Michael E. Busch Annapolis Library Opens

Annapolis— On July 22, 2020, Offi- cials from the Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) opened the new Michael E. Busch Annapolis Li- brary with a virtual ribbon cutting fea- turing Governor Larry Hogan, Speaker of the House of Delegates Adrienne Jones and County Executive Steuart Pittman.

The $24 million facility is the first newly constructed library in the county in more than 16 years.

“We are proud to open this state-of-the- art library for our customers. This new building represents a renissance in our county’s public libraries,” said AACPL CEO Skip Auld.

The new 32,500 square foot building boasts 85,000 books and materials, a vending café, makerspace, tech zone and teen area, expanded children’s area and outdoor play space, six collaboration spaces, two meeting rooms and more. Environmentally friendly features of the building include geothermal heat- ing and cooling, five electric vehicle- charging stations and 222 individually programmed electro-chromic win- dows. The new building is certified “Gold” under the U.S. Green Building Council’s process for Leadership in En- ergy and Environmental Design (LEED). It’s the first county building to achieve LEED Gold certification.

“The Michael E. Busch Annapolis Library will serve the needs of all in our community for decades to come. Speaker Busch would surely be proud of this building, which bears his name, as an example of how government can be a leader in sustainable design and con- struction,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman.

Additional unique features of the build- ing include a digitized nautical map of the Chesapeake Bay serving as flooring in the lobby and café, community living room and personalized walkway made up of 1,569 individualized bricks featur- ing messages of hope, remembrance and humor. Wall hangings in the new library display a copy of George Washington’s resignation speech when he resigned his commission as Com- mander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and the original poem created by Vincent Godfrey Burns, former Poet Laureate of Maryland, for the opening of the former Annapolis Library in 1965.

The branch, like all libraries is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It will be open on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. from Septem- ber – May. Starting July 27, 2020, con- tactless curbside pickup is also available at the location Monday to Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.

The building is named in honor of late House of Delegates’ Speaker Michael E. Busch, a long-time Annapolis resident. Speaker Busch was a staunch advocate for education, affordable health care Courtesy Photo/AACPL and the environment. During his tenure as Speaker, public libraries saw a renais- sance with the state providing more than $1 billion in capital and operating funds.

Construction on the building started in August 2018. The design team on the project included: WGM Architecture + Interiors, Margaret Sullivan Studio and Louis Cherry Architecture.

10 Tips for helping children understand wearing a mask

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is more important than ever that we help our children understand why wear- ing a face mask is important and how to do so correctly to protect themselves and others. Following are some important tips for helping children of any age un- derstand and accept mask-wearing and to feel secure and comfortable doing so.

  1. Make sure children understand why it’s important for everyone to wear a mask. Ask “why is it important for us to wear our masks?” and let the child’s answer guide the need for addi- tional information. By age 5, children can understand simple explanations about why we wear face masks (keeping germs away or keeping germs we may have away from others). Use simple words that won’t frighten your child.

  2. Check in with your child about their feelings around mask wearing. For older children this may include their feelings around COVID in general. Listen and let them know that that feelings about this are normal. And be sure to share your own feelings – “I agree, this really stinks right now.”

  3. For younger children, incorporate mask wearing in play. Have a favorite stuffed animal wear a mask. Draw pic- tures with people wearing masks. If your child likes to pretend they are going to the store, wear your masks when you are playing store.

  4. Communicate that wearing a mask is a rule right now. Just like it’s a rule that we look both ways before crossing the street, wearing a mask when we are outside of our house is a rule right now.

  5. Offer your child choices where they exist — for example, if you are making your own masks, let your child pick out the fabric they would like for their mask; older children can help make their own masks; if purchasing masks, let children pick out the masks they like. There are so many fun options with sports team, super heroes, crayon colors, etc.

  6. Practice wearing face masks before they might need to wear one outside of your home. Teach them how to put them on and take them off.

  7. Try different kinds of masks and ask your child which one seems the most comfortable— especially if the child will need to wear this mask at child care or school for longer periods of time. Practice wearing the mask for longer periods of time to see which mask is the most comfortable. Identify any options for stepping away from a group environment to take a break from mask wearing— for example when it’s outside playtime at child care, speak with the child care provider about taking a break from mask wearing while continuing to monitor for social distancing as much as possible.

  8. Adults and older siblings are great role models. When adults and siblings in the family wear face masks, children will feel more comfortable doing it too.

