This column in Attraction, by Amelia Blades Steward, visits the faces of those who have benefited from the generous and tireless work of the nonprofits on the Mid Shore or are one of the organizations giving back in unique ways to better our world. She has been a freelance writer in our community for over 20 years and offers a glimpse into the lives of residents on the Mid Shore whom she has met along the way.
Every year, the Talbot County Department of Social Services (TCDSS) finds citizen need is greater than available governmental funding. Over the last 20 years, Talbot Community Connections (TCC) has assisted approximately 5,000 citizens in need with about $500,000.
As a nonprofit organization, the mission of TCC is to raise and distribute funds to answer unmet needs that are fundamental to the safety, security, health, and well-being of Talbot County’s children and adults. Specifically, TCC supports the Talbot County Department of Social Services (TCDSS), which includes the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center (TCCAC), a collaborative effort of several Talbot County agencies to provide services to Talbot County children and families victimized by sexual abuse.
The non-profit’s support has been used for transportation needs, employment support, resources to keep families together, and helping individuals remain in their communities during times of hardship or change. In support of the Talbot County Children Advocacy Center, TCC funds helped a victim of sexual abuse attend self-defense classes at a local gym. Improvements in school performance and positive behavior were noted. Many other victims served at the Children’s Advocacy Center have been able to participate in equine therapy, music therapy, art therapy, and trauma-informed yoga with similar positive outcomes. Non-offending caregivers have been supported by therapy, family advocacy, transportation, crisis intervention, and case management.
Additional funds provided respite care for the biological family of a medically fragile infant, keeping the biological family together and avoiding foster care placement. Other funding provided a mother of three, who overcame addiction, daycare for a child, enabling her to continue to work and maintain her sobriety.
“I’ve seen the needs in Talbot County. I consider the services Talbot Community Connections provides essential. Our state and local agencies do what they can, but unfortunately, it is not enough,” comments TCC Co-President Jennifer Wright, who has been a social worker for over 40 years.
“We want to make a difference in the lives of all Talbot County citizens. Our name says it all. We are about ‘community,’ and we want all of our residents to receive services locally so they may stay in ‘our’ community. We want to continue to provide support to our foster youth, child victims of sexual abuse, and vulnerable adults,” added Jennifer.
In addition to raising funds for community needs, TCC also provides education to the community around community issues and helps enhance education about the delivery of services to the community. Professional and community education programs held to date by TCC have included educating the community about Megan’s Law, keeping children safe from sexual offenders; children and the internet, poverty and the brain; children and violence, bullying and gangs; teen suicide; teens and technology; digital ethics; and the trauma of sexual abuse. For several years, TCC held a Senior Summit to provide information and resources for seniors.
“We are fortunate to reside in a community that generously gives to TCC through individual contributions, grants from local nonprofits, and participating in TCC-sponsored symposiums and other fundraising activities. I am proud to say the funds we raise go directly to services with no administrative costs,” comments Cindy Pease, Co-President of TCC.
“Whether we are funding a trip to an Ocean City amusement park for young, deserving fathers and their families, sponsoring an outdoor challenge course for victims of child sexual abuse, or helping a senior resident remain in their own home by assisting with utility and rent payments, we strive to fulfill the needs of Talbot County’s residents that are not met by government programs. TCC is grateful to all our community partners for their generosity,” explains Cindy.
For more information about Talbot Community Connections or to donate to the organization, visit talbotcommunityconnections.org. For further information about Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center, visit www.talbotcac.org.