Coalition Seeks to Change Substance Abuse Behaviors in West Baltimore

— Morgan State University (MSU) associate professor Dr. Lorece Edwards says binge drinking has been among the most severe problems among the young in the community and wants to eliminate substance and alcohol abuse among youth in West Baltimore.

“We brought together key stakeholders and community members to discuss the Get SMART West Baltimore Drug Free Community Coalition, which aims to provide the area with resources for community level change,” said Edwards about an April meeting of stakeholders.

Edwards worked successfully to secure a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to help implement the coalition. The grant is worth $125,000 per year for five years and provides an opportunity for an additional five years, Edwards said.

The April meeting allowed for stakeholders to discuss strategy and goals with an object of reducing and even eliminating abuse among underage youth in the neighborhood, she said.

“We are getting the drug free community coalition off the ground. We are bringing in more community members from West Baltimore and community-based organizations because many hands make the load lighter,” Edwards said. “We need to address some of the needs of our young adults and our youth because what we’re seeing in West Baltimore is a lot of underage binge drinking and marijuana use and we’re also seeing a lot of environmental factors that play a huge role in these behaviors among young people.”

A planned summer training session will include providing re-purposed education, resources, and support for youth and families in West Baltimore.

The grant will also help establish and strengthen collaborations between communities, public and non-profit agencies, as well as federal, state and local governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working together to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth, according to Edwards.

“We’re hoping the young ones form their own coalition from this,” she said.

Future plans also include the implementation of a “Strategic Prevention Framework” to address community level change and some of the selected strategies will include providing support, enhancing skills and reducing significant barriers for policy change.

Edwards noted that Morgan State University and the coalition value the concept that community lies in the heart of public health.

“We are in an early genesis of recovery, stemming from community trauma, a plethora of drug overdoses, and an array of mental health concerns. Alcohol and substance use are often used as a coping mechanism to solve and, or, escape problems,” she said.

It’s important that parents are involved with the coalition because some guardians allow their teens to drink

inside the home without realizing that there is a social host liability, which means that if an accident occurs while the child is impaired from drinking at home, the parent could face serious consequences.

The newly formed coalition also seeks to focus on neighborhood liquor stores, particularly those that sell candy and other items that entice young ones.

“We have a huge liquor store density in our neighborhoods which you don’t see in white neighborhoods,” Edwards said.

“We have to hold storeowners accountable. We have liquor stores who sell milk, bread, and candy and the bottom line is that kids do not need to be in those stores,” she said. “We have to make sure that these stores aren’t selling to underage youth.”

Finally, the coalition want to help change the behaviors of some in the community, Edwards said.

“We can’t solve this problem without bringing in social determinants of health and there’s nothing worse than not giving kids an opportunity for a fair start,” she said. “Some of our urban neighborhoods don’t lend [themselves] to that especially, when it’s easier to buy a bottle of alcohol than it is to buy a bottle of orange juice.”

Celebration planned for 90th anniversary of historic Coleridge-Taylor School

— Dr. Jannette L. Dates, Dean Emerita of the Howard University School of Communications and Coppin State University graduate, recalled the “good old days” when she attended the Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary, School #122, in Baltimore in the 1940s.

In the face of segregation, the elementary school turned out some of the country’s most sophisticated and successful teachers, doctors and many other professions.

“It was the first elementary school built specifically brand new for colored children in the City of Baltimore and one of the first in the state,” Dates said. “It’s been called a historic building because of the history, and it’s a solid and good building that has so many memories.”

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary, School #122 was the first elementary school built specifically, brand new for colored children in the City of Baltimore and one of the first in the state. Located at 507 W. Preston Street, the school opened in 1927.

Courtesy Photo

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary, School #122 was the first elementary school built specifically, brand new for colored children in the City of Baltimore and one of the first in the state. Located at 507 W. Preston Street, the school opened in 1927.

Those memories will likely be shared aplenty as Dates, alumni, educatiors. and others plan to gather to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the elementary school.