  9. Tell your child in advance— The day before if possible, if they are going somewhere where they will need to wear a face mask.

  10. Make sure you and your child are wearing your mask correctly— The mask should cover your nose and mouth and tuck under your chin. Masks come in different sizes, so make sure you have the correct size mask for your child.

As we all continue to be focused on staying healthy and safe, wearing a mask is an important part of limiting the spread of COVID-19. All children over the age of two benefit from following this current rule, and parents and other family members are key to helping them understand why it is important and feeling comfortable with it.

Shannon Joslin, MS, is a Certified Child Life Specialist, and Manager of the Child Life program at the University of Maryland Medical Center/University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.

Seven Anne Arundel County high school seniors among Comcast NBCUniversal Award recipients

Baltimore— On July 28, 2020, Com- cast NBCUniversal announced it has awarded approximately $95,000 in scholarships for the 2020-2021 school year to 38 Maryland students as part of its annual Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program. Students are se- lected for their outstanding community service, academic performance, and leadership skills.

Funded by the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation, the award is a one-time, $2,500 scholarship to be used toward un- dergraduate education-related ex- penses. Since 2001, more than $34 million has been awarded to about 30,000 high school seniors across the country as part of the Leaders and Achievers program.

“All of us at Comcast are honored to recognize the amazing achievements of our Leaders and Achievers scholarship winners in Maryland,” said Mary McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Beltway Region. “These students excel in academics and are lead- ers in the community and among their peers. They are a great representation of our future, and we are proud to help them further their education.”

“Congratulations to each of these students for receiving a Leaders and Achievers scholarship for serving as leaders in their communities and for their academic achievements,” said Maryland School Superintendent Dr. Karen B. Salmon. “I’d also like to thank Comcast for helping support the educational future of our Maryland students.”

Comcast, in partnership with Dr. Salmon, created a congratulatory video, which is available at: https://player.vimeo.com/video/44255 3053 and shared with all its Maryland scholarship winners. Additionally, sev- eral students shared their excitement around attending college in the fall, available at: https://beltway.comcast.com/2020/07/28 /hear-from-our-maryland-2020-leaders- and-achievers-scholarship-recipients The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program recognizes high school seniors for their community service, academic performance, and leader- ship skills. These scholarships are provided to give young people the op- portunity to continue their education to better compete in tomorrow’s work- place. Applicants to the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program must demonstrate academic excellence, commitment to community service, and outstanding qualities in character, integrity, and leadership.

The Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation continues the work of the foundations founded by Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal to provide charitable support to qualified non-profit organizations. The Foundation invests in programs intended to have a positive, sustainable impact on the communities we serve. Its mission is to empower communities to thrive by helping to pro- vide access to technology, relevant digital skills and training, and inspiring volunteerism and service. More information about how Comcast NBCUniversal supports the communities it serves is available at comcast.com/community.

Cameren Watkins Southern Senior High School

Courtesy Photo

Cameren Watkins Southern Senior High School

Daniel Ruiz Annapolis High School

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Daniel Ruiz Annapolis High School

Ian Dinmore Arundel High School

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Ian Dinmore Arundel High School

Jon Williams Broadneck High School

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Jon Williams Broadneck High School

Trentin Long North County High School

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Trentin Long North County High School

Reyna Vrbensky South River High School

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Reyna Vrbensky South River High School

Want Racial Justice? Start With Filling Out Your Census

Those living in our nation’s poor and minority communities have historically gone undercounted in the U.S. Census. For instance, nearly one million Black Americans went uncounted nationwide in the 2010 Census.

Fortunately, there’s an easy step you can take that will go a long way towards ensur- ing everyone in our communities gets the representation and resources they deserve. By completing the 2020 census questionnaire— online, over the phone, or by mail— you can add your voice to the conversation and make yourself and your family heard. Here are five ways your census response will help you and your fellow Americans.

  1. It advances racial equity— In recent months, millions have taken to the streets to call for racial equity and justice. These protests have helped amplify the voices of under- served communities. But real change will only take place when these demands become public policy. For that to happen, our government needs to see you. And that can only happen if you stand up to be counted. The racial inequities that undermine our nation can never be addressed unless you fill out the census and join the fight for social justice.

