Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A single table and a common goal

MPT’s outreach initiatives make a real difference in our communities. This entry—by Elyn Jones, Deputy Director of Maryland’s Department of Human Resource’s Office of Communications—is the last in a series on MPT’s recent foster care phone bank, which elicited over 100 viewer phone calls seeking more information about how everyday people can help foster care children in Maryland. We’ve posted a video mix of that exciting evening above. (Keep your eyes open for Lt. Governor Anthony Brown answering phones with the rest of the gang!)

From our very first meeting there was electricity behind this project that just could not be denied. All of the partners around the table were anxious to be a part of what we knew could be a wonderful event. On Thursday, November 20 during MPT’s broadcast of Foster Care Stories: A Place To Be and its accompanying live phone bank, we were all proven correct.

The appeal for volunteers for last month’s phone bank went out several weeks earlier from Faith Wachter, MPT’s Director of Community Outreach Initiatives, with a special request to secure a few extra volunteers in case of possible last minute cancellations. We needed 25 volunteers to answer phones, so you can imagine our surprise—and delight—when that number was surpassed! A whopping 43 volunteers made the trek out to MPT to donate their time and knowledge to help educate callers on foster care.

Included in this number were Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Governor’s Chief of Staff Michael Enright and Department of Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald. They were assisted by Miss Maryland, Louise Schlegel and Melissa Smith, President of the Maryland Foster Youth Resource Center. Also on hand and ready to answer phones were Delegates Talmadge Branch and Guy Guzzone.

After the very first interview segment, which featured the Lt. Governor and Secretary Donald, studio phones lit up and continued to ring throughout the remainder of the program. At night’s end, some 105 calls had been taken.

This was truly an example of what can happen when partnerships are formed around a common goal. We will follow-up with the callers from the program, and will work closely with them should they choose to become foster or adoptive parents. There are over 9,200 children in foster care across the state. If we are able to get a handful of adoptive or foster parents from the 105 calls received, that will make a tangible difference for some of those children, all thanks to the joint effort of MPT all thanks to the join effort of MPT, its partners, a single table and a common goal.

Elyn Jones
Deputy Director, Maryland Department of Human Resource, Office of Communication

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