National Homeless Youth Awareness Month

Conrad Wildsmith, the new head of Lucy School in Middletown (Provided photo)

With National Homeless Youth Awareness Month in November, and Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week Nov. 11-18, it’s never too early to explain to your child what it means to help those in need.

There are plenty of ways to help unhoused and hungry people in your community, and many are even child-friendly so the whole family can take part in doing good. Here are some options to consider in the Frederick area.

• The Frederick Rescue Mission offers many ways for kids age 12 and older to get involved, such as packing lunches, handing out groceries and helping mission guests “shop” from shelter donations. While Frederick Rescue Mission is a Christian organization, it accepts volunteers from all walks of life. All volunteers ages 12 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult, but younger volunteers can get involved at home by contacting the organization’s volunteer manager.

• offers a database of local volunteer-based events — in addition to sorting by area, prospective volunteers can find organizations devoted to causes they are invested in through its comprehensive filtering functions.

One such organization is Lasagna Love, which provides opportunities for volunteers to cook meals for those in need. The nonprofit offers these programs all over the world, with Hagerstown being one of its Maryland locations. The organization matches volunteers with neighbors in their area who may be food insecure and require assistance, creating bonds through mutual aid.

• Families can give back through fundraising. The Hope for Kids Fall Festival, organized by Extra-Ordinary Birthdays to benefit homeless children, will take place Nov. 5. The “Sweet Candyland Adventure” -themed event is a fun way for children and adults alike to spend an afternoon, complete with costume contests, games and food. Proceeds raised from the festival will benefit Extra-Ordinary Birthdays’ mission to plan birthday parties for children in need, creating lasting memories.

Lucy School Welcomes New Head of School, Transitions to Independent School

Lucy School, an arts-based school in Middletown serving preschool through eighth grade, welcomed students this fall under a new framework. It is now operating as an independent school, beginning with its 2023-24 academic year.

Formerly a private school, Lucy School’s arts-infused curriculum with a focus on hands-on learning opportunities and environmental stewardship, did not change, notes Board President Teresa Cochran.

The school is continuing its teacher training program specializing in arts integration, bringing visiting artists to its 17-acre historic farm

So what will change at Lucy School?

Generally, the term private school refers to any learning institution not receiving public funding from its state government, while the term independent school refers to a nonprofit private school overseen by a board of governors or trustees, Cochran explains.

As an independent school, Lucy School will be able to run more efficiently from an administration perspective, allow families to manage their school account online and pay by credit card and codify the school’s methodologies.

Overseeing these changes is a new head of school leading the 2023-24 school year, Conrad Wildsmith.

In addition to his experience managing independent schools, Wildsmith also spent the last six years leading a Montessori school with an arts-integrated program, which he says provided him with an understanding of how vital the arts can be in providing a safe place for problem-solving, innovation and connection.

“I believe the best thing we can do for our children is to guide them in developing a strong sense of self,” Wildsmith says. “Understanding your talents and how you can apply your talents to help make the world a better place is important, and so is growing your self-satisfaction.” ■