  2. It directs funding to programs that save lives— As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to ravage the country, it’s critical that we direct our emergency resources to those who need them the most. Black and Latinx Americans are disproportionately impacted by the virus and are twice as likely to die from COVID-19. Wealth also factors into the survivability of COVID-19. Adults with an annual household income below $15,000 are nearly 15 percent more likely to contract a serious illness follow- ing infection compared to those with annual incomes over $50,000. Your census response helps essential workers identify at-risk communities and directs resources to these vulnerable populations.

The coronavirus won’t be the last time certain communities are disproportionately impacted by a natural disaster. Accurate census data will prepare first responders, nonprofit relief organizations, and government officials to respond to future crises.

  1. It funds everything from public housing to school breakfasts— This year’s census will determine how trillions of dollars in federal spending are allocated over the next decade. In 2017 alone, over 300 federal programs relied on 2010 census data to allocate $1.5 trillion of funds. That money pays for everything from public hous- ing to school breakfast programs, new roads to trash and recycling schedules. Federal dollars won’t reach the communities that need them most unless the govern- ment has a precise picture of your local population. You must paint that picture by letting them know you are there.

  2. It ensures fair political representation— Ever wonder why Ohio has 16 seats in the House of Representatives, while Georgia has only 14? The number of repre- sentatives a state gets increases with its population— and the census determines its population. You pay taxes, right? Well, don’t you want to be fairly represented?

The results of the 2020 census will shape the Congressional map for the next decade. If you want a Congress that represents your community and serves your interests, make sure the government accounts for you and your family.

  1. It creates jobs— Census data doesn’t just help government officials. Businesses consult the census when making hiring and payroll decisions, or where to locate a new office, or when determining how best to serve their communities.

For instance, understanding the demographic of a particular neighborhood can help a local grocer determine which items to stock. This knowledge helps her business grow and creates jobs in your neighborhood, while delivering needed items to the marketplace.

At United Way, we fight for every person in every community to be seen and heard. But we can’t do it alone. Join us and help stand up for your community by being counted. You have until October 31st to fill out the 2020 U.S. census. Change doesn’t happen without you.

Suzanne McCormick is U.S. President of United Way.

Is the Postal Service Slowing Mail Delivery?

Already frustrated with late, delayed or lost mail?

Residents who depend on the U.S. Postal Service can expect even more frustration.

As first reported by the Associated Press, mail deliveries could be delayed by a day or more under cost-cutting efforts being imposed by the new post- master general.

“The plan eliminates overtime for hun- dreds of thousands of postal workers and says employees must adopt a different mindset to ensure the Postal Service’s survival during the coronavirus pan- demic,” The Associated Press reported, citing a confidential memo circulated throughout the postal service.

Late trips will no longer be authorized. If postal distribution centers are running late, “they will keep the mail for the next day,” Postal Service leaders wrote in a document.

“One aspect of these changes that may be difficult for employees is that — tem- porarily — we may see mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks,” another document says, the AP reported.

In a livestream interview, Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) told BlackPressUSA

Trump’s authoritarian rot is dissolving the American state— and raising the possibility of interference with the 2020 election.”

Trump has voiced strong opposition to mail-in voting.

Additionally, many said the slowdown impacts minorities more than anyone else.

“As a small business owner who shipping or decrease our already small mar-gins if possible, to offer faster shipping.”

Harris added that USPS priority mail had enabled his company to offer free shipping on all orders. He noted that UPS and FedEx are more expensive options and are much slower.

“For many minority businesses, we have to compete with much larger com- panies, and we need every advantage that we can get. If I can at least offer free shipping, then it’s one less customer objection that we have to overcome,” Harris said.

Elizabeth Weatherby, who works for the integrated marketing development company, Youtech, recanted a recent move across the country from Massa- chusetts to Arizona.

She said she sent her security deposit overnight via the post office and ex- pected it to arrive long before her week- long journey.

“By the time I had arrived in Arizona, the check was still not delivered to my housing management company. What’s even more strange is that when I called USPS, no matter what number, what of- fice, what location, I could not get through to anyone,” Weatherby stated. “I was waiting on hold forever and couldn’t even speak with a representa- tive. In-person, I had to go to every sin- gle post office in my new town to track down my check. I am lucky my housing management still let me move in. I defi- nitely think this could be due to the Trump Administration slowing down the ability to vote by mail.”

Is the Postal Service Slowing Mail Delivery?

“Congress authorized a $10 billion loan to the postal service as part of a coronavirus relief package. Still, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin steadfastly has refused to hand over the money until the USPS turns over much of its operations to him.”that Congress had approved new fund- ing for the U.S. Postal Service and hoped to do more.

