way-funded agencies 482,063 times last year. The United Way fund-raising drive runs until just before Thanksgiving. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar you contribute goes to help people. Please give if you can.
Pub Date: 9/30/96