GETTING IT RIGHT
WHEN IT COMES TO GIFTS, SOMETIMES WE KNOW OURSELVES BEST
In 2000, Casey Baynes went from running her family warehouse business to founding Casey Cares Foundation, a charitable nonprofitthat provides programs for critically ill children and their families. It was a dramatic career change but not totally unexpected given Baynes’ involvement with critically ill children.
“I was volunteering for a wish organization, where you arrange for whatever the child wishes, and then you back off,” says Baynes, who wanted more of an ongoing relationship. “I started Casey Cares to give the families what they wanted.” Turns out, the families’ wishes weren’t complicated at all. With a child in and out of hospitals, battling for life, they just wanted normal family time, says Baynes, 36, an Ellicott City resident whose “smile” programs arranges quiet events like movie and pizza night.
Since its founding, Casey Cares has brought more than 10,000 “smiles” to children in the mid-Atlantic region through contacts with hospitals and social workers and through its website, caseycaresfoundation. org. Programs are free to families and children. Corporate sponsors, donations and grants fund the foundation; volunteers run the programs.
“I get up every morning and think, ‘What can we do to make the lives of these children better?'” says Baynes, whose Casey Cares serves 550 families. “It’s unbelievable how many people have come together to make this foundation a success.”
A larger headquarters – at least double the size of its current office – with plenty of parking and a kid-friendly reception area would be ideal. Downtown Baltimore or, in Howard County, Columbia or Ellicott City, would work well.
“We’re bursting at the seams,” Baynes says of the current Baltimore County location. “We have 12 volunteers who come to the office every week and hundreds of volunteers who help with various events.”
Baynes works full-time as Casey Cares executive director. That leaves little time for herself and, like many career women, a challenge to find time for her husband and three young children. “We’re all so busy,” says Baynes, who for herself would like a home spinning bike and a home/ work balance for the family.
Baynes would like to expand Casey Cares Foundation beyond its current mid-Atlantic reach but without losing its “personal touch.” For such an expansion, she says, nationwide corporate support would be needed.
Race Pace Bicycles – sells stationary and spinning bikes. Spinning bikes start at about $600. Outdoor athletes might consider an indoor trainer, to use off-season. The contraption turns a bicycle into an indoor exercise machine, starting at $150. Columbia and Ellicott City. racepacebicycles.com *Life Path Counseling Services, LLC and Family FUNctions, LLC – Barbara Polonsky, a clinical social worker, offers life coaching at $140 for the first session, $125 per following sessions, although fees vary. Columbia, 410-227-9074. *Abby Glassberg – of Howard County is first vice president of CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) a commercial real estate company. Baltimore. cbre.us *The Decorating Therapist Children respond to color, says Carol Weil, the Decorating Therapist, who picks warm yellows, blues, reds and greens for a kid-friendly reception area. Child-sized seating, a basket of toys and a bookcase of picture books finish the look, for from $100 to $500. Columbia. thedecoratingtherapist.com
Delores King Williams
Ask Delores King Williams her age and she’ll tell you, “We actors don’t even talk about that. We’re whatever you need us to be.” That explains the 35-50 posting next to age on her theatrical resume. “In the theater world, age is not chronological. It signifies the range of characters you can play,” she says.
While Williams takes on the character roles and never gets a shot at the ingénue in her work with the popular musical political satire group, Capitol Steps, she nevertheless says that this niche allows character actors to work forever. “I think now,” she says laughing, “maybe I could do 35 to 55.”
The Catonsville native, wife and mother, was bitten by the acting bug at age 12. The movie, “The Sting,” “turned my world upside down,” she says. With an acting career in mind, Delores studied at The Peabody Institute, learning early that she needed to know how to sing, dance and act. She graduated, ultimately finding her niche in live performances, particularly musicals. “Capitol Steps combines all of that,” she points out. “And we make people laugh, too. What’s better than that?”
