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Brook Lane wins Impact Award

November 19, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

Brook Lane Health Services was named Tuesday as the first recipient of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce's Impact Award for nonprofit organizations.

Brook Lane was among 15 Washington County organizations nominated for the prize, according to Tom Riford of the Chamber's Business and Community Development Committee.

The award was created for nonprofits that improve the lives of those they serve, Riford said.

An in-patient program won the nod for Brook Lane, Chief Executive Officer Lynn Rushing said. The "theme of the day" is a positive-reinforcement program that gives patients a series of seven areas in which they set goals, concentrating on one area each day. They may concentrate on self-esteem one day, anger management or social skills on another. The topics rotate every two weeks.

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Patients get points for activities and goals completed, and those points earn them extra privileges.

"We're constantly trying to update it and bring new materials in," Rushing said.

Since the program started, Brook Lane administrators say they have seen a 50 percent decrease in the need to hold patients for therapy. The average patient stay at Brook Lane is nine days.

Brook Lane, a mental health center near Leitersburg, also is engaged in a building program to expand its services. Rushing said the expansion should be complete in February.

In accepting the award, Rushing addressed representatives from the other nonprofits present.

"All of us can take real pride in the work we're doing," he said.

The award includes a check for $1,000 donated by the Community Foundation of Washington County. Rushing said the money probably would be used for Brook Lane's in-patient care programs.

Nominees for the award were asked to describe their influence on the people they serve, describing changes their services brought about and how they measure their effectiveness. They also were asked to explain how aspects of their services could be adapted for other groups and to provide testimonials from at least two people served in the past year. Judges then ranked the nominees on the basis of their overall impact.

In second place was the Community Free Clinic. Third-place honors went to Habitat for Humanity of Washington County. Washington County Commission on Aging placed fourth and Washington County Free Library placed fifth.

The award was announced during the Chamber's annual Focus on Philanthropy Forum, held at the Plaza Hotel in Halfway. Although the Chamber has sponsored the event for three years, this is the first year awards have been given. John Warren, vice president of funds development for the Homewood Foundation in Williamsport, credited chamber President Fred Teeter with suggesting the award.

Warren said interest in the forum has grown each year.

"It's like a snowball rolling downhill. We have about 80-plus people here this morning," Warren said.

The guest speaker was Lewis Saylor of the 2,800-member Centreville (Va.) Methodist Church and president of Saylor Solutions Unlimited Inc.

"The nonprofit community and the church community are holding together the fabric of what makes America great," he told the group. "There are people that are hungry and they are fed. There are people who need shelter and they are helped you share your faith and therefore provide hope."

Riford said there are more than 430 nonprofit organizations in Washington County, and they employ some 6,500 people - nearly a tenth of the county's working population, the largest proportion of nonprofit workers in any jurisdiction in the state.

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