HARC is excited to announce the opening of “The Equity in Education Scholarship Fund for the 2022/2023 school year. Multiple scholarships will be awarded annually ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 to racially minoritized students (with preference to African American students) who reside in Washington County, Md., and are pursuing a degree in education or a related field.
The application is open now through May 31.
Applicants must be accepted into an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program and pursuing a degree in education or a related field OR be accepted into a Master of Arts in Teaching program, among other requirements
This initiative was established through a partnership between the Hagerstown Area Religious Council (HARC) Racial Justice Team, Rise Up Hagerstown, and the Education Foundation of WCPS. For more details about requirements and how to apply visit the Education Foundation of WCPS Equity in Education web page.
Initial funding for this scholarship was provided by Rise Up Hagerstown. Additional donations are desired to provide more scholarships. Donations can be made directly to the Education Foundation of WCPS here, or you may contribute to a faith community combined donation through HARC.
The February 8 HARC meeting was a celebration of our Interfaith Coalition’s 20th anniversary. In this special celebration, we learned about the history of the Interfaith Coalition through the perspectives of Rev. Ed Poling, member and leader for many years; Paula Myers, Baha’i, who also has participated for 20 years; and Dr. Shahab Siddiqui, Muslim, another 20-year original member and leader; as well as hearing input from founders Rev. Don Stevenson and Ron Bowers. Participants engaged in small group discussions about the role of interfaith work today and how to move the Interfaith Coalition into the future for continued impact on our community. Groups reported out highlights to help us move our work forward.
HARC and the Interfaith Coalition are ONE, and as such we are weaving our work back into one effort. As we re-envision our interfaith work for the future we invite you to be a part of the planning of what we will become and the programs we offer. If you’re interested in contributing to this work in some way, please sign up here.
Watch a recording of the celebration meeting:
Faith Community Opportunities with Bester Community of Hope
Help Children and Families to Grow and Thrive!
Bester Community of Hope is seeking volunteers and congregational sponsors for the following:
- Volunteers for the “Walking School Bus” (currently in progress) – once/week on Wednesday from 8-9 am, from 3 locations to Bester Elementary. Volunteers can help every Wednesday or do a rotation.
- Houses of worship/groups to sponsor “Better Together Activity Boxes,” placing activities for families in the boxes (which are like Blessing Boxes, but with activities). Sponsors are needed for the 4th and 5th
- Houses of worship/groups to do acts of service that improve the well-being of the Bester/south Hagerstown community. Can include things like fixing Little Free Libraries, setting up a basketball court, neighborhood clean-up projects, planting trees, etc. Any community could benefit from these acts of service!
As an initiative of San Mar Family and Community Services, Bester Community of Hope embodies the mission of “Cultivating Hope and Well-Being in Children, Families and Communities” within the South End of Hagerstown, MD.
To help with any of the above initiatives or to learn more, contact Joan Balbuena Hernández at firstname.lastname@example.org or 240-513-6370.
HARC’s October 2021 meeting focused on the current needs of children and families in Washington County. We were blessed to have a panel of leaders from organizations that work with children speak to us about challenges that children and families are facing, their greatest needs, community resources and programming that’s available, and how the faith community can help fill the gaps in those services. Link to the video recording on YouTube.
Our speakers included:
* Kathy Kerns, Director of the Washington County Judy Center
* Jen Younker, Director of Bester Community of Hope
* Tom Kline, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County
* Jessica Scott, Programs Manager for Habitat for Humanity of Washington County and Board Member/Acting Director for the Robert W. Johnson Community Center (filling in at the last minute)
Our speakers not only shared needs of our children and families, but a window into the world of families in poverty, encouraging us to greater empathy and understanding.
Our apologies for the poor sound quality as we had challenges with our microphone! You may need to turn up the volume at times, but it’s worth listening closely to what these dedicated professionals have to say. Lighting was also a challenge, so you may not see our speakers very well.
Saturday, September 11 was a glorious day for the HARC Hike for Hunger & Hope, with great weather, perfect conditions on the C&O Canal Towpath, and a good crowd nicely spaced among 6 different start times. 100 people came out to enjoy the day and a handful more did the Virtual Hike, raising funds and walking on their own time and location. Thanks to participants, sponsors, and individuals who raised funds for the cause, more than $21,000 in proceeds are projected so far to support the ministry and programs of HARC, with a significant portion going to Micah’s Backpack. This includes funds raised to date for the HARC Challenge Hike, a 20-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail that will take place Saturday, September 25. 13 participants are registered for this hike and many are still fundraising.
Thanks to everyone for coming out and helping to make this a fun event and successful fundraiser for HARC and Micah’s Backpack! Thanks especially to our amazing Hike Team (Rev. Ed Poling, Beth Johnston, Deacon Sue Wert, Ed Maloy, Butch Eigenbrode, Bill Pike, and Erin Brennan) and other volunteers who made it happen, and our generous sponsors (see below). We are also grateful to churches who provided transportation for our hikers: Christ’s Reformed Church, Celebration Ministries, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Hagerstown Church of the Nazarene, and Valley Grace Brethren.
Thank you to this year’s HARC Hike sponsors:
MS Johnston & God’s Grace Fund sponsored lunch, catered by Kreeative Kreations, a local, black and woman-owned business.
Antietam Radio Association
Brethren Mutual Insurance Company
Coldwell Banker Innovations
Hebron Mennonite Church
Rotary Club of Hagerstown
St. Andrew Presbyterian Church
Trinity Lutheran Church
Allegany Dental Care
Bitner-Henry Insurance Agency
Link to the recording on YouTube: https://youtu.be/o55zGotp6o8
In September Washington County “goes purple” to raise awareness of the opioid/addictions epidemic and foster action to support those in crisis and prevent others from this terrible disease. At our September 14 HARC meeting, we heard from:
Clarence Horst, Celebration Ministries and Celebrate Recovery
Laura Sheffield-Bishop, Social Work Supervisor, Washington County Health Department & Kelly Marquart, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, Washington County Health Department
This program focused on how the faith community can support people who are in recovery or struggling with addiction. We also learned current Washington County data and some helpful tips for how to handle the challenges of those in or around our houses of worship who are struggling with addiction and homelessness.