Dress for Success partners with Orioles

— While many may view Baltimore’s “Dress for Success” as a popular, well-funded program, its executive director isn’t ready to stamp the program as prosperous.

“When radio stations and television stations are talking about us, and when the women who have been successful are written about and when corporations knock on our door and offer to contribute so that we can stamp out poverty, cut down on drug abuse and get many more people employed, then we can talk about it being a complete success,” said Cleona Garfield, who has headed the Baltimore chapter of the national organization since 2007.

Garfield, however, is pushing forward.

She said the Baltimore Orioles have entered into a partnership with Dress for Success where volunteers work at concession stands at Camden Yards and a portion of the proceeds goes to the charity.

Dress for Success serves women throughout the greater Baltimore area, providing free clothing and training for job interviews. The organization responds to the needs of women in the area by also providing programs that help economically disadvantaged women get and keep jobs, grow into new positions and succeed in the mainstream workplace by building a career, Garfield said.

Founded in New York in 1997, Dress for Success assists the unemployed and underemployed, as well as graduating high school and college students entering into the job market.

“One in 12 American workers are unemployed and there is just one job opening for every three unemployed Americans,” Garfield said. “We help by providing nice clothing, which is essential in the interview because if you look good, you’ll also feel good and have more confidence. While we are clothing you, we also try and feed your brain by helping you to prepare for the job interview.”

Dress for Success has a boutique that is set up just like a shop, with work-appropriate career coats, dresses, suits, blouses and blazers, all neatly sized and on racks. Shoes and bags are also on display.

Volunteer stylists also help job seekers and once an individual lands a job, they are encouraged to return to Dress for Success for more clothes to help build a professional wardrobe.

“We also encourage those who are successful to come back and mentor others,” Garfield said. Many of Baltimore’s Dress for Success clients have been successful in finding jobs in customer service while some have landed work in medicine and education.

Last year, the program helped 500 women get jobs.

“The job market is very competitive today and our goal is to help women in the area to make it out there,” Garfield said. “We have an outreach coordinator who goes out to various partner agencies to talk about Dress for Success and how a person can sign up and benefit.”

For additional information about Dress for Success, visit: www. Dressforsuccess.org.

Jeff Clanagan of Codeblack Films is on the move in Hollywood

Film director and CEO of Codeblack/Lionsgate Films Jeff Clanagan screened three films at the American Black Film Festival— Kevin Hart’s “Let Me Explain,” “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” (October release) and co-executive produced by Alicia Keyes, and Charles Murray’s “Things Never Said.” Hart’s “Let Me Explain” is set to be released July 3, just in time for the holiday.

His company, Codeblack Enterprises, located in Universal City, California is mostly known for its DVD and digital film distribution and for opening the first black owned film studio. Many of its films can be found On-Demand.

Aside from Codeblack Films with Lionsgate, Clanagan has a partnership with Hulu to deliver Urban content for their CBTV channel. He has a deal with 20th Century Fox via Fox Faith to provide family focused projects. He also has distribution partnerships with Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment and Vision Films.

“We have a much broader slate,” Clanagan said about the difference between his deal with Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox. “We might acquire Hispanic, comedy, thriller!”

With his deal with Lionsgate comes a position at the company as president of Codeblack Films, which makes him the first African American at Lionsgate with the title, and the power to acquire and greenlight projects. He has produced two Kevin Hart live comedy shows, and his theatrical release of projects “Laugh at My Pain” (2011) and the current “Let Me Explain” (July 3, 2013).

If all that is not enough, Jeff Clanagan runs Shaquille O’Neal’s entertainment company, Shaq Entertainment. To learn more about this outstanding business mogul, visit: www.Codeblack.com.

The Pulse of Entertainment is written weekly by Eunice Moseley. She is also a PR/Business Management consultant. For more entertainment news, visit: www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com or www.FreelanceAssociatesInc.com.

Annapolis welcomes new citizens on July 4th

— Join Historic Annapolis in welcoming forty new citizens into the American family at a naturalization ceremony on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

The free event, which has become an Independence Day tradition, will be held on the rear terrace of the William Paca House and Garden, home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, at 186 Prince George Street in Annapolis. William Paca, Samuel Chase, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and Thomas Stone were the four Maryland men who signed the historic document in 1776, and all of them lived in Annapolis at different points in their lives. 

