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 14th at the Hagerstown Hopes Hub at 6:30 pm. This will be our second open meeting at the Hub (22 North Mulberry Street, Hagerstown) in suite 016 (basement level). You can expect updates on recent events, including Washington County Gives, a fundraising event for nonprofits in Washington County, and our first ever Pride Night Out at Municipal Stadium.
We will also have a special guest at the meeting. Lt. Becky Fetchu of the Hagerstown Police Department will be joining us to listen to our concerns and answer questions about her new role as HPD’s LGBTQ liaison officer. We recently met with Lt. Fetchu and are pleased to have a supportive and affirming ally working with us. In her role as liaison officer, Lt. Fetchu will be the go-to for all police matters affecting the LGBTQ community. Though she will not personally handle every case involving a member of our community, she will provide education, trainings, and resources for all officers to ensure that our community is treated fairly and with dignity and respect. Should there be any concerns, Lt. Fetchu will address them and act as a liaison. We hope you’ll join us in welcoming Lt. Fetchu to the community and supporting her as she works to ensure that all members of our community feel safe and protected.
There are also a number of exciting new developments we look forward to telling you about. We’re making significant progress in developing our youth group, thanks to feedback from some of our guests at the prom. Now that we know what the youth want, we’re putting finishing touches on a number of details. We’re hoping to have an information session for youth in the month of June, so please stay posted for updates.
Now that we’ve laid the foundation for our outreach services and events, we expect to have many more opportunities for volunteers. We hope you’ll join us at the open meeting to tell us about yourself and how you’d like to be involved with Hagerstown Hopes. We’d also like to hear the community so we know how to better serve you. If you aren’t able to attend the meeting, please feel free to reach out to us through Facebook or our website, HagerstownHopesMD.org
We’re also continuing our outreach work with Shepherd University. We were asked to participate in the planning of a series of events for the fall semester to address diversity, inclusiveness, and empowerment. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to work with young adults and provide the information and resources necessary to promote understanding and acceptance.
We’re also making it easier to stay up-to-date on our work and what we’re doing in the community. The Hagerstown Hopes newsletter is now up and running and will be sent to our email list at the beginning of every month. Each edition of the newsletter contains updates on our work, opportunities to get involved, and a list of upcoming events. There are several ways to sign up for the newsletter via our website: HagerstownHopesMD.org
Mark your calendars for Hagerstown Pride! Hagerstown Pride is scheduled for July 13th. The theme is “Love Grows” in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that launched the fight for LGBTQ civil rights. We hope to see you there!
- Brian George Hose has been an advocate for LGBTQ persons and issues all his adult life. He holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Shepherd University and looks forward to pursuing a Master's of Social Work with a focus in mental health. A former musician, Brian served as minister of music for New Light MCC for several years and incorporates music into social work practice. He lives in rural Western Maryland where he has amassed a sinful number of books, yarn, and books about yarn. He has been writing for Baltimore Out Loud since February 2016.