SAN MAR MISSION
San Mar Exists today
to provide appropriate
nurture and abundant opportunities to children and youth in need that they may become productive members of society tomorrow.
Homecoming Event Brings Together Neighborhood
Close to nine hundred people passed through the doors of Bester Elementary School on November 13th to join a unique elementary school event with a “Homecoming” theme to celebrate a new school building and renewed hope for their neighborhood. Children, families and community stakeholders alike enjoyed a free dinner together, followed by a diverse program of speakers and special guests as well as a video montage with voices of the children of the school describing their hopes and dreams not only for their lives but also for their community.
Many of the themes weaved throughout the celebration included instilling the hope to believe your dreams are possible, and persevering through difficult circumstances to ultimately achieve success. There was no better representation of those ideals than the keynote speaker, retired NASA Astronaut Don Thomas who mesmerized the crowd with tales of triumph over adversity and space travel. Other special guests speaking at the event included Kansas City Royals star and Hagerstown native Christian Binford, Bester volunteer and Retired Sgt. First Class Paul Flemings, Annie and Lee of the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders and Paul DiLorenzo of Casey Family Programs in Seattle, Washington.
At the close of the program, it was time for the real shooting stars, the students of Bester Elementary. In a video the students talked about what they wanted to do when they grew up, what they hoped for their community and ultimately what they would do about it. In coordination with their art teacher Ms. Dowell, the students of Bester helped to write these thoughts on leaves, and they were assembled on a large artistic representation of a tree which represented the seeds of hope living within the hearts and minds of the youth attending the school.
Many students talked about their future career goals, including Damir who said,” When I grow up I want to be an astronaut and see all the planets and the moon and walk on the moon.” He came to the right event! Alexis explained her hope for her neighborhood was, “no crime anywhere so people can feel safe to come out of their homes and know they are safe from any crime.” And Andre summed it up, “My hope for my community is for everyone to try their best and for everyone to achieve their goals.”
After the program, the school was open for tours to the community, and the next day a ceremonial tree planting occurred in the school courtyard with several students to signify the long-term investment and partnership from the community in helping them to achieve their hopes and dreams.
Over eighty volunteers, teachers and staff helped to turn this idea into a reality. Casey Family Programs was the lead sponsor for the event, but numerous community business and agencies contributed to this effort including Washington County Public Schools and San Mar Children’s Home. Do you live in the Bester Elementary school district and have an interest in learning more about this effort? Call Keith Fanjoy at 301-733-9067 x205.
What did 20 people from Holcim, Inc & Columbia Gas do on October 9th during United Way’s Day of Caring?
Finished over two hundred (200) plus yards of stone path!
Lots of landscaping, including cleaning out our stream
Made our playground brand new!
- Painted 6 bedrooms and over 40 parking lot lines
THANK YOU Holcim/Columbia team!
This past summer was packed with generosity
San Mar had its 2nd 5K Family Fun Run/Walk on August 16th!
There were lots of smiles! Dr. Eklund and staff from Potomac Dental Centre showed their support, not only by helping to sponsor the event, but by participating in the event, too!
July was our bicycle fundraiser. Our riders raised over $130,000.
The things people do to support San Mar. We are blessed.
Join us next year for this awesome ride July, 11-14, 2015.
The Great Bicycle Tour of the C&O Canal held July 12-15, 2014
No hills, no headwinds, & no cars. Plenty of food, lots of support, ride at your own pace, well organized.
This popular tour is an annual fundraising event, which benefits the San Mar Children's Home in Boonsboro, Maryland.
Participants pay a $35 registration fee and turn in at least $450 in pledges ($400 for those riding for only the weekend). For those exceeding minimum amounts there are prizes awarded for going above and beyond.
San Mar Children’s Home 5K Family Fun Run/Walk
The San Mar Children's 2nd Annual 5K event was held on August 16. This was a great opportunity to connect with others and to help make a difference in our community!
Washington County Gives a Success
Thank you so much to each of our San Mar donors. We raised over $15,000!
Approximately $10,000 was designated for our Bicycle Event and $5,000 for our Summer Adventure Program.
We even won a “Golden Ticket” for the most money raised between in a specific hour.
Your donations will help to make the children’s summer extra special - events such as a trip to the amusement park is in the plan, thanks to you.
Showcase of the Stars Recap
The Showcase of the Stars was a fun evening. Winners were pleased with all of our wonderful prizes: Diamond earrings (R Bruce Carson), Helicopter ride for 3 (Falcon Air Service), Golf package (Beaver Creek), Trail ride (Thunder Hill), Theater Season tickets (Totempole), Nights away (Mercersburg Inn & Ragged Edge), and shopping spree.
We had 314 people join us for this occasion. Thank you to the three Barbara Ingram School of Arts’ students who shared their amazing talent Friday Night. Hannah Richardson returned with her booming voice and amazed the crowd.
CONGRATULATIONS to our 2014 lip-sync winner Hagerstown HONDA. They performed Michael Jackson’s song and dance "Beat It." They were a hit.
Thank you to all of our stars. We are blessed by your support.
See the Transformation!