The celebration kicks off June 2, 2017 when Dates and others will go into the school and speak with students about its history. Festivities are planned at the Radisson Hotel in Baltimore on June 3, where elders and young ones alike are expected to attend.

“We are hoping to be able to pass on an understanding of our history to the young ones,” Dates said. “I think it’s important because African-American history needs to be celebrated and we need to remind each other of some of the things that we’ve done.”

Dates went on to become a teacher in the Baltimore City Public School System, a television demonstration teacher and an assistant professor at Morgan State University.

While at Morgan State University, she became the producer, writer and anchor for “North Star”, a weekly hour-long show featuring local and national African-American entertainment and sports personalities that aired on WBAL.

Later, Dates became an assistant professor at Howard University and among other jobs and appointments, she was selected in 2013 by President Barack Obama for the board of directors of the corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“All of us ended up in positions where we were all successful because we had such a great education,” Dates said.

The late and famous Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall also began his education at Coleridge.

“Our 1954 class was the last in the segregated system,” Dates said.

Located at 507 W. Preston Street, the school opened in 1927.

For 59 years in Baltimore, every school building designated for African-American students was either a hand-me-down facility often in poor condition, or was in a few rooms within a church, according to a published history manual. However, School #122, a large brick three-story structure, which almost covered a city block proved different, and in 1999, received landmark designation by the city’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.

During Dates’ tenure, the school developed an enriched curriculum consistent with the theory of progressive education. The “Platoon Method” used by the principal divided the school day between homerooms and subject rooms with appropriate materials taught by subject area specialists.

The physical education teacher designed the field behind the school as an obstacle course on which classes demonstrated high levels of performance in a variety of physical activities that culminated with an annual wrapping of the Maypole.

The marching band was led by the city’s first black majorette of the 1940s, and following World War II, the school included the Baby Boom generation. Later, during the 1960s, children were bused in.

“We were so lucky to have such an outstanding education at that school for a couple of reasons,” Dates said. “The teachers we had were great teachers and they couldn’t go anywhere else because of segregation, so we got them and they were the best in their field.”

The students also enjoyed a top-notch musician who taught music; a historian who taught history and civics; and other specialized instructors.

According to Dates, the principal was highly intelligent and effectively ran the school like a military platoon.

“We had a wonderful experience,” Dates said. “We were so prepared for junior high school and high school, and many of us went on to Coppin State, Morgan State, and Howard universities. We had a great education and it was all because of School 122.”

Memorial Day Ceremony to Honor Four Marylanders

— The annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens will salute the men and women of the armed forces who have paid the highest price in defense of the United States of America and honor four Marylanders killed in the past 14 months. The traditional patriotic ceremony will feature a slate of local participants and dignitaries, including keynote speaker NASA Astronaut and Baltimore native, G. Reid Wiseman, (Commander, U.S. Navy).

In addition to honoring those fighting the battles of today and those who gave their lives in Korea, Vietnam and World War II, the 2017 ceremony will honor: Airman 1st Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt of Severna Park, Md., killed on April 15, 2016 in Jordan by the Islamic State; Private First Class Victor Stanfill of Fulton, Md., died on May 10, 2016 from injuries suffered during a live-fire training exercise at Fort Polk, La.; Staff Sgt. Adam S. Thomas of Takoma Park, Md., killed by an improvised bomb blast on October 4, 12016, during a mission against the Islamic State’s Afghan branch; and Sgt. First Class Allan E. Brown of Takoma Park, Md., died on December 6, 2016, from wounds suffered in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan the previous month.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Memorial Day ceremony held in Dulaney Valley’s Circle of Immortals, an area dedicated in 1967 and reserved for Marylanders killed in action. Twenty-six service members who died in Vietnam are buried within the Circle. The area is also home to the official Baltimore County World War II/Korean War Memorial, dedicated in 1998; and The Children of Liberty Memorial, which was added to the Circle in 1990 and is dedicated to Maryland servicemen and women who died at the hands of terrorists. It includes a plaque dedicated to the seven Maryland service members who lost their lives in the 1991 Liberation of Kuwait, the names of the three Maryland servicemen killed in 2000 aboard the USS Cole and the names of the service members killed in the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon.

