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Parent-Child Center telethon a success

April 25, 1999

Parent-Child TelethonBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




HALFWAY - With $110,000 already in the Parent-Child Center's coffers heading into the final day of the Hagerstown nonprofit agency's annual fund raising campaign, Executive Director Millie Lowman anticipated Sunday to be a walk in the park.

Lowman aimed to receive between $5,000 and $8,000 in pledges Sunday during the "Parent-Child Center Telethon" at the Valley Mall, enough to beat out last year's total of $113,000.

Technical problems delayed the program, televised on WHAG, about an hour, but that didn't stop the pledges from coming in, and the United Way organization garnered $7,540.

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The campaign total for the year was $117,540, said Lowman.

"Even though we had some technical difficulties, people still opened up their hearts," she said. "It feels really good."

She said the problems made for some bumpy moments but were overcome.

"The generosity of the county is overwhelming. I think it shows the people of Washington County are interested in eliminating child abuse," she said.

The money raised during the campaign, which started Feb. 18, will be used to sustain programs focusing on child advocacy in the judicial system, parenting classes and instruction and guidance to teen mothers.

She said the recent slaying of 12 students and a teacher by two teens in Littleton, Colo., underscores the need for parenting classes for at-risk groups.

All of the money raised in the campaign will stay in Washington County, she said.

The center's services are free and voluntary.

Department of Social Services Director David A. Engle said his agency contracts the services of the Parent-Child Center for its clients.

Engle said the center provides valuable programs for the community and is needed to combat a growing problem.

"There has been an 8 percent increase in child abuse over last year in the county and a 25 percent increase over the past four years," he said.

Engle said he wasn't sure what caused the increase.

He said the Parent-Child Center plays an important role in preventing abuse through its parent programs and classes geared to young mothers.

The Parent-Child Center serves hundreds of people in the Washington County each year, said Lowman.

This year's telethon was the 11th in the center's 16-year history, Lowman said.

About 15 volunteers manned phones, provided food and helped out in other areas in the telethon, she said.

Volunteer Eve Baker, of Hagerstown, said she got involved after noticing a trend toward teenage pregnancy reported in the media.

"These kids have to learn good parenting skills and they can do that through the Parent-Child Center," she said. "It's a wonderful organization."

Charlotte Walsh and Loretta Jacobsen of Newcomers Unlimited presented a check for $640 to the Parent-Child Center during the telethon.

The money was raised through a combination baked-goods and rummage sale held at the Fountain Hill Country Club, Hagerstown, last May.

Walsh said the group recognizes the problem of child abuse in Washington County and wants to do its part to stop it.

"It didn't used to be a problem, but it is now," she said.

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