First of all, I’m going to introduce myself. My name is Katie Groth, and I am the current Board Chair of SHIP, and I want to thank you all. I was here three months ago for my first Impact Club meeting, and I joined. I think it’s a wonderful concept, and I think this is a fabulous way to help charities in the community. Frederick is an incredibly, incredibly generous community. I’m struck by it almost every day when something happens I hear about a project or something that’s been funded or someone stepped up and provided a bed and mattress and clothing for children who are cold and homeless, and it’s amazing.
People step up and actually get in line. I try to get into the clothing gift thing in the morning, and in 25 minutes, all the clothing and everything is spoken for, so it’s amazing how generous Frederick is, and I thank you because I think you’re a really good example of how people of Frederick react to folks who need. And we are very, very fortunate to live in a community like this. I hope you all know that. I’ve lived in many communities in my life, and I think Frederick is the best by far.
And let me tell you about SHIP. It was formed about four years ago because of a pair of flip-flops a young man wore to school in November in middle school in Frederick County. Because someone thought that perhaps this young man had a reason for wearing flip-flops in November. It turned out that this young man was from a homeless family and needed something more than flip-flops. As Ed told the story three months ago, and he tells it way better than I tell it. He can’t be here tonight, or he would tell it. But the fact of the matter is that a young man’s needs were made known, and immediately I don’t know how many pairs of shoes came for him, but unbelievable. More than this young man could ever have worn in a lifetime. So that’s the kind of thing that happened that got SHIP started.
And now we’ve launched a big, new program, and I want to tell you that three months ago when we received this large amount of money from the Impact Club, it went to help us launch this new program called New Horizons. We are working with high school students at several of our high schools. I think there are like four now or maybe five, where we are working with homeless students under the support of social workers and special mentors who work with these kids and help them work out the problems that they have so they will stay in school. That’s one of the most important ways to overcome the poverty is to get an education.
How many of you in this room right now are somehow engaged in public education? Good for you. Good for you. This is where it counts, folks. This is how we’re making a difference because the school kids of Frederick County, many of them are very needy. We have several hundred children at any given time who are officially classified as homeless. And I wanted you to know that the money you gave us last time has been very well-spent to provide all kinds of services for these kids in the high schools that are homeless and in need. So thank you ever-so-much from the bottom of my heart and the bottom of I have several board member patriots over here tonight, and I’m just so grateful we found you and you found us. So thank you again.