Congress authorized a $10 billion loan to the postal service as part of a coron- avirus relief package. Still, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin steadfastly has refused to hand over the money until the USPS turns over much of its opera- tions to him.

Reports of significant problems at the postal service under newly appointed postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, a major Trump donor, has exacerbated claims that the slowdown is intentional.

“The Week,” an online publication, called it “yet another example of how

lizes USPS to ship many of our products to customers, this will significantly affect us,” said Calvin Harris, the founder and managing director of Reveille Trading Company, a coffee

importing operation that offers specialty coffee and single-origin by partnering directly with farms around the world.

“It is my opinion that it will dispropor- tionately harm minority businesses. Black-owned businesses often have harder times securing financing, and we generally secure financing at higher rates than white-owned companies,” Harris opined. “This means that we run on tighter margins, so many businesses will be forced to either have slower shipping or decrease our already small mar- gins if possible, to offer faster shipping.”

Harris added that USPS priority mail had enabled his company to offer free shipping on all orders. He noted that UPS and FedEx are more expensive options and are much slower.

“For many minority businesses, we have to compete with much larger com- panies, and we need every advantage that we can get. If I can at least offer free shipping, then it’s one less customer objection that we have to overcome,” Harris said.

Elizabeth Weatherby, who works for the integrated marketing development company, Youtech, recanted a recent move across the country from Massa- chusetts to Arizona.

She said she sent her security deposit overnight via the post office and expected it to arrive long before her week- long journey.

“By the time I had arrived in Arizona, the check was still not delivered to my housing management company. What’s even more strange is that when I called USPS, no matter what number, what office, what location, I could not get through to anyone,” Weatherby stated. “I was waiting on hold forever and couldn’t even speak with a representative. In-person, I had to go to every sin- gle post office in my new town to track down my check. I am lucky my housing management still let me move in. I defi- nitely think this could be due to the Trump Administration slowing down the ability to vote by mail.”

How self-compassion can build resilience

It’s summertime and while most of us are trying to make the most of great weather and being outside it can be hard to fully enjoy the pleasures of summer given the current circumstances. On top of that many of us feel the pressure of checking off many of our personal goals and projects now that it seems like we have more time on our hands. Naturally, we put pressure on ourselves that can sometimes undermine our mental health rather than support us. This pressure can easily turn into self-criticism, which can be harmful to our wellbeing if we are not careful. The secret ingredient is self- compassion.

Most people believe that being self-criti- cal and hard on themselves are the only ways to success and happiness but studies have shown that self-compassion is a far better alternative for building resilience. Self-compassion may seem like a weak- ness but it actually can be a source of psychological strength giving us the abil- ity to learn from our mistakes and bounce back with greater enthusiasm. In fact, studies show that when people feel com- passion, motor planning areas in the brain begin preparing for action.

So what does self-compassion actually look like? Think of it as treating yourself like you would a friend. In Rick Han- son’s book, “Resilient,” he discusses when we treat others with respect and caring, the best in them usually comes out. In the same way, if we treat our- selves with caring and respect— the best would come out of us. Yet most of us are far better friends to others than we are with ourselves.

“We care about their pain, see positive qualities in them, and treat them fairly and kindly. But what kind of friend are you to yourself?” said Dr. Hanson.

Many of us are tough on ourselves, critical, self-doubting, and repeat self- defeating thoughts that inhibit ourselves from being our best.

Think to yourself how your day would go if you were on your side just as you are with your best friends. What would it feel like if you could take time to appre- ciate your good intentions, learn from your mistakes, and stop being so critical of yourself? When your thoughts begin to cycle down a long road of self-criti- cism and self-doubt try to remember to be a friend to yourself— be kind, patient and see the positive qualities in yourself. In the long run, self-compassion can allow us to become stronger and more resilient as new challenges arise.

Being kind, patient and compassionate towards yourself not only supports your wellbeing but it can also be good for others around you. When people take time to invest ain their wellbeing, they become more patient, caring and joyful in their relationships.

“Just think to yourself how it would benefit others if you felt less stressed, worried or irritated and more peaceful, contented and loving,” said Dr. Hanson.

Being compassionate to yourself may seem difficult at first. In fact, the brain is designed to be changed by experiences, especially negative ones. So, it’s normal for us to be self-critical and to stay stuck

Chazz Scott Nucleus Team Member Positively Caviar, Inc with negative thoughts about ourselves. However self-compassion just like any- thing else is learnable.

