Spirit of giving goes to Frostburg

NEIGHBORS

August 01, 2002|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TWENTY-FOUR people from Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church in Clarksville dedicated a week of their time to repairing the homes of residents in Frostburg.

The Christians on Project Service (C.O.P.S) departed June 30, joined by volunteers from other churches at Camp Hope. Sponsored by Frostburg United Methodist Church, Camp Hope is a program in which teens ages 14 and older stay at Frostburg State University while they work on the homes of elderly, disabled or poor residents.

"It's a small college town," said trip coordinator Sherrie Rovnan. "The people who have lived there have lived there forever."

Three teams of eight teen-agers and adults from Linden-Linthicum United painted and repaired three residences. Not only did they fix houses, but they also brought joy to the residents through their generosity.

"We worked really hard and we helped other people, and it just felt great," said Janelle Mak, 15, of Ellicott City. "We got closer to God, ourselves and our friends."

Cassie Fox, 16, agreed. "It was really a rewarding experience," she said.

On her third mission, Cassie roomed with Vanessa Graham during the trip. When the group arrived that Sunday, the kids played get-to-know-you games, while the adults surveyed the work sites to determine what needed to be done.

The next day, they began working. In the evenings, local churches sponsored dinners for the group.

Participants spent more than a week on this mission. They met six months before the trip to plan and raise funds. They also spent a day in training, working for Christmas in April in Howard County.

"That's pretty amazing that kids are willing to do that," Rovnan said. "But it's rewarding for them."

Rovnan's daughter Stephanie, 16, of Ellicott City, roomed with Tori Halfman at the college. "We had a blast," Stephanie said.

But it was not just the camaraderie or water fights she enjoyed. "It makes you feel better that you can actually reach out and touch someone," Stephanie said. "The joy you bring to the people's faces -- by helping them, it enriches you."

Camp Hope counselors planned evening activities for the teen-agers. A talent show was held one evening, and a dance and games were held on others. When the teens were not working or participating in planned activities, they enjoyed talking with the other campers.

"Talking with people -- that was a big part of it," Cassie said.

Although Cassie's brother, Justin, 18, is working a summer job before he moves on to the University of Maryland in the fall, he took a break from his job to help others.

"I really had a great time this year," Justin said. "One of my favorite things about going is getting to meet the people."

Nelson Miranda and Sean Rogers roomed with Justin on his third mission with the group. Janelle's brother, Chris, 16, who roomed with Blake Johnson and Drew Lund in the dorm, helped paint, build a deck and install smoke detectors.

"It was fun," Chris said. "I really liked being with all my friends because we could talk while we worked."

Other participants were Mackenzie Hoffer, Katy Lund, Joe Maddox, Carrie Mellinger, Ryan Miranda, Jon Scheidt, Geoff Wertman, Jamie Whaley, Wayne Lund, Mary Lynn Mellinger, Heidi Fox and Jim Sanborn.

"I would encourage other people to come even if you're not affiliated with a church," Cassie said. "It's a great way to help someone less fortunate."

New kid in town

Welcome Maks Dunich to our community. Maks is an exchange student who will be coming from Ukraine to study at River Hill High School. During his visit, he will be staying with Anne and Ken Ryals of Ellicott City. Their son, Tim, is a sophomore at River Hill and plays oboe in the band.

Maks, who plays trumpet, also hopes to play in the band, but he will need a trumpet to play during his stay here.

River Hill band director Steve Wampler says that schools in Ukraine provide the instruments, so Maks does not have one.

"He will need a decent instrument rather than a beginner instrument," Wampler said. "A new instrument is in the $1,500 range."

Wampler's hope is that someone will be able to donate an instrument or funds to purchase one. If you can help, contact Wampler at wamp@com cast.net, or 410-313-7120.

Senior happenings

Seniors can take a break from their everyday activities and visit the Western Howard County Senior Center.

Regular and continuing programs such as beginning chair exercise, whole body fitness and the Happy Wanderers Walking Group are offered. Blood pressure screening is offered from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.

The center also has volunteer opportunities. Directory Betty Kay Frey says the center is in need of a historian to put together photograph albums and a volunteer to teach crafts.

They are also looking for four or five people to serve on a committee to develop programs and activities at the center.

Information: 410-313-5440.

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