Robert C. Clark, President and CEO of Historic Annapolis, will host the ceremony. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials will administer the Oath of Allegiance to the candidates for citizenship. 

The NJROTC unit at Annapolis High School will provide the color guard, and the All Children’s Chorus of Annapolis will lead the singing of the national anthem and perform a selection of patriotic songs.

Squire Frederick Taylor, Town Crier of Annapolis, will officially open and close the program. 

Seating for the outdoor ceremony will be reserved for the new citizens and their invited guests, with limited seating and standing room available for members of the general public. 

Following the naturalization ceremony’s conclusion, the William Paca House and Garden will be open free of charge from 11:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the restored two-acre colonial garden on their own, and guided tours of the home’s first floor will begin every fifteen minutes from 11:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. 

The Historic Annapolis Museum at 99 Main Street and the Museum Store at 77 Main Street will both be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on July 4th. The Museum’s new exhibit, “Freedom Bound: Runaways of the Chesapeake,” highlights the stories of nine slaves and servants who attempted to escape from bondage between 1728 and 1864.

Author Kashaun Cooper releases inspirational book on fatherhood

— A father plays an essential role in the development and growth of a child. His presence for the monumental moments like a child’s first steps and first words are just as important as daily interactions like taking them to school and nightly tuck-ins.

On June 4, 2013, Baltimore native, author/motivational speaker/entrepreneur Kashaun Cooper released his book “The Champion Father,” that he hopes will help fathers along their journeys with their children. The inspirational book is designed to highlight fundamental tools in strengthening the relationships between fathers and their offspring. It also includes testimonials from men who have maintained healthy relationships with their children in the face of adversity.

When asked what led him to write the book Cooper says, “Through my non-profit organization Fathers Rock, Inc., I would hear amazing stories from fathers and how they were able to overcome certain obstacles to be a father to their child,” he said. “This compelled me to interview fathers across the nation, which concluded with one word, LOVE! My purpose is to show that being a father has many twists and turns, but what propels the champion father forward no matter what— is love.”

Unfortunately, in a society where more often than not a child lives in a fatherless home, Cooper hopes “The Champion Father” will encourage and inspire fathers to be more involved in their children’s lives.

Cooper, who is a father himself says, “For every father who reads ‘The Champion Father,’ my hope is that they will exit the book more empowered, knowing that they were born champions. And making the choice to become a champion father would put [their] child in the position of becoming a champion as well. I believe champion fathers create champion children, families and communities.”

Spoken like a true champion and man of courage, Cooper is humbled by the positive feedback his book has received and is inspired to continue spreading the message that no matter the path, all men have the potential to be champions.

To learn more about “The Champion Father” visit: http://www.championfather.net/index.html

Baltimore gun mayhem: Lesson for Maryland democrats

Twenty shot the weekend that started Friday, June 21 and ended Sunday, June 23, 2013.

Two more shot Monday, June 24 and five shot Tuesday, June 25. That’s 27 people shot in a five-day period in Baltimore.


Gregory Kane

Now, a couple of questions for Maryland Democrats, especially those state legislators who voted to ban assault weapons and to require anyone buying a firearm in the state to be fingerprinted.

How many of those shootings were committed with assault weapons? And how many of the perps were law-abiding citizens that recently bought firearms who needed to be fingerprinted?

All the facts aren’t in, but my guess is that the answers are “none” and “none.”

Maryland Democrats passed the law banning assault weapons after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December. It was an emotional reaction designed to do precisely what it has done: nothing.

Those same Democratic legislators decided to add an insult to those law-abiding Marylanders that seek to buy firearms by requiring them to now be fingerprinted.

Before the law was passed, only those arrested— or those looking for specific employment required security checks— were required to be fingerprinted. Let’s be clear about the message Maryland Democrats sent by now requiring that law-abiding citizens seeking to buy firearms be fingerprinted.

Maryland Democrats fear armed, law-abiding citizens more than they do criminals.