Here are a couple of tips and strategies to keep in mind as you build self-compassion:

Comfort your body— Eat or drink something healthy. Lie down and rest. Massage your own neck, feet, or hands. Take a walk. Anything you can do to im- prove how you feel physically gives you a dose of self-compassion.

Give yourself encouragement—Think of what you would say to a good friend if he or she was facing a difficult or stressful situation. Then, when you find yourself in this kind of situation, direct these compassionate responses toward yourself.

Practice mediation— Mediation is a process by which, through contempla- tion and relaxation, we can begin to loosen the grip of self-critical thoughts and emotions. Mediation is not having control of your thoughts it’s about be- coming aware of them. Try using media- tion apps such as Calm or Headspace if you’ve never meditated before.

Positively Caviar, Inc. (PCI) is a grass- roots nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization focused on instilling mental resilience by way of positive thinking and optimism. Each month, a member of their Nucleus Team writes a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific stud- ies, nutrition facts and stories that are positive in nature to support a positive and healthy lifestyle. To learn more about our organization or how you can support, volunteer, or donate to Posi- tively Caviar, Inc. visit: positively-

Resource: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mental- health/4-ways-to-boost-your-self-com- passion

Jason Weems Baltimore Native Makes Comedic History

Baltimore— The Audacity Group is proud to announce the national release of Jason Weems: Unknown on August 4 on streaming services everywhere comedy is available including Pandora, Sirius, and Amazon Prime. Baltimore native Jason Weems is mak- ing comedic history. The rising comic of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, FOX and HBO, Weems co-produced with The Audacity Group a sold-out, one-hour live event that was taped in Baltimore. This event has three groundbreaking firsts for Baltimore: first stand-up comedy special filmed in Baltimore’s historic Center Stage theater; the first stand-up comedy special filmed in Baltimore; and the first stand-up special filmed in the city by a Baltimore comedian.

Unknown was inspired by Weems’ near-death experience due to an asthma attack following his performance in Philadelphia in 2017. For five minutes, he did not have a pulse or heartbeat. He awakened 16-hours later in the hospital with his patient bracelet labeled “Unknown.” This experience did not neces- sarily change his stand-up, but it definitely changed the intention in which he approaches it.

“I was always the ‘leave it all on the stage’ guy. Then on May 3, 2017, I literally left it all on stage,” said Weems. “Nothing about that day felt unique or ominous, so that truly let me know that any moment can be our last moment. Stand-up makes me feel alive, at least when it’s not killing me.”

Unknown, filmed in December 2018, will be marked as one of the last events where people could gather in public spaces and take part in the time honored tradition of stand-up comedy. Attendees included Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Maryland State Delegate Nick Mosby, actress Sonja Sohn, R&B singer Brave Williams, FOX 45 Morning News anchor Patrice Harris and radio host Farajii Muhammad of WEAA-FM. The crowd was insane, and he is very thankful to Baltimore for making it an unforgettable night.

Weems shared, “ You’re gonna laugh and hopefully a lot. Expect to feel a renewed energy for life watching/listening to the show or whatever your dreams may be. ‘Cause I am living or proof that one day you’re here and the next you’re accruing hospital expenses in Philadelphia.”

Jason Weems is a comedic genius, actor and writer. In 2014, his online sketch series The Lunchtime Show premiered on Marlon Wayans’ comedy plat- form WhatTheFunny.com. He is a long-time favorite in the DMV who has headlined at premier comedy clubs and festivals nationally, including the exclusive “invitation only” Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. Film critics have also recognized Weems’ emotional range in his lead role in the comedic drama, Wits End.

For more information about Jason Weems: Unknown, visit www.jason- weemscomedy.com. For more information about Audacity Group,

visit www.audacitygroupllc.com.

This project is a family affair as Weems shares executive producer roles with his wife, Dionne Joyner-Weems, CEO of Audacity Group, a premier brand shop. After a 16-year career of building bold brands and promoting bright talent, she never questioned if Audacity could produce this stand out comedy special. It was a question of if the world was ready for all of this talent.

“This ain’t our first rodeo! Jason and I have been the Master P’s of our fate ever since meeting as students at Morgan State University. He and I share an unre- lenting work ethic and a stubborn belief that if we want something bad enough, we have the ability to make it happen,” said Joyner-Weems.