Williams’ first big gig came in her early 20s, when she was cast as lead dancer in the Australian tour of “Porgy and Bess” with the Washington Opera. And, recently, she took a turn as a writer, creating a cabaret about the life of big band singer and songwriter, Peggy Lee. “I love telling stories,” she says. “A melody will get me first but the song has to have a really great lyric. Words have always captured me.”
– Allegra Bennett
“A big dream of mine is for every child to feel love as they are growing up so they can reach their full potential. If children can reach their fullest potential then maybe we can have world peace.”
“In our business we fly a lot but you never know when you have to drive. I’d love to have a practical, new car that can be reliable in tough weather. I’m looking at the Subaru Forester.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake, Inc. biglittle.org *Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, Inc. cctarts.com *Drama Learning Center dramalearningcenter. com *EMC Performing Arts Studio danceemc. com *The Black Box Theater. danceemc. com *Maryland Music Academy marylandmusic. com*Russel Subaru russelsubaru.com *Jim Coleman Honda jimcolemanhonda.com *Ourisman Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram ourismanchrysler.com *Apple Ford appleford. com*Red Door Spa reddoorspas.com *Oasis Day Spa dayspaoasis.com *The Spa at Turf Valley turfvalley.com*Farashé farashe.com*Pearl Spa thepearlspa. com *Stillpoint Spa stillpointmindandbody.com
As the executive director of the Howard County Arts Council for the past 15 years, Coleen West has led the organization in developing new ways to enhance the arts in our community. The Arts Council provides grants, raises arts awareness through advocacy and promotion, and brings together diverse artists and audiences to increase the public’s appreciation of the arts.
West is an artist-turned-arts administrator and advocate who began her career as a painter and printmaker. During her tenure, the Arts Council has increased its range and reach – establishing artist-in-residence programs in the county’s public schools, granting funds to organizations for specific programs and scholarships, and opening its Ellicott City headquarters to more local artists and groups, such as the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company and the Columbia Orchestra.
The organization and its dynamic director relentlessly seek out arts advocates and volunteers. “Experiences in the arts are not only vital to personal and community wellness, and fulfillment,” says West. “Personal involvement and input are critical components of a healthy and vibrant arts community.”
– Harriet Meyers
“Somehow, I missed out on the junior-year-abroad experience. I would like to rent a villa and study abroad for a year or two.”
“There are so many worthwhile things happening in the arts in our region. I would like to have more time in the day to balance my personal and professional lives, so I could take in and enjoy more of the exhibits and performances that are available.”
“My parents recently sold our family cabin on Daisy Island on Lake Vermilion, Minnesota. It is a rustic, peaceful place full of memories and the one thing I really wish I could have.”
Vacation Rentals By Owner – VRBO helps you find a place to stay where you most want to be–throughout the U.S. and the world–including lake cottages, mountain cabins, beachfront condos, city lofts, farmhouses and even houseboats. vrbo.com *Howard Community College – HCC offers a variety of study abroad programs, including some in Bermuda, China, England, Denmark, France, Ireland and Spain, and they are open to students and community members on a credit or noncredit basis. howardcc.edu/academics/international/office_international_education/study_abroad.html *Road ScholarTM – Want to learn about the history and culture of Honduras or get an insider’s perspective of London theater? You can support your love of livelong learning and vacation with Road ScholarTM, an educational travel company that offers tours in all 50 states and 150 countries. roadscholar.org
Dr. Chandana Chatterjee
Dr. Chandana Chatterjee is in a unique position to welcome some of the newest members of the Howard County community. As a pediatrician practicing with Kenneth M. Klebanow, M.D., & Associates, P.A., for the past 23 years, she has cared for hundreds of area babies and children, and provided encouragement and support for parents.
In addition to “loving kids,” Dr. Chatterjee says that getting to know the children and their parents and becoming part of the family is the most rewarding part of her profession. “I always say that in order to take care of the kids, you also have to take care of the parents. Being part of that interaction and watching the children grow is a beautiful experience.”
Dr. Chatterjee spends the little free time she has mentoring local high school students who are interested in becoming doctors and volunteering at women’s shelters that are part of an international nonprofit, Embracing the World, which is dedicated to helping meet the needs of the world’s poor populations. She has received the “Patients’ Choice Award” and “Compassionate Doctor Recognition.”
