BERLIN – The Local Management Board held an educational event at Worcester County Youth and Family Services Monday afternoon aimed at educating their local and state representatives about the LMB’s mission, programs and progress.
The plan was to hold a lunch event after the election as a way to reach out to the various people upon whom the LMB relies for funding and other support including the state senator and delegates. The only elected official who showed up was Virgil Shockley who, like the other civic leaders who did attend, is a director on the LMB. Delegate Norm Conway called to arrange a private meeting at a later date.
The event was set up like a speed dating event. Each program the LMB sponsors or helps sponsor eight programs that support children and families in Worcester County. Each of the programs had a table set up with snacks on it. The notion was that each visitor could sit with program participants and administrators have a snack and talk about how the program benefits the community.
After a few minutes, each guest would move on to another station, have another snack and learn about another program.
The board was established to help coordinate social resources in each jurisdiction. Budget cuts have significantly reduced the LMBs funding abilities but they were still able to fund about $700,000 in programs last year.
Jen Baumann the LMB’s resource coordinator said that while many state agencies have already been notified of the cuts they’ll experience in the coming year, the LMB hasn’t heard anything yet. “That doesn’t mean we won’t get cut,” she said. “But we’re hopeful.”
It was as part of that hope that people were invited to get a better picture of precisely who the board helps and how the programs they help fund work.
Fred Smith is grand facilitator for one such program – the after school and summer school programs at Pocomoke and Snow Hill Middle Schools. According to Smith, more than one third of the county’s children participate in one or both programs. The after school programs are structured to take a different approach to teaching difficult or complicated aspects of a subject.
“You can’t teach these extra hours as you would a regular school day,” Smith said.
PMS student Ian Smith talked about one program he participated in that required the students to build a robot. His SHMS colleague, Alexie Velez talked about one of the programs wherein the students visited Shad Landing to learn about environmental resources.
PMS after school administrator Jane Chisholm added that among the trips these after school academy students take includes a college visit, enabling the kids to visualize themselves as college students before they even begin high school.
“They learn and they don’t even know they’re learning,” said SHMS after school administrator Mary Anne Cooper.
Baumann said the LMB will continue reaching out to both local and state legislators. “We always personally meet with each of the state legislators,” she said. “[This event] was just a different way of showcasing what we do.”
Those who attended encouraged them to make this an annual event and were impressed about how much they learned from the program administrators and participants.