Thank you to Volvo and all their hard work. 52 Volunteers came to San Mar & participated in the United Way’s Day of Caring on October 3, 2013. Local companies donated supplies for numerous projects. We are very grateful for the gifts.
Left to Right: Jim Marshall, Bruce Anderson & Keith Fanjoy
On September 27, 2013, at the quarterly Board Meeting, Jim Marshall, a new board member, presented San Mar with an American Flag. The flag flew over Afghanistan in 2012 and was originally presented to Mr. and Mrs. James S. Marshall by their son-in-law, Fred Bravo a retired Major from the US Air Force. San Mar was honored to then accept the flag from the Marshall family. We have proudly raised the flag on our campus in Boonsboro, MD.
52 years combined Service
Millie Steinke & Ellen Savoy have worked for San Mar Children’s Home for a combined total of 52 years. Each know that they have and are making a difference in the lives of children. We are so thankful for their continued service. Check out our newsletter that will be on-line September 30th, we will have an article about both of these wonderful women. Would you like to make a difference in the lives of children? Call our office, at 301-733-9067 ext. 101 and schedule a tour. Give us the opportunity to tell you about our long history serving the Washington County Community.
Our first 5K held August 17, 2013
Thanks to all volunteers, sponsors and participants for helping to make our first 5K event a wonderful success! We hope to see you next year. The 2nd annual 5K Family Fun Run/Walk is scheduled for Saturday, August 16, 2014.
5K Event Organizer
Melissa Wettstein with winner Neal Riemenschneider at 21:05.0
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, volunteer or participant in next year’s event, contact Melissa at email@example.com.
Welcome Home 2013 TGBT Riders!
Early on July 13th San Mar staff and 116 riders (our friends) began the four day annual fundraiser bike ride. The goal was 184.5 miles down the C&O canal by July 16. Success! Thank you for this awesome gift, because of you we will be able to minister to the needs of many children. Plan to join us next year: July 12 - 15, 2014.
HMTV Interviews former San Mar Resident.
This inspiring interview features a former San Mar resident who is now a top female executive for Pepsi and a rider in TGBT. Watch the video here »
Washington County Gives May 2 On-Line Campaign
We’ve never tried anything like this before, but times are changing and the ways of giving are many. Each day more and more individuals are enjoying the convenience of giving securely online—giving electronically.
On May 2, San Mar will be part of WashingtonCountyGives.org — a high profile, high energy, 24-hour web-based giving event hosted by the Community Foundation of Washington County, to help raise operating dollars for 501- C - 3 nonprofits. Fifty area charitable organizations are registered for the innovative project - which has been successful in other areas of the country like State College, Pennsylvania and West Palm Beach, Florida.
For the 24-hour period of the event donations will be proportionally matched. You can schedule your gift in advance to be given on May 2. Simply visit washingtoncountygives.org to be linked to a giving page for San Mar. You may make a donation to more than one of your favorite causes.
The mission of San Mar is to provide structure, nurture and opportunity to children in need today so that they will become productive citizens tomorrow. At any one time San Mar is providing sanctuary to about 75 children. Thirty teen-age girls live in San Mar’s group homes. Another 45 boys and girls of all ages are in our Treatment Foster Care Families. Children in our care are considered at-risk because they have been involved in life situations ranging from horrific to unsettling. Physical and sexual abuse, abandonment, truancy, run-away and minor crime are among the typical perils that bring children to us.
It Is Still Possible To Win A Ride In An L-39 Albatros Fighter Jet!
As an incentive Rosemary and Maury James, the winners of the ride in the L-39 Albatros Jet Fighter during the raffle drawing held during the recent Showcase of the Stars have donated it back as a prize to encourage donations to San Mar during the "Day of Caring" on May 2.
For every $10 donation given to San Mar on May 2, a ticket will be placed into a drawing for the ride of your life in an L-39 Albatros Fighter Jet! The drawing will be held Friday, May 3, at 12:37 pm. The winner will be contacted and will be listed on our San Mar website A minimum donation of $10 will earn an entry into the drawing. For every $100 donation you will earn 10 entries + 1 bonus entry.
Wow! What a Showcase!
The “Temptations” were sweet and the Pilots and Mechanics were bangin’ at San Mar’s annual Showcase of the Stars March 15 at Hager Hall, Hagerstown.
This action-packed benefit for San Mar Children's Home will feature the lip-syncing and talents in the region. But that wasn’t all.
Eleven-year-old singer/songwriter Hannah Richardson, of Waynesboro, PA, wowed the crowd of nearly 300 with “At Last” by Etta James, “Sway” by Rosemary Clooney and “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mis.
Offering a dance exhibition were Lindy Hop expert Pam and Steve Springer.
A Hagerstown Honda team decked out in tuxes won the hearts of the audience with their lip-syncing performance of the Temptations” “My Girl” while a squadron of incredibly well-choreographed employees of DS Technologies had the audience bobbin to PSY’s “Gangnam Style.”
