Spring is here and we at Hagerstown Hopes are excited to tell you all about the projects we’ve been working on all winter. Ever since we branched out into outreach and serving our community, we’ve been working on developing services for young people. There have been a number of challenges (it’s been understandably difficult getting materials and resources into public schools) and we’re happy to announce that all of our work is starting to pay off.
We are proud to announce that we will be throwing our first LGBTQIA Prom on Saturday, April 20th at the Ramada Plaza in Hagerstown. The theme is “True Colors” and celebrates all the colors of the flags representing the LGBTQ community. Board member Asher Kennedy has taken the lead in organizing the prom, sending countless e-mails and reaching out to the community. Admission is free and is open to youth aged 14 to 19 in Hagerstown and the surrounding areas. Music will be provided by DJ Sidekick and finger food will be provided by us and Benny’s Pub. The prom will begin at 7 pm and end at 10 pm.
Admission is free with a ticket, which are available through Eventbrite. We ask that any youth interested in attending obtain a ticket by April 13th to give us a chance to finalize all the details that go into throwing a prom that everyone can enjoy. We also ask that those attending bring a school ID verifying their student status to ensure we only allow age-appropriate youth into the event. Chaperones from Hagerstown Hopes will be present, and we encourage anyone interested in attending to reach out to us with questions and concerns.
We also realize that attending an LGBTQIA Prom may present certain challenges to some youth in our community. Asher Kennedy has made arrangements to have our community center, The Hub, open from 3 to 6 pm before the prom to provide a safe place for youth to get ready. There will be free hair and makeup services donated by Ulta Beauty. Please let us know if you’d like to utilize these services by reaching out to us!
We’re very excited to have the opportunity to host a prom, both because we want to provide safe places and activities for young people and because we will soon be starting our youth group! We recently had a very productive meeting with the president of the Washington County Teachers Association (WCTA), and we will be collaborating on youth outreach in public schools! Our community outreach committee, under the leadership of board member Kelly Likely, recently met to draft the policies for our youth group, which will be presented to the board for approval soon. We would also like to thank board member Erin May for arranging the meeting with WCTA.
Pride season is approaching and we recently announced the theme for this year’s Hagerstown Pride: Love Grows. Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that began our community’s fight for civil rights, we aim to provide a safe, pleasant, and educational atmosphere. We are also currently accepting applications for vendors. Last year’s Hagerstown Pride festival was voted as one of the top three festivals in Hagerstown, and we intend to outdo ourselves this year! If you would like to be a vendor, you’ll find the application document on our Facebook page, or you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
Mark your calendars, because we have a number of events you won’t want to miss! Our next Night Out is April 18th at the Broad Axe in Hagerstown. We are also having a Pride Night Out at Hagerstown Suns Memorial Stadium on May 9th. This is the first Pride baseball game in Hagerstown, so let’s have a good turnout! As always, like and follow us on Facebook and visit us at Hagerstownhopesmd.org to stay up to date on what we’re doing and how to get involved!
- 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.