Let’s get moving
“To work in a remote area with poor children and help improve their lives; to run a workshop for nervous new parents and empower them; and to encourage children to exercise rather than sitting in front of computer and television screens. I also want to help children understand the importance of volunteering from a young age — my two children are still in college, but they are already dedicated volunteers.”
“My husband and I consider ourselves privileged, and we don’t want anything. However, I do get grumpy when I don’t go to the gym.”
Coreworks Fitness – offers a variety of group, private and semi-private training classes and specializes in Pilates, yoga and Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning. Columbia. coreworksfitness.com *Colosseum Gym – since 1993 the gym has offered members fitness training to the average person and the “highly fit” – power lifters and Olympic lifters. Columbia. colosseumgym.com*The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics – a nonprofit organization that advocates for and supports the needs of Free and Charitable Clinics and the people served by them throughout the U.S. Its workforce includes doctors, dentists and other health care professionals. Alexandria, Va. nafcclinics.org
When Sue Song moved to Columbia in 1981, it was a very different place than it is now. “I saw so many Korean Americans who were struggling to adjust in the community and had difficulty assimilating with the mainstream culture,” she says. The Korean American population here has grown dramatically since then, representing about 4.3 percent of the population in 2010 – a little more than 212,000 people. Song has made it her mission to bridge the gaps between Korean Americans and the rest of society. In 2006, she was elected president of the Korean American Community Association (KACA) in Howard County, a position that has helped her raise awareness and resources in the area.
Song is particularly proud of the partnership between KACA and Lorien Health System, called Care Line. The phone service connects elderly Korean Americans and their families with culturally sensitive long-term care resources in the area. Before this program, Song says, older people had to seek facilities outside of Maryland to meet their needs.
Song says she is grateful for the support she has received in her efforts. Local government and residents, she says, are open-minded in matters of diversity. Howard County, with all its cultural diversity, is an ideal place for a “cultural connecter between Korea and the U.S,” she says.
– Elizabeth Brunetti
“Enjoy the freedom of choice. This is very important for me. When I grew up in South Korea, we didn’t have much freedom as women and I didn’t have a choice for anything about my life path. Maybe there was a choice but I was not able to take it … because we have a social value that women have to obey.”
“Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to have an island to myself. There is an island, called Jea Ju Island which is located between Korea and Japan. Most of the woman on that island are so strong and need to find food from the sea to survive; [they] have to work all day long at sea. I wanted to have that island.”
“I would like to be an excellent cultural ambassador who will provide resources from the U.S. to other non-English-speaking populations, helping them to understand a different culture in such a way that they can adapt to the community.”
Blue Skies Travel – travel agency providing vacation packages for individuals, families, groups and honeymooners. Columbia. blueskiestravel.net *Destinations Incorporated – travel planning services that include cruises, golfing and holiday getaways.Ellicott City. destinationsInc.travel*Korean American Community Association of Howard County – online resource center for Koreans living in Howard County, kacahi.org, email@example.com *Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs – online resource page regarding the social, cultural and business issues of Asian Pacific Americans asian.maryland.gov/resources.html *FIRN –nonprofit organization in Howard County committed to helping foreign-born individuals find resources in the area that include citizenship classes, tutoring, interpreting and translation services. firnonline.org
Anna Katz says she would rather not see homeless people in her workplace anymore. But, she means it in a good way. As coordinator of the Grassroots Crisis organization’s Cold Weather Shelter (CWS), Katz, 46, knows that having no guests means CWS has fulfilled its mission to help families get back on their feet.
“It’s one thing to talk about the homeless and even see them on the street,” she says. “It is a different story when you talk with them and hear their stories.” Katz’s Master of Business Administration degree from American University prepared her for the business end of the work she does at CWS. Still, she says “I kind of fell into the job” at the Grassroots Crisis organization, when she began working there in 1994. She’s worked there ever since, taking only a two-year break for family.