When lawmakers fear law-abiding citizens, we’ll get legislation like the we got this past session when the Legislature met: a statute that requires people who’ve committed no crime and are engaged in otherwise legal conduct to be fingerprinted.

Neither law— not the one that requires gun owners to be fingerprinted nor the one banning assault weapons— had any impact on the violence that racked Baltimore from June 21 to June 25.

The laws didn’t prevent the death of little 16-month-old Carter Scott either, or the shooting of his father Rashaw Scott in a late May Cherry Hill incident.

In the Scott shootings, which I have previously written about in this column, at least one of the suspects has a criminal record that includes a charge of illegal possession of a handgun while a convicted felon.

How much of the June 21 to June 25 mayhem on Baltimore’s streets, was caused by people with criminal records similar to, or worse than, the suspect in the Scott shootings?

That knowledge, at this point, isn’t known. And you can bet state Democrats, be they in the Legislature or on the Baltimore City Council, have no interest in getting that knowledge.

No, they thought it would be far more effective to focus their efforts on banning assault weapons, which are rarely, if ever, used in the type of street crime we saw in Baltimore from June 21 to June 25, and busting the hump of law-abiding citizens by requiring them to be fingerprinted.

We now know just how effective both laws have been in curbing gun violence on Baltimore’s streets. Those laws have been every bit as ineffective as those draconian gun control laws in Chicago have been in curbing that city’s firearms violence.

The weekend before June 21 through June 23, 46 people were shot in Chicago, eight of them fatally. Like

Baltimore and the entire state of Maryland, Chicago, is run by Democrats who feel the problem with gun violence is the firearm, not the criminal who uses the firearm.

The weekend of June 14 through June 16 isn’t the first time the Windy City saw such mayhem. There were a couple of similar weekends in 2012.

Chicago’s gun control laws have failed. The feeble attempt of the Maryland Legislature— and the governor who signed its misguided statutes into law— has failed.

Gun violence of the kind that has occurred in Chicago and Baltimore, is caused by the criminal, not the gun. Legislators seeking to pass laws to curb such violence need to recognize that fact.

Black Girls Run! in Baltimore

— Gabrielle Powell said it all began from a blog post four years ago.

Too many African American women were overweight, and very few appeared to be doing something about it.

“I think it was something like 80 percent of African American females were obese, so there was a movement to try and encourage black women to run and exercise,” said Powell, a Charm City native and an ambassador of the Baltimore chapter of Black Girls Run!

Gabrielle Powell is the ambassador for the Baltimore Chapter of Black Girls Run!

Gabrielle Powell is the ambassador for the Baltimore Chapter of Black Girls Run!

Now, the group has thousands of members in running groups across the country and on Sunday, June 23, 2013 more than 400 women participated in a 5K Women’s Run to encourage and celebrate fitness among black females.

“It was a big race, fun. Last year, we had about 242 participants and this year we got over 400 so it greatly exceeded our expectations,” Powell said.

But, women show up for more than just race day, Powell said.

On most mornings, the group gathers for regular runs in Baltimore, Howard, Harford, and Anne Arundel counties.

The women take their workouts seriously. The camaraderie and the health benefits are an added bonus.

“I’ve run like three ten-milers and I’m getting ready to do my first half marathon on Sunday,” said Angel Hunter of Washington, D.C.

Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks started Black Girls Run! as a blog for women in March 2009. The friends were concerned about the growing number of black women who were not taking the time to exercise or keep themselves in good physical condition.

Now, Black Girls Run! has become a nationwide movement and chapters are active in approximately 30 states, including Maryland.

The organization has a simple mission, which is to encourage black women to make healthy living and fitness a priority.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that three out of four black women are overweight or obese, statistics the founders of Black Girls Run! say are troublesome.

“We put on special events like boot camps, Zumba and jazzercise,” Powell said. “We have social activities and we host meet and greets where we can get together and socialize.”

The group’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Blackgirlsrun!Baltimore, also includes updates from members about their workouts and favorite running routes. It contains fitness questions and smaller local group meet-ups.

“We want to be able to reach out to the community to dispel the myth that black girls don’t run,” Powell said. “It’s not just about losing weight but it’s about saving your life, being able to exercise, to take down the numbers on the scale as well as what statistics shows us about obesity.”