The annual Memorial Day ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens is a legacy of the former owners, the Armiger Family, who felt the public was losing sight of the meaning of Memorial Day.

The ceremony, which is free and open to the public begins at 10 a.m., at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, Circle of the Immortals, 200 East Padonia Road, Timonium, Md.

Ensuring the promise of the Every Student Succeeds Act

— During the month of May, many of us celebrated the 63rd anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. The unanimous 1954 ruling by the United States Supreme Court declared that, “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Last week, the National Newspaper Publishers Association partnered with the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage for a special tribute to the first African American Supreme Court Justice. We also reflected on the significance of an improved national education law. The preservation of Thurgood Marshall’s legacy is dependent upon our dedication to our children.

In a column for The Washington Post, Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, noted that, “Today, nearly half of all black students attend majority black schools, with over 70 percent in high-poverty school districts.”

High poverty school districts are often overwhelmed by the external consequences of poverty that distract students from learning and prevent effective classroom instruction. Chronic absenteeism, poor nutrition, and various forms of abuse, are a few of the challenges facing high poverty school districts. Although, in-school psychological and academic resources cannot eliminate these challenges completely, they do help to mitigate their effects. Yet, many of these programs are routinely underfunded.

So, on the 63rd anniversary of the landmark decision to integrate educational institutions in the United States, we ask ourselves the question, “How far have we come?” We struggled to be allowed to get an education. We fought to have equal access to quality education. We endured forced integration, only to be placed at the back of the classroom and ignored.

The Every Student Succeeds Act attempts (ESSA) to fulfill the promise of a high-quality education for all of our children. ESSA advocates for qualified teachers, high standards, a robust programs, and assessments, which inform classroom instruction. The law, which was passed during the Obama Administration, also returns some responsibilities to create innovative and equitable educational policies back to Local Education Agencies (LEA).

In response to the passage of ESSA in December 2015, thirty-seven civil rights and education groups issued the following statement, “The Elementary and Secondary Education Act is our nation’s most important civil rights law for promoting educational achievement and protecting the rights and interests of students disadvantaged by discrimination, poverty and other conditions that may limit their educational opportunity.”

So, yes, we acknowledge that a single law won’t solve all of the challenges facing our community, but we still have a duty to continue the fight for equity in education for the benefit of our children, especially poor students and students of color. The key to the success of this education law rest in the hands of parents and communities across the nation.

Together, we can fulfill the promise of ESSA and ensure that every student succeeds.

Learn more about the Every Student Succeeds Act at

Dr. Elizabeth Primas is an educator, who spent more than 40 years working towards improving education for children of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds. Dr. Primas is the program manager for the NNPA’s Every Student Succeeds Act Media Campaign. Follow Dr. Primas on Twitter @elizabethprimas.

Annapolis hip-hop artist hits big with contest win, new video

— Freestyle rap battles represent a creative process for popular Annapolis hip-hop artist Tre Da Kid, whose approach of taking the contest to his opponent helped him to capture the Verizon #freestyle50 challenge, a national competition that allows rising lyricists to put their bars to the test and compete for the chance to open on tour for various big name artists.

“My mind was focused strictly on winning,” said Tre an Annapolis High School graduate who also attended the Art Institute of Atlanta.

“That day, the day I won the competition, it could have been Jesus himself, we would have had to battle it out because I was focused on winning,” he said, laughing.

The victory came with prizes that included a recording contract with the hip-hop label 300 Entertainment, an independent record label distributed by Arista Records; a $10,000 grand prize and the tour opportunity.

One of the 300 Entertainment owners is Baltimore native, Kevin Liles, a former executive at Def Jam Records.

This month, Tre began filming the music video to his new single, “Run It,” in Annapolis.

