Hagerstown Hopes: Open Meeting and Updates

It’s been another busy month for us at Hagerstown Hopes! We recently hosted our first ever LGBTQ+ prom, attended by dozens of young people from three states. Prom was our first event exclusively for young people in our community, and we’re glad that everyone (including the chaperones) had a great time! A lot of work went on behind the scenes to make prom a success, and we’re just getting started! If you’d like to learn more about our work, along with new opportunities to volunteer, please join us at our open meeting! Our open meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May […]

One Year Later

The last year of my life is a blur, a series of events that feels like one long day. Sure, there are highlights and landmarks, events that stand out and memories I’ll never forget; but still, all the days run together and I often find myself remembering having a conversation, but not with whom or when. Or, I remember an event, but not when it took place. It’s almost as though I’ve lost all sense of time. This occurred to me a few days ago when I was leaving a meeting at the Hagerstown Hopes Hub. We had met to […]

Breaking My Chains

Today, a guest yelled at me. Usually I deal with one to two disgruntled (re: absolutely brutish) guests on a shift. It is currently at the halfway point in my shift this evening, and I am on my second hand of counting individuals who just needed to use me as an emotional outlet. On one hand I am sympathetic – there is nothing more exhausting than an entire day of traveling. As someone who has been all over this country and a couple international places, traveling is exhausting. Vacationing is wonderful – the getting there is not. However, as a […]

Can You Just Walk Away?

Today I went to the hospital where our son Michael lives. He’s in his mid-20s. We adopted him as a teen, but he’s been in our lives much longer. Michael has a long history of institutional living. He struggles with severe mental health issues and has spent more of his life in psychiatric hospitals than not. For most of us, it would be difficult. For Michael, it’s familiar and comforting in many ways. Parenting a child with a serious illness, whether medical or psychiatric, is tough. And, in many cases, the parenting responsibility doesn’t disappear as the children become adults. […]

Hagerstown Hopes: Celebrates Success of First LGBTQ Prom

Planning an event is never easy. There are often many details that need to be addressed, as well as the individual needs and preferences of each guest. After all, you want everyone to have a good time. There are dietary restrictions that need to be considered, as well as dress code, parking, and transportation. Sometimes there’s even a theme that’s meant to tie all these elements together. And, during the planning of the event, there’s often an underlying fear that it won’t be fun, or worse, that nobody will show up. These were some of the concerns we at Hagerstown […]

Bye Bye Beardie

If you knew me and had to point me out in a crowd, you would probably say, “He’s the guy with the beard.” If there was any confusion, you would probably clarify with, “No, the guy with the beard. The big one,” and everyone would know who you were talking about. That’s because over the last two years my beard has become my calling card, the thing that most people associate with me. It didn’t start out that way. I had maintained a relatively neat and professional-looking beard for years because of dress codes and such. Then my barber went […]

Behind-the-Scene Heroes

My wife is the strongest person I know. If you saw her out and about, she looks like the most Clark Kent-esque person, glasses included. Besides her well-documented love of sweets, her hobbies include naps, petting cats, and destroying anyone who faces her in Mario Kart. But behind that sweet and innocent smile lies an indestructible heart of steel and a temperament that allows her to be screamed at all day long by people in the worst moments of their lives. My wife is an emergency dispatch operator and in honor of National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week (April 14th to […]

In Praise of Adoption

Adoption! The word brings up so many thoughts, emotions, and opinions. As an adopted person, with many adopted children, I think I’ve seen just about all of the sides to domestic (US only) adoption. I was adopted through the Children’s Home Society in Virginia. My birthmother knew that she did not want to raise a child on her own, so I was an intentional placement. The rules at the time required that I live with my birthmother for a month, then live in foster care for two months prior to moving in with my adoptive family. I’ve met my birthmother. […]

Hagerstown Hopes: Nights Out, Pride, and More!

We at Hagerstown Hopes would like to begin this article by thanking you, our readers, and the community for your continued support. Since we branched out into community outreach and began developing programs and resources, we’ve been blessed to have been supported by so many people in so many ways. None of our work would be possible without you, and we hope you’ll be pleased with the work we’ve doing and the progress we’ve been making. Our recent Grease-themed drag bingo event, in partnership with For Otis Sake Rescue, Inc. was a huge success. All 350 tickets (and every last […]

The Importance of Prom

Do you remember the advice you were given when you were a teenager? I do. Lots of adults – whether they were parents, teachers, or family friends – all shared similar words of wisdom, most of which began with the word “don’t”: Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t do drugs. Don’t have sex (or don’t have sex without protection). Looking back, it seems that most of the advice I was given was about what not to do. On the rare occasion that the advice was meant to encourage me to do something, it was usually practical things like working hard and […]