The entire Unknown production was Black-led, Black-owned by Black cre- atives in Baltimore. As a major Black city in America, the narrative of the tal- ent we produce is often downplayed and falsely represented by a world that has no idea of what they’re missing, she said.

Joyner-Weems added, “Jason and I represent what the city of Baltimore looks like on the offense. Audacity Group makes no apologies. We didn’t simply work with Black people to pro- duce a sold-out stand-up comedy special event. Audacity

Group worked with the brightest and most innovative creatives in Baltimore who just so happen to all be dope Black people.”

Unknown is the latest installment of Weems’ “Good Ass Jokes” pro- duction. It is Weems’ hope that folks really laugh and enjoy them- selves and forget about all of the un- certainty in the

Expanded Statewide Mask Order, Out-of-State Travel Advisory

Annapolis— Governor Larry Hogan announced that based on the state’s data-driven approach, the expansion of the statewide masking order and a public health advisory for all out-of-state travel. The governor also unveiled contact trac- ing data showing that family gatherings are the most common high-risk gathering and working outside the home is the most common high-risk location for COVID- 19.

“We find ourselves at a fork in the road— a critical turning point where we could either continue making progress and continue heading in the right direc- tion, or we could ignore the warnings and spike back up like much of the rest of the country,” said Governor Hogan. “We are doing much better on our health metrics than most of the rest of the country, and we are doing much better on our economic recovery than most of the rest of the country, and we want to do what it takes to keep it that way. We have come too far together to lose the progress that we have made on the road to health and economic recovery here in Maryland.” Expanded Masking Order— With the unanimous support of the Maryland Coronavirus Recovery Team, Governor Hogan is expanding the statewide mask- ing order.

Under this order, which takes effect Friday, July 31 at 5 p.m., all Marylanders over the age of five are required to wear face coverings in the public spaces of all businesses across the state.

Face coverings will also be required in outdoor public areas, whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.

Out-of-State Travel Advisory— Gov- ernor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to issue a public health advisory for out-of-state travel. Under this advisory, Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to states with positivity rates of 10 percent or higher. Anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quaran- tine while awaiting results.

Marylanders are advised to postpone or cancel travel to these areas until their positivity rates decline. As of July 29, this advisory applies to Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska, and Idaho.

TeleHealth Access for Seniors Student found non-profit to bring digital access to seniors

When the coronavirus pandemic began to rage in March, schools and colleges were among the first casualties as education officials had to close their doors to ensure safety.

Sasvi Kulasinghe was sent home from her studies at the University of Mary- land. She immediately took an interest in finding out how she could make a tangible impact in her community.

Isuru Herath (Cornell University '23) co-leads Telehealth in Baltimore with Sasvi Kulasinghe.

Courtesy Photo

Isuru Herath (Cornell University ’23) co-leads Telehealth in Baltimore with Sasvi Kulasinghe.

“From the news and my own mother, who is a physician, I learned that the transition to telemedicine has been quite difficult for some community members, especially elderly individuals,” Kulasinghe said. “A lot of seniors either have flip phones or phones without video ca- pabilities, which makes telehealth visits much more difficult and less effective. Video conferencing allows the physician to provide more comprehensive care, as they can actually see and evaluate the patients’ symptoms and signs more ef- fectively.

“Thus, when I heard about ‘TeleHealth Access for Seniors,’ I was very eager to join, as it allowed me to address an im- portant need in the community.”

Telehealth for Seniors is a national nonprofit that provides seniors and low- income communities with devices, in- structions, and free tech-support to connect them to their physicians via a mobile device.

Telehealth enables caretakers to virtu- ally screen patients, answer questions, and make treatment recommendations without exposure to a hospital or clinic where they could contract or spread the coronavirus.

Locally, they are donating devices to clinics in the University of Maryland Medical System and the Mobile Medical Care clinic, which serves predominantly low-income communities in need of telemedicine appointments “As we adjust to living in this new re- ality, it has become evident that COVID-19 has exacerbated existing in- equalities. Inner-city communities, as well as the elderly, seem to be the most healthcare to patients in need.” Herath and Kulasinghe agreed that supporting Telehealth for Seniors is es- sential, particularly during COVID-19.

“As we navigate this pandemic, it’s re- ally important that everyone continues to follow social distancing guidelines to keep each other safe,” Kulasinghe said. “By breaking these rules, we may be putting vulnerable populations at high risk without even knowing it. To return to any sense of normalcy, we all have to play our part in protecting each other. It’s more important than ever to be mindful and considerate of others.”

