WeCare team adopts Running Brook Elementary


September 23, 1998|By Kathy Curtis | Kathy Curtis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CHILDREN AT Running Brook Elementary School are getting one-on-one help with reading and math, thanks to a group of about 20 volunteers organized by the Columbia Association's Columbia Volunteer Corps.

Part of the association's WeCare Team, the volunteers began working at the school about three weeks ago.

Their efforts are being coordinated by volunteers Linda Lazaroff of Hobbit's Glen and Lillian Shapiro of Wilde Lake.

"It's great to have this enthusiasm," said Jason McCoy, Running Brook's assistant principal.

He added, "You can never have too many volunteers when you're working in an elementary school with small children."

The WeCare Team adopted Running Brook as a long-term project after Sandy Fairhurst, manager of the Columbia Volunteer Corps, saw an article last winter in The Sun about the school.

Fairhurst lives in Running Brook, and her children attended the school. But she noted that the school's demographics have changed considerably in recent years.

Many of the students come from low-income or non-English- speaking families. Many single-parent families and two-career couples are not able to volunteer at the school. So Fairhurst approached the school about providing volunteers.

"They were so open," she said.

Over the summer, she met with the administrators. Then the volunteers met with teachers to find out what was needed. Now volunteers are going to the school to assist teachers in the classrooms and to work one-on-one with children who need help in reading and math. They also work in the media center.

Lazaroff joined the WeCare Team after moving to Columbia last year. She goes to Running Brook on Wednesdays to help two first-graders with reading. This week, she is scheduled to start working with a math teacher also.

"I feel very passionately about the program," Lazaroff said. "We need to get more people involved in helping the young children."

A few businesses have also expressed interest in the project. Employees of Tower Federal Credit Union are planning to tackle school projects that they can work on at home.

Discussions are under way with another company to provide volunteers during the school day.

"This has really clicked," Fairhurst said. "It's giving a whole new meaning to the word 'volunteer.' "

Fairhurst is hoping that the project at Running Brook will become a prototype that can be used for other schools.

She welcomes more volunteers for the WeCare Team, which volunteers on weekdays, and the WeCan Team, which works on short-term projects on weekends.

Information: 410-715-3163.

Dinner theater set

St. John Baptist Church will present "Melodists in Heaven: An Afro-American Gospel Fantasy" in a dinner theater setting at 4 p.m. Sunday at Kahler Hall.

Author Leroy Giles described the production as a combination of drama and music that uses a television show format to present giants of gospel music who have passed away.

One of the founding members of the church, Giles serves as assistant director of the church's gospel choir.

Harper's Choice resident Charles Gayle is the technical director.

Running Brook resident Ethel Hill, who is chairing the event, will introduce each singer.

The cast includes Columbia residents Lorna Evans, Johnny Mathews, Corinne Moody, John West III, Lew Woolford, Sandra Gray, Larry Stewart, Charles Thomas, Inola Clements, Angela Clay and Jerry Biggs.

The church's young adult choir -- Voices of Inspiration, directed by Valerie West -- will perform contemporary gospel songs.

Accompanying the performance will be the church's traditional Four Seasons Dinner, in which tables are set up with food representing each season.

Coordinating the fall table will be Dorsey Search residents Jeanette Biggs and Carolyn Horn.

Tickets, which are $7 for adults and $3 for children younger than 10, must be purchased in advance by calling Delores Burgess at 410-730-3571.

Rouse honor

The Partridge Courts Condominium Association will hold a dedication ceremony to honor James Rouse at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Rouse's widow, Patricia Rouse, will unveil a plaque on the Partridge Courts sign near Twin Rivers Road and Lynx Lane. Partridge Courts is one of the oldest complexes in Columbia.

"We truly owe James Rouse a debt of gratitude," said Vivian Stevens, chair of the condo's board of directors. "We want to say, 'thank you.' "

Last spring, condo residents upgraded the landscaping in the complex and renovated the exterior of the wood-and-brick buildings.

They went back to the buildings' original plans, restoring the wood and painting it in the original colors.

The condo association "is really excited about the revitalization going on in Wilde Lake," said Stevens, who is also the new co-chair of the Wilde Lake revitalization committee.

Sharing the vision

Columbia residents will have an opportunity to meet Debby McCarty, new president of the Columbia Association, at a reception Oct. 1 at Slayton House.

Sponsored by the Columbia Council, the free event will begin with dessert at 7: 30 p.m. A community forum will follow from 8: 15 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The public is invited.

Council Chairwoman Norma Rose, a resident of Wilde Lake, said the forum "will be an opportunity for people to share their vision for Columbia and to help define the direction of the Columbia Association."

Playground restored

Students from Cedar Lane School joined officials from the county Department of Recreation and Parks to rededicate the playground at Cedar Lane Park this month.

A section of the playground was rebuilt after a fire last year that caused $25,000 damage.

Gary Arthur, Recreation and Parks acting director, and Cedar Lane Principal Nicholas Girardi dedicated a plaque stating that students from Cedar Lane School will help maintain the playground.

The school serves students with severe to profound developmental delays.

Pub Date: 9/23/98

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