In 2000 Grassroots asked her to coordinate their new initiative providing cold weather shelter. She had two kids at home at the time, but was able to work from home, she says, “So it worked well for me.”
Working for CWS affects both Katz and the volunteers personally, she says. “Many times I would go into work at the shelter then come home to tuck my kids into bed. I think: they have beds and are thinking about what they are going to do at school the next day … the kids at the CWS are sleeping on a church floor wondering what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
It is the kind of contrast that Katz says makes her grateful. “What I do directly impacts people’s lives. I have to do a good job. If I do a crummy job running the shelter, people are going to have a really bad experience.”
“I wish I could clone myself so I could do more. I’m only here part time for 20 hours a week and I’m also the business manager. One of me would be here doing the work that piles up and another one of me would be with my kids all the time doing all the things that we can’t quite get done with them, Boy Scouts and volunteer stuff.”
“I wish I could create more funding for more people so we don’t have to make the tough decisions of who do we put up for shelter, whose bills do we pay to keep lights on.”
“I would be relaxing, reading a book, scrapbooking and doing whatever else I never seem to have enough time to do for myself.”
Howard County Grassroots Crisis organization’s Intervention Center Cold Weather Shelter – 24-hour crisis intervention center for people needing a place to sleep. Columbia. grassrootcrisis.org *Associated Black Charities (ABC) – foundation advocating for higher education, career advancement and health equity for African-Americans and the broader community. Baltimore. abc-md. org *Women’s Shelters – online list of emergency shelters, housing and residential treatment centers for women and families. womenshelters.org *Community Foundation of Howard County, Inc. – organization dedicated to improving communities through grants and scholarships. cfhoward.org *Women’s Giving Circle – a community of philanthropists that addresses the needs of women and girls in Howard County. Columbia. womensgivingcircle.org *Creative Memories – website with ideas and supplies for making scrapbooks. creativememories. com *Scrapbooking – website with articles, techniques and supplies for scrapbooking. scrapbooking.com*Baltimore/Columbia Scrapbooking Meetup – online source for finding likeminded scrap bookers. meetup. com/scrapbook-113
Dr. Kathleen Hetherington
Dr. Kathleen Hetherington became the fourth president of Howard Community College (HCC) in 2007. She is the first in the school’s 42-year history to have begun an academic career at a community college.
Under Hetherington’s leadership, HCC has grown to enroll more than 30,000 credit and noncredit students annually. The college has received accolades as a National Security Agency Center of Excellence, has earned a spot on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and is the Heiskell Award Winner for Innovation in International Education. The school is also recognized as a Great College to Work For by “The Chronicle of Higher Education.”
Hetherington was appointed by the governor to serve on the Maryland Education Council, is a member of the board of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and serves on numerous boards at the local, regional and national level. “The Daily Record” has twice named her one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women.
The busy college president still finds time to give one-on-one attention to students. As an HCC Step UP Coach, an award-winning program that pairs students with a faculty or staff member, she helps students manage college. “Interacting with students gives me a better understanding of the problems and challenges they face every day,” she says.
“As time goes by, my need and desire for material things has decreased, unless you are talking about shoes.”
“I am a runner, and I have a number of races scheduled, including the Philly Half-Marathon. I want to stay injury-free while training and be ready to enjoy the experience.”
“I hope that more Howard County residents will continue to see HCC as an affordable option for an excellent education taught by top-notch faculty in their own community for their first two years of college.”
Howard County Community College howardcc.edu *Feet First Sports – shoes for running, tennis, soccer, lacrosse, football and other sports, and nutrition products. Hickory Ridge Village Center, Columbia. feetfirstsports. com *Charm City Run – gear for runners and walkers and holds events such as injury prevention clinics and fun runs. Clarksville. charmcityrun.com *The Columbia Association – offers personal training programs with trainers who provide the knowledge, guidance and motivation to help you meet your personal fitness goals. *Columbia Association Personal Training Program, Columbia Athletic Club, Columbia Gym and Supreme Sports Club. columbiaassociation. org *Fitness Together – provides customized fitness and nutrition with a personal trainer. Ellicott City. fitnesstogether. com/ellicottcity *39 Minute Workout – fitness in less than 2 hours a week. Ellicott City. 39minuteworkout. com *Synergy Women’s Fitness – classes include Zumba, spinning, step, boxercise and yoga. Columbia. synergywomensfitness.com
Every year at Thanksgiving, Courtney Watson pulls out the turkey-shaped place cards that her children made years ago by tracing their hands and uses them to set places for the three dozen or so guests she hosts at her home every year for the great feast.
