HCC awarded 2 grants of more than $150,000

Funds target nonprofits, students' mental health

April 25, 2001|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | Jamie Smith Hopkins,SUN STAFF

Howard Community College's educational foundation has won two grants - totaling more than $150,000 - for a pair of initiatives that would help nonprofits and target students' mental health.

The Horizon Foundation, Howard County's largest charity, awarded the grants 2 1/2 weeks ago after announcing that it wanted to focus on both issues.

One grant, for $24,954, will be used to study the need for a new Center for Non-Profit Education on campus.

The Horizon Foundation wants HCC to assess the educational needs of Howard County nonprofits, learn what types of training these groups use and offer recommendations. HCC intends to offer courses that could help nonprofit organizations.

The other grant - $132,000 over two years - will cover the cost of hiring a full-time mental-health counselor at HCC, which has a part-time employee in that role.

The full-time staff member will start July 1 and offer outreach, faculty and staff training, counseling, support groups and student workshops on mental health issues. That person will study successful mental health programs at other community colleges.

Janice Marks, director of academic support, counseling and career services, said full-time mental-health counseling is needed as the campus grows and changes.

With a greater number of young students enrolling at HCC, the school's counseling center is seeing more patients with suicidal thoughts, she said. Older students juggle jobs, families and classes.

"It's a community college, so we draw people that have all kinds of issues and concerns," Marks said. "Many of our students start at a pre-college level - and they work full-time, and they have stresses in their lives."

Richard M. Krieg, president of the Horizon Foundation, said his group has awarded a few grants to HCC before and was impressed by the results.

"I like to think that we have an ongoing partnership," he said. "These were projects that were priorities for the foundation, as well as priorities for the community college."

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