He said he expects to wrap up the final takes either in Atlanta or Los Angeles. However, it was important that his hometown was featured.

“That’s the most amazing part, where I’m from, Annapolis, not a whole lot of positive has come from here and to be at the forefront is strictly amazing,” he said. “To see Annapolis being mentioned by big name radio hosts and written about and knowing I help put it on the map, it’s my city and the city has been so supportive.”

Born Edward Seay, Tre says his mother died seven months ago just as he began preparing for the contest. His father died only days before his video shoot earlier this month.

“My father instilled in me the music and my mom was the one who always told me that things would happen for me,” Tre said. “I just kept working, and work helped me not to lose control after my parents died.”

Liles was one of many to recognized Tre’s trek to stardom.

In an earlier published interview, the music maverick said, “Tre’s journey, the loss of his mom in September, the countless videos and singles he puts out, his perseverance, tenacity, passion and not expecting things to be given to him but to get up on stage and take it. No question. He won by a landslide.”

Liles’ promise that Tre would quickly be in a studio laying down tracks for a new song proved true with the catchy single, “Run It.”

For Tre, achieving success hasn’t gone to his head. He says he still jumps at every interview opportunity regardless of the size of the news outlet or radio station. He owes it to those who follow him to be heard.

He also expressed gratitude to his employer and colleagues at Annapolis Subaru, where he works detailing automobiles.

“They’ve been good to me. Even this interview, they excused me so that I could do this,” he said. “I feel the same as I did any other day. It’s like all of this was destined to happen. I’m taking more pictures and in people’s eyes, I’m a celebrity but to me it’s just work and work that I love.”

To listen to the new single, “Run It,” visit

Heart Disease in Children…Yes, it happens! And Parents Need to Know About It

— As a pediatric cardiologist, I diagnose and treat children with heart conditions. I also assist families and children with implementing strategies to help prevent the onset of heart-related disease.

Dr. Carissa M. Baker-Smith, , MD, MS, MPH Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine Pediatric Cardiologist, University of Maryland Children’s Hospital

Courtesy Photo/UMMS

Dr. Carissa M. Baker-Smith, , MD, MS, MPH Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine Pediatric Cardiologist, University of Maryland Children’s Hospital

Parents, family members and children are counseled regarding the child’s specific heart findings and when necessary, management and treatment strategies are put into action.

News that Jimmy Kimmel’s son was born with a heart defect was on the front page of the news several weeks ago. Knowledge that his newborn son would need to undergo heart surgery at such a young age gripped the family and those hearing this story.

It is important to note that while not all children with defects of the heart will require heart surgery, many will require lifelong follow-up with a cardiologist. Some may require procedures of the heart such as cardiac catheterization or heart surgery.

In the field of pediatric cardiology, we often talk about two types of heart disease: congenital and acquired.

Congenital heart disease (CHD) refers to defects of the heart that occurred when the heart was forming (first three to eight weeks of pregnancy). CHD can present early or later in a child’s life, depending on the severity of the disease. CHD is actually the most common birth defect in the United States, occurring in 40,000 of the four million live births a year, or nearly one percent of U.S. births.

The other type of heart disease that will impact an even larger number of children and adults is acquired heart disease. Approximately 92.1 million people have at least one type of cardiovascular disease.

Known risk factors for cardiovascular disease include:

•Elevated blood pressure and hypertension

•Lack of physical activity

•High cholesterol

•Unhealthy diet

•Unhealthy weight/obesity/morbid obesity

•Smoking/tobacco Use

•Elevated blood glucose/Diabetes

•Poor sleep and obstructive sleep apnea

It is not uncommon for parents, teachers and other providers to assume that a child is “fine.” Many of the conditions that put children at risk for long-term heart-related problems don’t cause symptoms.

For instance, most children with elevated blood pressure or high cholesterol are unaware that they have either of these conditions.

Parents should know that even if your child’s heart developed normally, decisions that we make in terms of what and how much we feed our children can also have an impact on their heart health.