Preparing the holiday meal, she says, “is quite a feat. I couldn’t do it without the help of my husband and children.” Her youngest child is now in high school, and Watson has worked diligently to teach them the motto that she lives by: “magis.” She learned the Latin expression for “do more” and began to practice it during her own studies at Loyola University in Baltimore.
“My parents taught me that the heart of a great community is an involved community,” says Watson. For her, community involvement has revolved around education. Watson and other concerned parents have worked to reduce overcrowding and increase funding for public schools in Howard County, resulting in one of the most successful and sought-after school systems in the area. Watson was elected to the county’s Board of Education and served as Board Chairman for two years. Watson currently serves on the County Council, and in the coming year she is planning a run for the County Executive’s seat.
During the holidays, it’s all about family for Watson. On her side of the family alone, her children have 22 cousins – the days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are packed with get-togethers, trips and just spending quality time together. She has a particular fondness for the poinsettia tree at The Mall in Columbia. “Since I was little,” she recalls, “it was the community’s unique way of celebrating. It’s still something we look forward to seeing each year.”
“The winter solstice and the holidays that surround it, including Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza have a common theme – the celebration of light and hope. My wish is that each of us is filled with that spirit of light and hope throughout the year and that it guides us in all that we do.”
“I read a lot, but rarely for pleasure and would like to read more for fun. I would love good book recommendations to share with my 10 girlfriends from college when we get together each year.”
“I come from a long line of Oriole baseball fans in my family. I was a senior at Loyola in 1983 when the Orioles won the World Series and it was quite a thrill for the city and state. I would love to see the Orioles win the World Series so the younger generation could experience that thrill, including my son, who plays college baseball now.”
Tickets to the Orioles orioles.mlb.com/tickets *Orioles Dream Week – 1/26 thru 2/1, 2014 in Sarasota, Fla.firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter your baseball skills, live the Major League ball player life for a week – work alongside Orioles players, play at Orioles facilities. Package includes round-trip air fare, accommodations, and breakfast and lunch each day. $4,299. Adults 30 and older only. *Orioles license plates Download application at http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/bal/fan_forum/license.jsp*Books With a Past – used bookstore with 75,000 volumes in stock from a variety of genres. The shop also hosts workshops and events. Glenwood. store.bookswithapast.com *Daedalus Books & Music – Books, music and DVDs at up to 90 percent off retail prices. A warehouse-style location with an extensive selection. Columbia. daedalusbooks.com *bookclub.meetup.com join others in the Howard County area for readings, book clubs and all things literary. *goodreads.com Social networking for bookworms. *modernlibrary.com The “modern library of the world’s best books.”
Diana Ulman community comes first. A Howard County resident since the early 1970s, she has devoted her life to social justice and community service, a calling that she has worked hard to instill in her own children. “I’ve always told my kids to take a stand on important issues,” she says. “To speak out when they feel there’s injustice or something that could be improved.”
Ulman’s commitment has paid off; her son Ken is Howard County executive (and his wife, Jaki, is, as Diana puts it, an “unsung hero” of Howard County for her involvement in charitable work – including the local food bank – and promoting county events). Diana’s other son Doug is president and CEO of the LIVESTRONG Foundation and lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and their two children. Awareness of others’ needs has even reached Diana’s two oldest grandchildren. Ken and Jaki’s 12- and 7-year-old daughters organized an event that raised more than $1,000 for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Diana herself is co-founder and board member of the Ulman fund and over the last 10 years has helped it grow from a completely grassroots, unpaid endeavor to a thriving organization with more than 18 staff members and countless volunteers.