The best case end result would be to see the high number of overweight African American women decrease dramatically. “It’s all about health and we need to be conscious of our health,” she said.

Chef Connie teaches children about healthy eating

Things are cooking in a most unlikely setting— an elementary school.

Most of us have memories of terrible, unhealthy cafeteria food. There was even a time when ketchup was considered a vegetable.

Even now, there are some school children who turn their noses up at school lunches. They may be healthier, but many are far from palatable.

Enter Chef Connie, Baltimore’s own “celebrity chef.” She has taken school lunches to a new tasty level, by teaching elementary school children culinary arts. She shows the children that healthy foods can also be delicious.

Major Bill Grimmette, executive director, 100 Black Men of Maryland; Chef Connie Johnson; Will J. Hanna II; and Patricia A. Roberts.

Courtesy photo

Major Bill Grimmette, executive director, 100 Black Men of Maryland; Chef Connie Johnson; Will J. Hanna II; and Patricia A. Roberts.

The idea was born when Chef Connie Johnson proposed the idea before administrators at Calvin Rodwell Elementary School, located in the Howard Park community of Northwest Baltimore.

Chef Connie began working with the students, encouraging them to focus on healthy lifestyle choices, including delicious, healthy meals. About 50 students participated in the program called “Vegetable Time,” which includes even kindergartners.

The program at Rodwell was so successful, it was featured in the HBO documentary “Weight of the Nation,” which focused on the fight against obesity.

The school program began about four years ago and has been a success ever since.

Chef Connie has expanded the school program into a summer camp, with the cooperation of Gwynn Oak United Methodist Church. The camp opened June 24 and will run through August 5.

According to Chef Connie, this camp will feature “healthy meals/lifestyles, exercise, day trips, mentoring/tutoring and will help instill morals and ethics in young people.”

She has the full cooperation of the church and its minister, DeLynne Hinton, who will provide the “spiritual component” to the camp.

This is the first year for the camp and Chef Connie insists that “this is not a babysittting camp. The children will come home dirty and tired. They will cook their own healthy snacks.”

On Saturday, June 22, 2013, Chef Connie wanted to celebrate her sponsors and supporters, which include 100 Black Men of Maryland, MECU Foundation and Credit Union and ShopRite Supermarkets.

Will Hanna, president of the New Park Heights Community Association, presented the organization a check for $15,000.

She is especially grateful to Damion Cooper, a community liaison who brought much-needed funding to the summer program. He works in City Council President Jack Young’s office. Cooper received a special recognition — the Outstanding Community Outreach award — from Chef Connie.

“This is the only program of its kind in the state. Chef Connie is helping to prepare these kids and we’ve gotta celebrate that! There is enough bad news around; it ‘s time we share and celebrate the good things that are happening with our children,” Cooper said.

He admits to being “surprised” when he learned of the award. “This isn’t about me,” he insisted. “It’s about what we do to help our children.”

During the school year, the children in Chef Connie’s program work in the teacher’s lounge. She said, “ShopRite Supermarkets has promised us a state-of-the-art kitchen. The children will have a fully-equipped kitchen to work in.”

She says, “I am a mother, an educator, a chef and an athlete and we must value our most precious gems, our children!”

D.C. families plant vegetable gardens

— They decided that the tomato plant would go in the middle and then they gently placed the other vegetable seedlings in select areas of their new garden, courtesy of the Howard University College of Medicine and Howard University Hospital.

Just two blocks away, the Muhammad family was as ecstatic as their children, Zahir, Ameer, Kaleem, Nailah scrambled about their new four-by-four foot garden, breaking up the soil, placing the cucumber, basil, bell pepper and the bean seeds in just the right location around their tomato plant. Then, they planted the sign that made it officially their garden.

The new gardeners proudly display their soil-covered hands as they christen their garden along with, from left, Stephanie Purnell of Howard, their father, Antonio Evans, mother, Michelle Phillips-Evans, and Dr. Michal Young of Howard University College of Medicine and Howard University Hospital.