Children who are of an unhealthy weight or who are obese (weight for height greater than the 95th percentile) are at a much higher risk for diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obstructive sleep apnea, and early heart disease as adults.

We as parents must encourage good nutrition and avoid giving our children excessive calories (children are not little adults). Children need far fewer calories in order to grow normally. Avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages is important and avoiding or limiting high fat foods is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight.

Simple ways to keep our children healthy, include:

•Try to exercise every day

•Eat the green stuff: spinach, broccoli, green beans

•Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages

•Get a good night’s rest

•Drink water!

Tips to help your child lead a healthier life according to the American Heart Association “Life’s Simple 7”: Questions to Ask Yourself as a Parent”

•One out of every 10 children has elevated blood pressure or hypertension. Do you know your child’s blood pressure? Is it abnormal?

•One out of at least 250 children has high cholesterol. If your child is over the age of 10 years, or there is a family history of high cholesterol and your child is over four years of age, do you know your child’s cholesterol level? Is it abnormal?

•Children 12-to-19 years of age should get one hour of physical activity each day. Does your child exercise for less than one hour per day, each week?

•How much does your child weigh? What is his or her body mass index? Is it greater than the 95th percentile? Check Out:

•Does your child smoke?

•Does your child snore?

•Does your child ever stop breathing when he or she sleeps? Does he or she find it hard to stay awake during the day?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your child may benefit from lifestyle intervention that could potentially have a positive impact on his or heart long-term cardiovascular health.

The most important information that I can share with families is that while youth is protective, decisions we make or help our children to make at an early age can have a dramatic impact on whether they develop heart disease as an adult. No parent wants their child to suffer a heart attack or stroke as an adult, but it is important to note that the risk factors for heart attack and stroke can develop in early childhood.

National effort hopes to unite Americans around common values, prevent destruction of historic ship

— At a time of intense national division, the owners of America’s Flagship— the SS United States— are hoping to bring the country together to save a unique and endangered national treasure. The SS United States Conservancy is launching the “We are the United States” campaign to showcase America’s Flagship as a symbol of our unifying values and raise urgently-needed funds to save the only ship to bear the nation’s name.

The urgent campaign to raise $500,000 by July 4th celebrates how America’s Flagship embodies many of the nation’s most enduring values, such as freedom, diversity, resilience, courage, and innovation. “We are the United States” features a new crowdfunding campaign, including a powerful new video about the ship, expanded social media outreach to attract new supporters, motivational images available for free download, and personal stories from people across the country that express why it is so important to save America’s Flagship. To learn more about the SS United States and the campaign, visit:

“Our nation today is deeply divided. The SS United States shows what we can accomplish when we set aside our differences and rally around a worthy cause,” said Conservancy Executive Director Susan Gibbs. “America’s Flagship has always symbolized the qualities we share as a people and that make the American dream possible.”

Gibbs hopes the new campaign will help bring Americans closer together and prevent the one-of-a-kind historic ocean liner from being lost forever.

“We are the United States,” she continued. “Our nation’s flagship tells a powerful story about who we are when we’re at our very best. Her story is one of ingenuity, hard work and a shared sense of purpose. She can be a unifying force at a time when we need one more than ever.”

The SS United States, the largest passenger vessel ever built in America and the fastest ocean liner in history, is currently moored in Philadelphia. The Conservancy, which has not taken any taxpayer dollars, has galvanized a community of supporters from all 50 states and 35 countries to preserve the ship while building a growing collection of historic artifacts from the vessel. The organization is working to convert the SS United States into a one-of-a-kind mixed-use museum and development complex.

However, without additional donations and developer commitments, the non-profit group will be forced to pursue alternatives this summer, such as converting the ship into an artificial underwater reef or recycling the vessel, while securing alternative venues to showcase its curatorial collections.

“Losing our country’s flagship would be a terrible loss for the nation,” Gibbs continued. “This campaign is not just about saving a ship. It’s about proving to ourselves that we can rally to save our shared history regardless of our differences.