When she’s not working with the Ulman fund, Diana nurtures her other passion – art. Ulman’s work ranges from drawing and painting to interior design. She serves on the board of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore – with a personal mission to make the Walters more aware of the arts in Howard County, while ensuring that Howard County residents are aware of all that the Walters has to offer; thanks to her efforts, the museum hosts an annual reception and tour for those in the county.
Ulman spends as much time as possible with her children and grandchildren. “We’re a very close family,” she says. “The more time I can spend with my family, the happier I am.” Diana Ulman lives a full life, and she sums it up simply: “I’m very lucky, and I’m never bored.”
Beam me up
“I wish there was a button I could push to be back and forth from Austin to Columbia in an instant. Either that or to be able to pull them
back together so we’re all together.”
back together so we’re all together.”
Paint the town
My painting. One of my goals is to market myself to more galleries, get my art out more in the world.”
Year ’round caring
“Consideration for others – all throughout the year, not just during the holidays. People are just as hungry in the spring; they need just as much. I wish we could all put ourselves in others’ shoes instead of just judging them – I think it would help us respond to people in a more positive way.”
We haven’t reached Star Trek transporter technology yet, but these web services allow us to press another kind of button to connect with loved ones in an instant: Skype.com – free internet calls and video chatting. *Google+ – “hangouts” allow up to 10 parties to video chat at the same time *ooVoo – free app for iOS and Android, also integrates easily with Facebook *Tango – free app for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone – very user-friendly *Apple Store – The Mall in Columbia, Columbia. apple.com/retail/columbia *Artist’s Gallery of Columbia – artist co-op in Columbia; exhibits rotated on a monthly basis. Columbia. artistsgallerycolumbia.com *Art-Collecting.com/galleries_md.htm – list of and links to art galleries throughout Maryland. *DianaUlman.com – Diana’s personal webpage, featuring her portfolio, designs and special events information.
Lois Mikkila has been praised as a passionate professional who devoted the majority of her professional career to serving those in need. As director of Howard County’s Department of Citizen Services since February, 2010, she’s always working. The department, which deals with the county’s human service programs, also administers and oversees the county’s grants to nonprofits.
Maintaining a busy calendar of meetings to ensure that services are available requires a tough, focused mind. Still, Mikkila thinks most people would be surprised to learn, “how emotional I am,” she said. “I cry at Hallmark commercials.”
A graduate of Western Illinois University and a mother to a son and two stepchildren, Mikkila, 59, lives in Howard County with her partner of 24 years, Yvonne Howard, whom she married in January “thanks to the General Assembly and Maryland voters,” she says. The most important thing to her, she says, is “my family and being there for them when they need me.”
Before working for the county government, Mikkila worked for Volunteer Maryland, an AmeriCorps Program, and Maryland Works Inc., an association of nonprofit organizations that offer employment support for people with disabilities.
Even after a rigorous work week, Mikkila says, she wouldn’t mind spending more time working in the garden. And if she were not afraid, she says, “I’d ride a bicycle.”
Level the playing field
“I’d like the ability to create a community in which everyone – regardless of income, skin color, gender, disability, family circumstances – has a fair shot at a good life. And world peace!”
“I would take the time to curl up with a good novel on the weekend.”
“I’d love a pair of jeans that fit and look good.” And, “Would it be too much to ask for them to make me look 10 pounds thinner?”
