Off To A Busy Beginning!

 “Thank you for today’s fair. Christmas did not come for me this year.
Today it finally has.”

Shared by a Mom at our January Sharing Fair

I often think that some times of the year will be less busy than other times, and I am always wrong. The needs of families only seem to grow. Once again, so many highlights, but I will share but a few.

2019 Report To The Community– While we are busy working on our mission, we have little time to reflect on all we do. This year, for the very first time, we put together a review of the past year. It was written to show our supporters what we have accomplished. However, it has served a second purpose. It has allowed us to reflect as a group and bask in all accomplishments. We have been amazed. I am asking anyone who reads this Blog to go to the front of our website, and find the link. It is a report well worth reading and it has received an incredible number of positive comments. One thing is for sure; COIPP is working hard to reach a large number of children and families and we do so in a wide variety of ways. 

Sharing Fair for January– In January we held our first Sharing Fair for the new year at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center. We stood outside giving away hand tied blankets, hygiene supplies, coats, shoes, boots, scarves and more to those children and caregivers visiting a loved one in jail. From the time we opened at 8:30, until we were done about 1:00 when nothing was left, we were busy. In all, we were able to serve about 30 families with a total of over 70 children. People were so excited to ‘shop’; the ‘thank you’s’ were many. It was a very cold morning, freezing in fact, but between the resources we were giving away, the cookies that one of our volunteers, Dawn Aburto had baked for everyone, and the energy of the COIPP volunteers, it was absolutely an amazing morning. Extra thanks goes to Pat Einhorn, our Sharing Fair leader.

Elections and New Board Members– Our January meeting is one of the most important of the year. It is when we elect both the members of the Executive Board and vote on new board members. This seems to be the perfect place to introduce our officers for 2020. They are: Sally Smith, President; Pat Rosensteel, Vice President; Greta Benson, Recording Secretary; Shirley White, Corresponding Secretary, and Jessica Sedjwick, Treasurer. In addition, we have some new Board members. They are Cathy Anderson, Ally Elspas, and Larissa Metzger. We are ready for whatever the new year brings. 

One on One Meetings– We always invite those who we meet when they are in jail to allow us to treat for coffee/lunch when they are released. It lets us have a different kind of conversation, and talk about the issues involved in reconnecting. Many of the participants plan to do so, but they move on in their lives. Some move away. Others want to leave the jail memories behind. However, a few do follow up. January was no different. In fact Cathy Anderson and I were able to meet twice with one of our Parenting from Afar class graduates.  We are so proud of her-and she feels that this is the right time for her to begin a new life.  Nothing is better than witnessing a small victory.  

New Office– In early January, we became the proud renters of a large office in the Federated Charities Building. While it may seem to some that this is no reason for bells and whistles, this is a major COIPP milestone. Since our inception about 16 years ago, we have never had an office space. We have a post office mailbox, a Storage Unit, and the use of my tiny vestibule, where resources are always left off by those who want to give us donations. We meet at one another’s house, at Panerras, and really at any place with Wi-Fi. Now we have an actual office- and it stands for so many things. It is a sign of our having come into our own, it lets us know the overwhelming need in the community for COIPP, and it is a resource for us to grow into.  We are beyond excited, and have already planned how the office space will allow us to expand our activities. Thank you Elin Ross, Director of Federated Charities, Jennifer, one of her staff members, and other renters who have greeted us with so much warmth.  

Much more has been happening. There have been speaking engagements for groups like the Frederick Women’s Civic Club and at the Friends School in Monrovia, there was a January meeting for those who want to help with the Children’s Activities Committee, and there was an invitation to attend and share at the DSS Faith Based Community Meeting. We even had an official signing of our new Memo of Understanding with Second Chance Garage.  

I would call this a very busy, fabulous month!

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