It’s about honoring this great American achievement and the values that made the United States possible.”

To support the SS United States Conservancy with a tax-deductible contribution or to learn more about the SS United States visit

Inaugural Annapolis Arts Week Showcases depth of Annapolis’ Arts Scene

— Annapolis’ arts scene will be front and center during Annapolis Arts Week, June 3-11, 2017. Kicking off with the June 2-3 Annapolis Irish Festival and culminating with the newly revamped Arts and Wine Festival at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on June 10-11, the nine-day event is a microcosm of the rich and dynamic visual and performing arts scene that’s alive and well in Annapolis.

A collaborative effort of Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (VAAAC), the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, the Annapolis-based Symmetry Agency and members of the destination’s arts community, Annapolis Arts Week makes it easy for area residents and visitors to immerse themselves in the arts. As VAAAC President and CEO Connie Del Signore sees it, “Annapolis Arts Week provides a snapshot in time of depth and breadth of Annapolis’s thriving arts and entertainment scene. Individuals who visit our Annapolis Arts Week website are likely to recognize events they’ve come to know and love over the years. Art lovers visiting Annapolis any time of the year are likely to come up with the same happy conclusion, ‘It’s easy to get an arts’ fix in Annapolis!’”

More than four months in the making, Annapolis Arts Week got its start when VAAAC Chief Marketing Officer Frank DiVenti and Symmetry Agency principal Ben Isenberg brainstormed about ways of generating headlines for the City’s arts scene. Since Isenberg was already working with City Dock Productions’ Jim Barthold to rebrand the Arts and Wine Festival. DiVenti proposed using the veteran event as the anchor for a weeklong celebration of the arts.

The Symmetry Agency is located within the Arts District on West Street. As principals of the company, Ben Isenberg and Darin Gilliam wanted to give back to the community they work in and love. They volunteered their time to bring arts groups and neighborhood associations together to float the idea of an umbrella event. Attendees were invited to take stock of their upcoming events, exhibitions, gallery openings, performance schedules, etc. and submit them for inclusion on the Annapolis Arts Week website.

Visitors to the Annapolis Arts Week website ( will find a complete listing of the festivals, block parties, live music, performing arts, gallery exhibits, and classes.

Individuals in the mood for a festival, can enjoy three stages of Irish music, food and culture at the June 2-3 Annapolis Irish Festival. The June 4th First Sunday Arts Festival invites arts lovers to browse the works of more than 130 local artists and crafters. The Maryland Federation of Art’s Paint Annapolis takes center stage June 4-11 featuring plein air painters from Annapolis and around the world.

The June 10-11 Arts and Wine Festival at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium features a lot that’s new. For the first time, the grand finale of the Annapolis Arts Week celebration includes two days of interactive painting as well as an Artist Pavilion presented by Arts Council of Anne Arundel County.

Art lovers who also love food can choose from a host of sweet and savory selections provided by 14 food trucks in the festival’s new Food Truck Rodeo. Last-but-not-least, the event will feature selections from 25 Maryland wineries and music by eleven local bands.

VAAAC’s Del Signore says teamwork made the event possible. “Our neighborhood associations and arts community rallied behind the volunteer leadership of Ben Isenberg and Darin Gilliam to showcase the first-class arts scene Annapolis has to offer.”

Author and global traveler brings kindness message to Baltimore

— Leon Logothetis brought his message of kindness to Baltimore’s Arbutus Middle School earlier this month, and the global adventurer and philanthropist says the students there embraced his belief that doing something good for others goes a long way in creating a peaceful world.

“My visit to Arbutus went very well and it’s such a privilege to be able to go to the school and talk to the students,” said Logothetis, the best-selling author who quit his job to embark on a global journey that he said transformed his life and taught him that nothing succeeds like kindness.

“What stands out for me is when I asked a question and invite the students to come down and tell me what it’s like when someone is kind to them. More often than not, they picked someone from the school or in the audience who has been kind,” Logothetis said. “That shows everyone that kindness really does change lives.”