To support our nonprofit’s initiative, donations of used devices are encouraged. To do so, visit “Device Donation Form” at https://www.telehealthforse- niors.org/support-us. Further, monetary donations can be made on the organization’s gofundme vulnerable populations during this pandemic,” said Kulasinghe, the nonprofit’s Baltimore lead.

‘“Telehealth Access for Seniors” is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that was formed to respond to these challenges by donating camera-enabled devices to clinics that serve patients from these populations so they can attend doctor’s appointments virtually. We also provide comprehensive guides and tech-support to help set up and use the devices.”

Isuru Herath, who attends Cornell University and co-leads Telehealth in Baltimore with Kulasinghe, said the organization is a straightforward way to give back to the community, as funds are spent based on the state they are raised in.

Ellicot City resident and sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park, Sasvi Kulasinghe is the Baltimore lead at TeleHealth Access for Seniors.

Courtesy Photo

Ellicot City resident and sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park, Sasvi Kulasinghe is the Baltimore lead at TeleHealth Access for Seniors.

“So monetary donations from Mary- land will be used to buy tablets for pa- tients in the Baltimore-DC metropolitan area. Additionally, patients keep these devices, allowing them to connect with their loved ones,” Herath said. “This is especially beneficial for elderly patients, who may often feel isolated during the quarantine. Donating to our organization is a great way to support each other in these trying times and help provide

Two Baltimore City high school seniors among Comcast NBCUniversal Award recipients

Vimeo

Comcast leaders and Achievers

Baltimore— On July 28, 2020, Com- cast NBCUniversal announced it has awarded approximately $95,000 in scholarships for the 2020-2021 school year to 38 Maryland students as part of its annual Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program. Students are selected for their outstanding commu- nity service, academic performance, and leadership skills.

Funded by the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation, the award is a one-time, $2,500 scholarship to be used toward un- dergraduate education-related ex- penses. Since 2001, more than $34 million has been awarded to about 30,000 high school seniors across the country as part of the Leaders and Achievers program.

“All of us at Comcast are honored to recognize the amazing achievements of our Leaders and Achievers scholarship winners in Maryland,” said Mary McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Beltway Region. “These students excel in academics and are leaders in the community and among their peers. They are a great representa- tion of our future, and we are proud to help them further their education.” “Congratulations to each of these students for receiving a Leaders and Achievers scholarship for serving as leaders in their communities and for their academic achievements,” said Maryland School Superintendent Dr. Karen B Salmon. “I’d also like to thank Comcast for helping support the educational future of our Maryland students.”

Comcast, in partnership with Dr. Salmon, created a congratulatory video, available at: https://player.vimeo.com/video/44255 3053 and shared with all its Maryland scholarship winners. Additionally, s everal students shared their excitement around attending college in the fall, available at: https://beltway.comcast.com/2020/07/28 /hear-from-our-maryland-2020-leaders- and-achievers-scholarship-recipients/

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program recognizes high school seniors for their community serv- ice, academic performance, and leader- ship skills. These scholarships are provided to give young people the opportunity to continue their education to better compete in tomorrow’s work- place. Applicants to the Comcast Lead- ers and Achievers Scholarship Program must demonstrate academic excellence, commitment to community service, and outstanding qualities in character, in- tegrity, and leadership.

The Comcast NBCUniversal Founda- tion continues the work of the foundations founded by Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal to provide charitable support to qualified non-profit organiza- tions. The Foundation invests in pro- grams intended to have a positive, sustainable impact on the communities we serve. Its mission is to empower communities to thrive by helping to pro- vide access to technology, relevant digi- tal skills and training, and inspiring volunteerism and service. More informa- tion about how Comcast NBCUniversal supports the communities it serves is available at comcast.com/community.

Baltimore City Senior, Robin Paranilam of Mount Saint Joseph High School is among 38 Maryland students awarded scholareships by Comcast NBCUniversal as part of the corporation’s annual Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program. Students are selected for their outstanding community service, academic performance, and leadership skills.

Comcast

Baltimore City Senior, Robin Paranilam of Mount Saint Joseph High School is among 38 Maryland students awarded scholareships by Comcast NBCUniversal as part of the corporation’s annual Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program. Students are selected for their outstanding community service, academic performance, and leadership skills.