UNICEF – the United Nations Children’s Fund provides health care, clean water, education and emergency relief for children in more than 190 countries. unicefusa.org *Save the Children – this organization serves children in more than 120 countries by protecting them from exploitation and helping them get access to education and health care. savethechildren. org *Maryland Children’s Alliance – a nonprofit organization that helps abused and neglected children. Children can seek help at any of the 21 Child Advocacy centers throughout Maryland. mdcha.org *Maryland CASA Association – Court Appointed Special Advocates this nonprofit association seeks to ensure that abused and neglected children have an advocate that looks out for their needs in court. marylandcasa.org *Howard County Library – named 2013 Library of the Year out of 21,000 libraries in North America by the “Library Journal.” It has more than one million items throughout its six branches. hclibrary.org *Barnes & Noble Booksellers – not just books, but magazines, toys and games. The store also holds storytimes and special events for children. Ellicott City. barnesandnoble.com*Not Your Daughter’s Jeans – sold at various stores, the website touts jeans in all colors, washes and trends. nydj.com *Liquid Blue Denim Boutique – carries celebrity favorite brands of jeans and offers fittings, alternations and repairs. Fulton. liquidbluedenim.com *Simply Divine Boutique – owned by a mother-daughter team the boutique aims to provide a wardrobe that fits a woman’s style. Fulton. simplydivineboutique.com
Much like the libraries she passionately promotes, Valerie Gross’ life consists of a little bit of everything. “I’ve been fortunate to hold leadership roles in business, law, nonprofit and public library settings,” she says. Gross grew up in Switzerland, taught English in China, and even holds a Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory, where she trained as an opera singer.
President and CEO of Howard County Library System (HCLS) since 2001, Gross takes special pride in helping to reposition the library system as an educational institution, an accomplishment that captured the attention of “Library Journal.” The HCLS received the journal’s 2013 Library of the Year award, beating out 21,000 other public library systems in North America.
Under Gross’ leadership, the number of items borrowed has doubled to 7.4 million in the last year, and both the number of visitors and class and event attendance have tripled. Gross spends as much time as possible promoting libraries as settings for education – she has presented more than 50 workshops, seminars and presentations in 42 states and Canada.
Gross and her family have lived in Howard County for 12 years. “We have the best neighbors anyone could ask for,” she says. She even loves the deer who visit her back yard. “Even though they eat our hostas, I still love them,” she says. Gross and her family enjoy attending concerts, the Festival of the Arts and visiting Historic Ellicott City. Gross also enjoys yoga and cycling classes at the Columbia Association Athletic Club.
“To be a major player in improving education for everyone in the United States.”
“I’d like to board a NASA space shuttle for an adventure to the moon.”
“I wish for a world where every country on every continent places top priority on providing education for everyone – no exceptions for gender or class – because only through education can we achieve world peace.”
Robinson Nature Center – offers astronomy programs throughout the year, including presentations in its NatureSphere digital planetarium and guided nighttime stargazing expeditions. Columbia. co.ho. md.us/robinsonnaturecenter. htm *Howard Astronomical League – member benefits include monthly meetings with special guest speakers. Early spring 2014, will begin construction on Alpha Ridge observatory, which will eventually house the Watson telescope. The league hosts “Star Parties” at Alpha Ridge Park from March through November. howardastro. org *NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – the visitor’s center will delight space lovers of all ages with interactive exhibits, displays and presentations. Greenbelt. nasa. gov/centers/goddard*Howard County Library –classes, events and community education information. It has more than one million items throughout its six branches. hclibrary.org*Howard County Well & Wise – health education partnership between Howard County General Hospital and the Howard County library. hocowellandwise. org *Friends of Howard County Library – a nonprofit organization that supports HCLS. The organization offers a variety of membership levels and benefits. Columbia. jointhefriends.org *HCLS Project Literacy – teaches basic reading, writing and math skills to adults who live or work in Howard County.
Beverly White-Seals is president and CEO of The Columbia Foundation, an organization that raises, manages and distributes funds to support Howard County nonprofits that deliver human services, arts and cultural, educational and civic programs. She and her husband, Jerry, moved to Columbia in 1979 when she became an attorney with The Rouse Company.
Since that time, “whether spearheading powerful campaigns or raising millions of dollars, Beverly has changed Howard County for the better,” said Earl Armiger, past chair of The Columbia Foundation’s board of trustees. She co-chaired Howard County General Hospital’s capital campaign, which raised $30 million for the hospital’s expansion and renovation, and is a trustee and past board chair for the hospital. White-Seals has been inducted into the Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame and received the Governor’s Award for her efforts on behalf of county residents.
“If pressed, I guess I’d like a new kitchen or a screened-in porch.”