Logothetis, who hosts the Netflix series, “The Kindness Diaries,” traveled across the world with just $5 to spend per day. He relied on the kindness of others to take him from place to place.

His story made international headlines and gained traction as he appeared on top-rated shows like “Good Morning America” and his YouTube series, “#GoBeKind,” which has generated millions of views.

“It really started for me early,” Logothetis said. “I had an afterschool teacher who helped me. I used to be bullied and the teacher would always say that she believed in me. That was really the first act of kindness that made me believe that how you speak to another person really does matters.”

On a yellow motorcycle, Logothetis traveled the world, a six-month jaunt that took him across 20 countries, which he’s chronicled in the 13-part series, “The Kindness Diaries.”

Through extreme conditions, setbacks and bike breakdowns, kindness prevails and is paid back in-kind by Logothetis. For example, he reportedly provided sports equipment, books, and water purifiers to a Calcutta orphanage that had offered him refuge.

Kindness, Logothetis believes, is universal.

“If you know how to be kind to your pet, then why can’t you be kind to each other? There are no more excuses,” he said.

He calls the presentations he gives at schools, “I See You,” a reflection of the imperative of not being judgmental of strangers and endeavoring to learn their stories.

Logothetis fondly recalled his trip through Bhutan, a tiny remote kingdom that’s nestled in the Himalayas between India and China.

Despite the national struggles, which include many human rights violations, individuals there proved especially kind to him, he said.

“The people are so lovely. My experience is that the people I met deal with you from the heart,” Logothetis said.

He said the time is particularly right for promoting kindness in the United States because of the divisive political climate and the vitriol of social media.

“I have faith in America. I have faith in the people and I have faith things will improve,” Logothetis said.

Later this year or early in 2018, he plans to take an electric car around the world in which he’ll again rely on the kindness of others.

“When you show an act of kindness, you’re making someone feel less alone,” he said. “That, in itself, is valuable. But, the beauty is, it doesn’t matter how much money you have or how little you have, everyone can be kind.”

Comcast awards $119k in scholarships to Maryland’s high school seniors

— The Comcast Foundation announced the 2017 recipients of its annual Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program awards in Maryland. The program, funded by the Comcast Foundation, recognizes the best and brightest high school seniors for their community service, academic performance and leadership skills.

“I would like to congratulate these remarkable students who are dedicated to creating a positive impact in their communities and who strive to reach their fullest potential,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “With this support from partners in the business community, these students will have the opportunity to continue their education and develop into exemplary leaders of tomorrow.”

Comcast officials were joined by Dr. Carol Williamson, deputy superintendent, Office of Teaching and Learning at the Maryland State Department; Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch; and other local elected officials and school administrators recognized the students at a special event held May 10, at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis.

One hundred and nine recipients of the 2017 Maryland Leaders and Achievers® scholarships received $1,000. Cienna Bell, a senior at Bowie High School was awarded a $10,000 Comcast Founders Scholarship— instituted in honor of Ralph J. Roberts, Founder and chairman emeritus of Comcast Corporation— for a total of $119,000 awarded this year to Maryland high school students.

“Our Leaders and Achievers Scholarship winners are committed to academic excellence and community service,” said Mary McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Beltway Region. “We are honored to recognize their achievements, and are excited to support them as they continue their educational journeys.”

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program provides scholarships to students who strive to achieve their full potential, who are catalysts for positive change in their communities, who are involved in their schools, and who serve as models for their fellow students. The philosophy behind the program is to give young people every opportunity to prepare for the future and to engage them in their communities. The program also demonstrates the importance of civic involvement, and the value placed on civic involvement by the business community.

Since 2009, Comcast has awarded nearly $825,000 in Leaders & Achievers Scholarships to over 750 students in Maryland. This year, the program will award more than $2 million in scholarships to more than 2,000 students across the country in pursuit of higher education. For more information about the Leaders & Achievers® Scholarship Program and a list of all scholarship recipients from Maryland, visit: