We’re on a roll at Hagerstown Hopes and we’re excited to tell you all about what we’ve been up to! Earlier in the month we participated in Washington County Gives, a day of giving and fundraising for nonprofits in Washington County. The bad news is that we’re still awaiting a final total of funds raised. The good news is that the delay is due to the sponsoring organization’s calculations of matching funds, as well as cash prizes awarded for a variety of criteria. As of now, we believe we’ve raised at least $3,000. We had some of the most generous donors of any of the dozens of organizations participating and we thank everyone for your donations. We want you to know that your money will be put to good use, and we think you’ll be as happy as we are about our upcoming work.
Hagerstown Pride is scheduled for July 13th, and we’re planning a bigger, better Pride festival than last year! We’re still finalizing a few details, and we think everyone will be pleased with what we’ve got in store for you. We’ll be partnering with Beacon House to provide a kid-friendly area, complete with activities, games, and art projects. There will be food, vendors, and some top-notch entertainment all day long. We’ll be beginning Pride with our Pride Kickoff Night Out at the Gourmet Goat on June 27th from 5 to 9 pm. Come see us, get a tour of our Pride venue, and get an inside scoop on what we’re planning. We hope to see you there.
We’re also happy to announce that we’re making significant progress in our youth outreach. We’ve been working for months to create a youth program that meets the needs of young people in our community. Creating a youth program hasn’t been easy. There have been countless details to attend to, including the creation of policies to ensure the safety and privacy of queer and questioning youth. Our board of directors recently approved the policies needed to begin our youth program and we’re looking forward to our first meeting in June.
While we were developing the model for our youth group, we realized that we needed activities that would be fun, beneficial, and that encourage young people to work together and socialize. After all, one of the best ways to bring people together is to provide a common goal. So, while we worked on laying the foundation for a youth group, we also quietly began working on a plan for arts outreach that can be used for our youth group, as well as adults in our community. We’ve got some great plans for projects and activities for the local LGBTQ community as well as the wider community we call home. It’s a great way to bring people together and to provide opportunities that aren’t available in our area. We hope that these contributions will make our community a better place for everyone. We’re working on funding for some larger projects, so please stay tuned for details.
We’re also grateful to have many opportunities to participate in and give back to the community. We’ve been working with Shepherd University to create inclusive and empowering programs and activities for the fall. We’ll be working with both students and faculty to provide information about our community, as well as participating in a panel discussion about advocacy. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to reach countless people and contribute to creating inclusive and affirming spaces in neighboring communities.
There’s always something going on at Hagerstown Hopes. Our work is meant to build and strengthen our community, and we can’t do that without you. We now have a monthly newsletter that you can sign up for via our website: HagerstownHopesMD.org The newsletter includes upcoming events and ways to get involved. Please feel free to reach out to us with ideas, suggestions, and feedback so that we can better serve you.
- 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.