The new gardeners proudly display their soil-covered hands as they christen their garden along with, from left, Stephanie Purnell of Howard, their father, Antonio Evans, mother, Michelle Phillips-Evans, and Dr. Michal Young of Howard University College of Medicine and Howard University Hospital.

The two families are part of the 50 Washington families with pre-school and elementary school age children who received free gardens this spring from Howard University.

Physicians, College of Medicine students and other volunteers planted gardens on Saturday, June 15, 2013. The project is called “My Garden,” a free program sponsored by Howard University, and designed to teach children and their parents about the importance of healthy eating and the joy of watching fruits and vegetables grow. The gardens are low maintenance and only need water and sun, and will be maintained by the children.

College of Medicine Dean, Dr. Mark S. Johnson said that the “My Garden” project represents one of the basic tenants of health care. “All health care starts with a healthy diet,. Unfortunately, sometimes families, particularly children, don’t have enough fruits and vegetables in their diets. The problem is even more significant in some of Washington’s food deserts. While this won’t fill all of a families needs when it comes to vegetables, it will help. And it’s a fun, educational experience for children and adults,” Dr. Johnson said.

The Fulton/Chester-Johnson family in southeast Washington was also one of the many families visited last Saturday. Sirahn Fulton, the family’s three-year-old girl, was very enthusiastic about getting her garden started. She didn’t talk much, but her eyes widened with excitement as she dug into the soil and with the help of her parents and grandparents, planted her vegetables. She took special pleasure in placing her own sign that proclaimed the area “Sirahn’s Garden.”

Dr. Michal Young, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health and Dr. Millicent Collins, also in the Department of Pediatrics, passed out brochures to the families, informing parents on how the vegetables were beneficial to healthy diets and provided the family tips on how to keep their gardens safe from pesky insects.

Washington families with pre-school and elementary school children interested in receiving a free garden next spring, can send their name, address, preferred email address and the names and ages of their children to Project Coordinator Ionnie McNeill at: ionniemcneill@yahoo.com.

East Baltimore resident creates IT Program to provide Oliver residents with federal jobs Baltimore

— On Saturday, June 22, 2013, 10 adults from underserved communities in East Baltimore graduated from a free program that will allow them to receive a certification to increase their earnings potential by tens of thousands of dollars. They will not be graduating from Baltimore’s most prestigious university.

Instead, they will be graduating from a high caliber Information Technology program that will expedite their careers in IT by providing them with opportunities in federal government. The no-cost Oliver Community Association IT program was created by the D.E.N.T. Group (Delivering Educational Needs Together) – named for East Baltimore Citizen and community advocate, Marques Dent.

The graduation was the culmination of 10 long weeks of instruction focused on intense hardware and software training, said Dent whose organization, the D.E.N.T. Group, is a coalition of business leaders committed to providing educational resources to the community. Each student will receive industry-level training using CompTia A+, and a Department of Defense (DoD) caliber curriculum that makes them DoD 8570 compliant. This level of free training is unique to small neighborhood centers like the Oliver Center.

“No one else is offering this caliber of program for free in Baltimore City,” he said. “We are teaching the skills that are mandated by the federal government, to provide residents from this community the highest paying IT jobs the government space has to offer.” Dent holds a masters degree in Information Technology Management from Webster University in St. Louis Missouri and currently works as a help desk supervisor at General Dynamics Information Technology, a Department of Defense post.

“After certification, our students from the Oliver Community right here in East Baltimore, have the ability work for any of the federal entities – FBI, CIA, DIA, anybody that’s DoD, including the Pentagon.”

Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes who represents the Oliver Community agrees that these kinds of programs serve as a great motivator in impoverished communities. “We have been working diligently to pre-qualify workers by offering them training and apprenticeship programs that offer economic opportunity as well as placement,” he said. “I am particularly concerned about the joblessness of African American men in my community. Having this IT program in Oliver will help prepare them for the 21st Century job market.”

Dent doesn’t find anything unusual about his involvement in this community. For him, it is a mandate. “I believe that everyone has a personal responsibility to give back in some way,” he says. “I live in this community and I know that there is a need for these kinds of jobs here. I have also worked in the DoD arena for the last 7 years.”