“For Howard County to become the most philanthropic county in the U.S. Even though we’re at the top of the charts in so many ways, there are those in our community who continue to face the challenges of homelessness, hunger, poverty, isolation, sexual abuse, substance abuse and domestic violence. We have the financial resources and the education to do better.”
“I studied Russian in high school and college, but have totally lost any proficiency I had when I used to translate letters written in Russian to Jim Rouse. I would love to get back to understanding the language again.”
Sub-Zero & Wolf Showroom by Fretz – has full-scale settings to help you visualize your dream kitchen. Columbia. fretz.com *McWhorter Outdoor Living – designs and builds decks, porches, sunrooms and patios for enjoying the outdoors.Clarksville. decksofmaryland.com*Brothers Services Co. – home improvement company specializing in roofing and remodeling. Columbia. brothersservices. com *Transforming Architecture – owner Karen Pitsy offers residential and commercial design services. Highland. transformingarchitecture.com *Howard Community College World Languages – the college’s website has information about the many language courses offered. Columbia. howardcc.edu/academics/academic_ divisions/english/instructional/languages/
Regina Mc Carthy
There’s a whole new way of thinking about food – thanks to people like Regina Mc Carthy. As director of marketing for Friends & Farms, her goal is to educate and inform about an alternative locally sourced food system that benefits both the farmer and the public.
Headquartered in Columbia, Friends & Farms was founded in 2012. Mc Carthy, a Towson University communications major, joined the organization a year later, in 2013, after working at the Maryland Wineries Association, where she promoted the local wine industry and became acquainted with the local agricultural community.
“The opportunity to join the staff came up,” says Mc Carthy, a Crofton, Maryland, native, 27 and married. “It was a natural transition for me.”
Since its start, Friends & Farms’ customer base has grown from 25 to nearly 400. Pick-up sites, where customers collect weekly baskets of fresh produce, bread and dairy, now include Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties and Baltimore City.
Mc Carthy works with about 70 local farmers along with local bakeries, creameries, meat processors, fisherman and honey- and jam-makers to supply the year-round baskets. Baskets cost $43 to $86 per week, depending on size. Selections vary with the seasons.
“Every week when customers come to pick up their food, they’re excited to see the new produce items,” says Mc Carthy, whose website offers recipes and cooking tips. “They can test out new items. They know where the food is coming from.”
Friends & Farms represents a trend that is growing nationwide, according to Mc Carthy. “There is a demand for real food, for local food,” she says. “It’s a new relationship between food and consumer.”
Mc Carthy wants a more transparent and accessible food system, a wish, she says, that is both job related and personal. An organization like Friends & Farms is an opportunity for people to learn about their food – where it comes from, how to prepare it.
“Ultimately it results in a healthier food environment for consumers and producers,” she says.
Mc Carthy belongs to Life Time Athletic, in Columbia, where for the past year she’s been attending yoga classes twice a week. “I want to get to the next level,” she says.
Mc Carthy’s husband, Jason, is a native of Cork, Ireland, and they enjoy visiting his family. The city is located in County Cork, in the southern part of the country, and is the site of Blarney Castle. Smaller than Dublin but bigger than Galway, the city has “lots of art, theater and restaurants,” she says. But the best part is the people. “They make the country as charming as it is.”
Destinations, Inc. – Owner Lynda Maxwell says prices vary by season. In January, round-trip airfare from Baltimore to Shannon Airport, Ireland, runs $797 per person on United Airlines. Other prices: from Shannon, three-day car rental, $300; four-star hotel in Cork, $375 to $525 for three nights including breakfast. Ellicott City. destinationsinc.travel *Lifetime Athletic (aka Lifetime Fitness) Columbia. lifetimefitness.com/en/clubs/columbia-md/your-lt. html *Stillpoint Yoga – offers several styles of yoga. Highland. thestillpointyoga.com *Bikram Yoga College of India – classes open to all levels of experience. Columbia. bikramyogacolumbia. com *The Yoga Center of Columbia – offers classes in yoga, qigong and meditation. Columbia. columbiayoga.com