Southern Maryland is showing its generosity as local organizations have received more than $6,000 to date through the online giving portal, Southern Maryland Gives, an initiative of the Nonprofit Institute at the College of Southern Maryland. The online hub, available at www.southernmarylandgives.org, highlights nonprofits addressing the region’s needs through the environment, historic preservation, humanitarian aid, health, education, arts and culture, youth services and programs, and animals.Southern Maryland Gives features projects currently needing support as well as many local nonprofits that are accepting general donations. Featured projects include:Accokeek Foundation has a project goal of $1,500. As part of its commitment to stewardship and sustainability, the Accokeek Foundation preserves several heritage livestock breeds, including Hog Island sheep. Fleece is sheared, washed, carded, spun and made into woven, knit and crocheted items which can be used by museum interpreters on site or made available for sale in the Accokeek Foundation’s gift shop. All of the funds raised by sale of raw fleece and finished products are used to support the livestock preservation program. Donations will support the work of the Stitch ‘n Time volunteer textile club, as well as the heritage breed livestock program.Sagepoint Senior Living Services has a project goal of $1,500. Music has power — especially for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Sagepoint Senior Living Services, formerly CCNRC, hopes to purchase MP3 players and music for its innovative music therapy program.The equipment, along with the services of a music therapist, will have a profound impact on residents living with memory loss. A person’s ability to engage in music, particularly rhythm playing and singing, remains intact even into late stages of these diseases. Using music as a therapeutic tool can uplift a person’s mood, manage stress and boost brain activity. Donating to this project will help Sagepoint succeed in providing effective treatment to its residents.Health Partners has a project goal of $1,500. Health Partners, a free medical and dental clinic, serves the economically disadvantaged and uninsured in Charles County and surrounding areas. Its dental clinic is rapidly expanding, and the organization recently received grant funding for a third dental chair.However, the grant does not cover equipment costs for an adult X-ray unit. Health Partners also has a new volunteer dentist so the organization can serve more clients. Much of the groundwork has been done for the project, but local donations are needed to become fully operational. Donations will support Health Partners in its mission to increase dental care services in the community.LifeStyles of Maryland has a project goal of $5,000. Safe Nights serves the homeless people in the community. It provides overnight shelter to individuals and families from Oct. 1 to April 15 each year. The program rotates to a different host site each week. Participants are provided with meals, cots, linens and toiletry items. Supportive services and enrichment activities are held nightly to encourage the journey towards self-sufficiency. A donation will help pay for 50 sturdy, heavy-duty cots for homeless people in the tri-county area.Bay K9 SAR has a project goal of $400. The search and rescue organization is run completely by volunteers in Charles County. Using bloodhounds to locate lost people, Bay K9 SAR supports the community by offering the service free to law enforcement agencies.Their newest bloodhound, Mathilda, is a puppy in training. Mathilda could use a cooling vest and car fan for hot days when she’s working. She needs a service vest that will allow her to enter stores and homes as a professional working dog. As a tracking dog, Mathilda also needs an extra-long leash and customized harness. With this gear, she will be able to help find a critical person in need.Southern Maryland Carousel Group has a project goal of $1,500. Preserving a piece of Southern Maryland history — the Marshall Hall Park carousel — ignited this group into action. The nonprofit wants to build a carousel in Charles County, similar to the original that was torn down in the 1970s. Some original pieces from the old carousel will also be worked into the new grand design. Commissioned local artists have hand-carved more than 50 animal figures, including two wheelchair-accessible chariots.Supporting the project will buy stirrups for each animal, so riders can step up safely and go ‘round.Forever Free Books has a project goal of $2,000. Putting a book into the hands of a child who doesn’t own one is why Forever Free Books exists. For a child, the chance to start a personal library at home can be empowering and encourage the love of reading. The program reaches out to kids in Charles County who have not had the opportunity to own even one book. Donations can help ensure that more and more children will be proud book owners and on the road to becoming lifelong readers.Center for Children has a project goal of $5,000. Children who have been subjected to abuse urgently need help, not just for physical harm but also for damage to their mental health. As the largest provider of children’s mental health services in Southern Maryland, the Center for Children serves 4,500 people every year. Crisis intervention, court advocacy and psychiatric testing are some of the critical services it provides. Many parents cannot pay for them and are without insurance. The center’s project assures help to just such families. Donations can make a lasting difference in a child’s life.Humane Society of Charles County has a project goal of $2,500.Dogs at the shelter need long-term, loving families who know how to take care of them. A professional trainer is now on staff to work with pets and their future owners. There is no space to conduct evaluations or counsel adoptive families. The trainer has been working in the parking lot, as potential adopters stand under the open tailgate of her minivan. A shed is a dire need, giving the trainer space to ensure successful adoptions. The structure requires siding, flooring and other supplies — the humane society needs funding.The Southern Maryland Gives online portal is powered by Razoo and sponsored by the Nonprofit Institute at CSM.Any size donation is appreciated, but a minimum $10 donation is required to donate online.Southern Maryland Gives supporters include Charles and St. Mary’s county governments, Southern Maryland Oil, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative and the College of Southern Maryland. For information, go to www.csmd.edu/nonprofitInstitute/. To view the latest projects or search local nonprofits to support, go to www.southernmarylandgives.org. Go to http://southernmarylandgives.razoo.com/giving_events/smg/nptoolkit or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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