Chase Partnership House grad inspires new participants
Gaithersburg resident Milton Whitley spoke to graduates of Chase Partnership House in Rockville during a ceremony last month an important moment for Whitley, 55, because he graduated from the program in 2005.
He was illiterate for most of his life and had suffered drug addictions and homelessness.
"I told them that this was the time to get yourself together," Whitley said of the men in the program. "The world owes you nothing. If anything, we owe the world something."
Chase Partnership House is a program of Community Ministries of Rockville that provides transitional housing services and substance abuse treatments for homeless, addicted men in Montgomery County.
Whitley started learning how to read about three years ago with help from the Literacy Council of Montgomery County.
Mike Trageser, basic literacy coordinator of the Literacy Council, also was a guest speaker at the graduation.
Trageser said the Literacy Council provides tutors to Chase Partnership, an idea that was suggested by Whitley. He said Whitley frequently visits and checks up on the men there.
"A lot of the guys there really look up to him, so it was special for him to be there for their graduation," Trageser said.
Whitley, who grew up in North Carolina, began school at age 6 and used to get spanked by the teacher because he had trouble reading and writing. He dropped out of school at age 14 and started using drugs.
"I know how hard it was," Whitley said. "I had my struggles. We're gonna have those. That's life."
In February, the Literacy Council nominated Whitley for the Ruth J. Colvin and Frank C. Laubach Award for Student Excellence from ProLiteracy, a volunteer-based adult literacy organization in the United States. Whitley accepted the national award at a ceremony in Chicago in March.
"He just really took control of the crowd and did such an amazing job," Trageser said. "He got a standing ovation from a room full of hundreds of people. We're definitely very, very proud of him."
Whitley is a case aide for the Home Builders Assessment Center, formerly known as the Men's Homeless Shelter, and is working with his tutor, Mary Ellen Friedland, on getting his high school equivalency diploma.
Founded in 1963, the non-profit Literacy Council of Montgomery County helps to achieve functional levels of reading, writing and speaking English. For more information, call 301-610-0030 or visit www.literacycouncilmcmd.org.
Hispanic Heritage Month
The City of Rockville will hold a community celebration in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month on Saturday in Town Square.
The event will run 4-7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
The celebration will include music and dance performances by Café Y Caribe and the Calpro Group, and activities for children. Informational booths on services for Latino families will also be available from the City of Rockville, Priority Partners, Kaseman Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Casa de Maryland, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Montgomery County, Community Ministries of Rockville and more.
The event is co-sponsored by Capital One Bank and the Rockville Latino Alliance.
For more information, contact Hjarman Cordero, neighborhood resources coordinator, at 240-314-8344 or e-mail email@example.com.
RHS Rampage plans
community yard sale
The Rockville High School student newspaper, Rampage, will hold a community yard sale Sept. 25 and is offering spaces for vendors who want to participate.
The sale will be held 8-11 a.m. Sept. 25 at the high school, 2100 Baltimore Road.
Spaces, at 8 feet by 10 feet, are available for $20. Limited tables are available to rent for $10.
Proceeds will benefit the newspaper.
To reserve a space, call Rampage adviser Peter Daddone at 301-964-4192 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fifth annual Race for the Family set for Sept. 26
The fifth annual Race for the Family, benefiting the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation, will be held Sept. 26 at 8:30 a.m. in Rockville's Fallsgrove community.
The event is presented by Shady Grove Fertility and will include a 5K race, a Fun Walk, Toddler Trot and silent auction. The race will start and finish at the Shady Grove Fertility Center at 15001 Shady Grove Road, with the race path winding runners through the adjacent Fallsgrove neighborhood.
Register online by Sept. 22 for $25. Registration on the day of the race will be available 7-8 a.m. for $30.
The Cade Foundation is a nonprofit organization that serves the needs of families battling infertility.
Proceeds from the event will go towards the Cade Foundation Family Building Grant, which provides up to $10,000 for costs of domestic adoption and medical fertility treatments for a family.
For more information, visit www.raceforthefamily.com.
Foundation Fighting Blindness
to sponsor first VisionWalk
The Montgomery County chapter of Foundation Fighting Blindness will hold a fundraiser walk Sept. 26 in Rockville.
Donna Burke Tehaan, Rockville resident and president of the Montgomery chapter of the foundation, started the chapter last year. She said this is the first 5K VisionWalk in the county. The walk will raise funds and awareness for researching cures and treating and preventing retinal degenerative diseases.
Tehaan developed the condition called retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that can slowly lead to blindness, when she was in her early 20s. She said she can still read, but has no peripheral or night vision.
Tehaan said there is no cure for retinitis pigmentosa and other retinal diseases that can lead to blindness, but said progress is being made by researchers to discover a cure.
"I'm very passionate about this issue," Tehaan said. "It was a shock to my family. My mission is that my children and my children's children don't have to go through what I had to go through."
The walk will begin at 10 a.m. at 21 Maryland Ave. in Rockville Town Square. The route will lead up to Route 28 through Nelson Street and loop back to the pavilion.
Tehaan said the goal is to raise $65,000. The organization so far has raised $42,000.
Tehaan said she would like to see at least 300 people walking.
"It's a great community, a great spot for a walk, and there are a lot of great people behind us," she said.
Loo Katz from the 97.1 WASH-FM Morning Show with Loo and Lori and Tony Perkins from Fox 5 Morning News at WTTG-TV Washington will host the event.
The event will feature music and live performances from deejay and bandleader MC Aaron of the Washington Talent Agency and AP3 dancers, and food and other festivities.
"This is a great jump start off the ground for us," said Eric Fulton, Young Professionals chair for the Montgomery County branch of Foundation Fighting Blindness. "I'm excited to be at the first one. No doubt this will grow exponentially over the next few years."
People can register online in advance or in person on the day of the walk, and can register to walk individually or in teams.
According to the Foundation Fighting Blindness website, more than 10 million Americans of every age and race suffer vision loss from blinding diseases. For more information, visit www.visionwalk.org and click on "Montgomery County" on the right-hand panel.
Items appropriate for this column should be sent to Mimi Liu, Staff Writer, The Rockville/Aspen Hill Gazette, 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, MD 20877; faxed to 301-670-7182 or 301-670-7183; or e-mailed to email@example.com. Deadline is Thursday at 5 p.m. for consideration for the following week. Items are subject to editing and used on a space-available basis.