Dr. Ralph Salvagno, of the Center for Joint Pain and Sports Medicine present a mop-headed version of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” while a quartet of clergy presented “Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goal Posts of Life.” On the clergy team were The Rev. Dr. Renee Mackey, Covenant Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Randy Reid, Emmanuel United Methodist Church, The Rev. Kevin Munroe, Zion Reformed United Church of Christ, and the Rev. Kyle Powderly, Hagerstown Presbyterian Church.
A team of corporate trainers from First Data rounding out the lip-syncers with a nicely choreographed performance of “I Love Rock and Roll.”
The lip-syncing performances were critiqued by an American Idol inspired judging panel of Circuit Court Judge Dana Moylan Wright, and former San Mar board member and organizer behind the annual Western Maryland Jazz Festival—Attorney Carl Disque and ever-effervescent Radio and TV personality Lou Scally. Tom Riford, President and CEO of The Hagerstown—Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau kept the evening flowing smoothly as the emcee.
The evening concluded with a drawing for five raffle prizes. Rosemary & Maury James, of Boonsboro won the flight on the L-39 jet trainer donated by Falcon Air Services. Ron Conner, of Washington, DC, won a week at beautiful Deep Creek Chalet, donated by a friend of San Mar Children's Home. Tom Hagan, Hagerstown, won a weekend at Mercersburg Inn and dinner at Flannery’s. Fourth prize, four tickets and transportation to the May 30 Baltimore Orioles—Washington nationals game went Melanie Preston, Frederick. Tom Harmon won a $200 shopping certificate to The Valley Mall.
Corporate sponsors were The Cumberland Valley Cycling Club, RBC Wealth Management, Marshfield Associates, Pepsi, Hamilton-Nissan, The Columbia Bank, Brethren Mutual Insurance, Keller-Stonebraker and Susquehanna Bank.
The Showcase of the Stars is an annual event coordinated and promoted by the Development and Marketing Committee of the Board of Trustees. Members are Frank Erck, chair, Marty Talton, Diane Sanford, Mary Heizer, Debbie Moser, Danielle Nordyke, Susan Peterson, Carol Brashears and Golden Makusha.
No Place for Normal
by Kit Anderson
IF YOU’RE CONTENT with normal, then read no further. Normal is a word that has no place in Treatment Foster Care. The Seiferts are not normal. Allen, Terri and their son Michael are extraordinary. They are a San Mar Foster Care Family.
I had a chance to sit with Terri and Allen in their home. After only an hour, I was changed. I hoped to capture interesting anecdotes that would inspire other families to join the Treatment Foster Care program, but Terri immediately established some boundaries:
“Foster Care is not fun. It’s not entertaining. It’s hard work and it’s not for every family.” Her smile was gentle and sincere. Her home was warm and comfortable. Her message was uncompromising. “Bringing a foster child into your home will not help your family figure things out. A foster child is a magnifying glass. Any cracks or faults in your home will expand and become evident. You will either be forced to return to your normal comfortable life, or embrace the challenge to grow and become better in your new life.”
The Seifert family has hosted a few foster children in their home, but one boy is a particular and wonderful story. Let’s call him John. He was in and out of many foster homes, never able to find a stable place. He was a rough kid, known for trouble. John is also deaf.
When he came to the Seifert family home, John would not join them at the dinner table. They tried to create an environment filled with joy, love and acceptance, but John continued to reject them. He wanted to eat alone.
The family desperately sought ways to reach John. They could sense his tremendous isolation, but even still they had only begun to comprehend the full breadth of the gap. One day as Terri researched deaf culture, she read that only 20 percent of deaf children will ever have parents that learn sign language.
She was changed by this revelation. Eighty percent of deaf children will never have a real conversation with their own parents. Terri thought of every baby born deaf who would be held by it’s mother, but never hear the soft whisper of, “I love you.” So many of us consider that whisper normal. We know how important it is to feeling love or value. We even consider that whisper our birthright.
A veil was taken from them. All their dinner table efforts to foster communication and laughter only increased the tremendous isolation that defined John’s entire life experience.
Humbled, the Seifert family did not do the normal thing. They did not report how unsociable this child was. Instead, the Seiferts began to learn sign language. John never asked them to. He didn’t believe he deserved that kind of care and love. Learning sign language was something extraordinary the Seiferts choose to do. They rejected normal. They embraced opportunity. They had become a San Mar Foster Care Family.
Today, John sits at the dinner table. The family has discovered his talent for taking the normal details of a school day and turning them into a wild story full of wit and vitality.
Most foster care children are not deaf, but many have never heard, “I love you.” They live in a world isolated from love, value, honor, respect and accountability. John is only one example. There are more. The need is tremendous. There is much potential to change the world one life at a time—a truth Foster Parents have come to understand.
Terri Seifert elegantly made this point, “As a Foster Parent, it’s not your job to become the child’s mommy or daddy. Your mission is to show them they have inherent God-breathed value and to demonstrate what a life of integrity, meaning and purpose can be. This will not only change you, it will change them and everyone around them. Foster Care is not easy. It’s not for every family, and it’s certainly not for any family content with being normal.” If that describes you call Joel Bowers, our Foster Care recruiter and trainer at 301-733-9067 ext. 234.