“These are the skills I have acquired,” he said, adding that he must pass it on. “If I was a brick layer or a painter, I would be doing the same thing.”

Fourth of July Parade in Annapolis, fireworks display

— Annapolis Mayor Joshua J. Cohen invites all residents to the Annapolis 4th of July Parade on Thursday, July 4, 2013. The parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Amos Garrett Blvd. and proceed down West Street, around Church Circle, and down Main Street.

The fireworks show will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. The fireworks display will be launched from a barge in the Annapolis Harbor and can be viewed from many water locations. For questions about boat restrictions during the fireworks, contact the City Harbormaster’s Office at 410-263-7973.

For those viewing the fireworks from land, Susan Campbell Park has a fantastic view, but it is also the most crowded. Views from Main Street and the Harbormaster’s Building area will be partially obstructed. Suggested viewing areas are public spaces northeast of the Severn River or any of the street-end parks facing Spa Creek.

Spa Creek Bridge will be closed to traffic at 9 p.m. to create a spectator pier overlook offering an unobstructed view of the fireworks.

The closer you get to downtown the harder it will be to park and get out after the celebration. Park in the Park Place Garage or the Knighton Garage for a maximum of only $10 a day, or $2 an hour and take the FREE Circulator trolley down to Church Circle, a short walk to City Dock. An added bonus is both garages are on the parade route! For additional information go to http://bit.ly/xYYLmO

There will be no Circulator service to the Navy-Marine Crop Memorial Stadium.

Parking Restrictions

Parking on Prince George St. from the water to College Ave. will be resident only parking from noon to 11 p.m. Beginning at 4 p.m. and extending until about 10:30 p.m., parking will be prohibited and violators may be towed from the following areas:

City Dock

Main Street

Randall Street

Market Space

Both sides of Severn Avenue between First and Burnside Streets

East side of First, Second and Third streets between Severn and Chester Avenues

South side of Chesapeake and Chester Avenues between Riverview Avenue and Burnside Street

Bay Ridge Avenue between Sixth and Burnside Streets

Bembe Beach Road from Awald to end

Road Restrictions and Closures

In Eastport, vehicular traffic into the north side of the Eastport Peninsula will be restricted between 5 and 10:30 p.m. Pedestrian traffic will be permitted. Roadblocks will be set up at 9 p.m. at Sixth St. and Severn Ave. denying access to downtown via the Spa Creek Bridge.

In downtown Annapolis, Col10lege Ave. and Compromise St. will be closed to all but area residents. Prince George St. will be posted “Resident Only Parking” from the water to College Ave. from 2 p.m. to midnight. Vehicular traffic will be denied access to the downtown area beginning at 5 p.m. until approximately 10:30 p.m. Road blocks will also be set up in the following locations:

King George St. and College Ave.

Prince George St. and College Ave.

North St. and College Ave.

Church Circle and Main St.

Duke of Gloucester St. at Conduit St., at Green St., at St. Mary’s St. and at Compromise St.

At 9 p.m., the Spa Creek Bridge and Duke of Gloucester St. will be closed to ensure pedestrian safety and to facilitate the movement of foot traffic leaving the area after the fireworks display. At approximately 9 p.m., Main St. will also be closed and remain closed until approximately 10 p.m. Connector streets between Duke of Gloucester and Main St. will also be closed.

Boating Restrictions

The draw span of the Spa Creek Bridge (into Eastport) will be closed to boat traffic from 8:30 to 11 p.m. Boaters are warned to avoid the 1,000-foot Safety Zone around the fireworks barge.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages on the streets and sidewalks of the City, including at City Dock, is prohibited. Individuals are not allowed to light any type of fireworks in the downtown area, including sparklers. Also, firing pyrotechnics and flares by individuals is illegal.

Donations are still needed for the Annapolis 4th of July Event

Funding for the City’s 4th of July fireworks festivities is largely the result of donations by businesses and private individuals. Those wishing to help support this popular community event by defraying the cost of the fireworks are urged to do so. Please send your tax-deductible donation to: July 4th Annapolis, Inc., c/o First Citizens Bank, 890 Bestgate Rd., Annapolis, MD 21401