Success Stories Archives 2017 to 2019

Student Support Network Helps AVID Students at Parkville High School Through Funding Field Trip to Stevenson University, December 2019

From Julie Evans, the AVID Coordinator at Parkville:

Dear Educational Champions of the Parkville Network,

Thank you so much for partnering with the PHS AVID Program once again to provide a valuable college experience to our juniors as they toured Stevenson University and dined on campus today. Approximately 30% of our AVID Senior class has already received acceptances from SU following their visit last year, so it was a joy to experience the campus with our current juniors who are well on their own way to college readiness. Please take a moment to enjoy the smiles from campus today. For some of our (new) kids, it was their first college visit. Thank you so much for investing in their future!

We appreciate you,

Julie Evans 

AVID Coordinator, Parkville HS 

AVID Students Visit Goucher College, November 2019

Under the leadership of Julie Evans, the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program at Parkville High School helps students succeed academically and apply for college. The Network is a proud supporter of this program and helped fund their field trip to Goucher this November. They had a great time! These field trips to academic institutions open up new worlds of possibility for our students.

The 2019 Annual Fall Drive Was A Great Success, November 2019

Many thanks to all who participated!

$15,342 of in-kind donations distributed to 19 schools

262.5 volunteer hours

$1,000+ collected in monetary donations

Pinewood Elementary Donates To The Fall Drive, November 8-9, 2019

We are very grateful to the students and staff at Pinewood Elementary – their donations helped make our Annual Fall Drive a big success!

Kindness Is Contagious, November 2019

Occasionally our Student Support Network volunteers have a small glimpse into the world of our students in need: “I was in the closet yesterday organizing some things and the counselor brought in a student while I was there. He was very shy at first…maybe a little uncomfortable because I was there. But after I helped them find some items that he needed, he spoke up and enthusiastically asked where he could sign up to help. I found this so heartwarming because not many middle school students think that way and also because he was so shy. I think he genuinely felt like he really wanted to help because he was so grateful that he was able to get the items that he needed.”

Parkville High ELL Program Goes To Annapolis, Fall 2019

The Network provided the majority of the funding for 180 students in the ELL program (English Language Learners) at Parkville High School to participate in a field trip to get to know the capital of our state in their unit “My Maryland”.

The Network works closely with the ELL Chair at Parkville, Anita Prifti, and also provides school supplies and other items for students in need.

Owings Mills Elementary Holds Its First “Kindness Closet Night”, October 2019

Thanks to school staff, a generous community, adult volunteers, and a group of student volunteers who call themselves the Kindness Club, Owings Mills Elementary was able to hold its first Kindness Closet Night, benefiting parents and students in need, on October 17.  It was a great success!  According to a staff member, “Through our partnership with the Student Support Network, we were able to host a food and clothing giveaway for twenty families in our school.”

Adult volunteers and staff with the student volunteers who call themselves the Kindness Club.
Jenny Conrad, Assistant Principal at OME and Susan Katz, one of the lead volunteers, with a Kindness Club volunteer.
Student volunteer members of the Kindness Club with some of the food donations.
Lane Levine of A Friendly Bread who donated bread for this event.

Rachel Carey Provided 50 Backpacks With School Supplies, August 2019

Rachel Carey dropped off 50 backpacks with school supplies for the Network – an extraordinary expression of generosity and perfect timing for the beginning of the school year! Rachel Carey Photography is a Family and Lifestyle husband and wife photography team based out of Harford County.

We Celebrate The AVID Honor Role Students, March 2019!

The Student Support Network is proud to support the AVID program at Parkville High School – Honor Roll certificates were recently awarded to 53 students, including these students from the 9th and 10th grades. In addition, seven teacher awards were given to individual students for their hard work and dedication. Congratulations!

As one student said: “I feel honored and appreciated. Thank you for the reward that pushes me to do better and achieve my goals!”

ICYMI — Loch Raven High School Community Day, March 2019

The Loch Raven High School Community Day last Saturday was a huge success – hundreds of people came to enjoy food, music, art, crafts, and get information about community groups. The Loch Raven Network received hundreds of items – a big thank you to two volunteers, Kris Kominoth and Grace Rogers for staffing our table there! At the event, Laurie Taylor-Mitchell met Kathleen Causey, Board of Education member for the 3rd District in Baltimore County, and Adrienne Hammel, Volunteer extraordinaire for this event and also for the Student Support Network.

Kris Kominoth and Grace Rogers volunteering for the Loch Raven Network at the Loch Raven Community Day
Adrienne Hammel, Kathleen Causey, Laurie Taylor-Mitchell at Loch Raven Community Day

Another Student Success Story, January 2019

A student in a Network school had to start working to help his family, and was spending a lot of time getting back and forth from the job, which meant less time for study – and he is a good student.

The Network got him a bike and a helmet, thanks to an alert school staff member who was concerned about him and thought the Network might be able to help.  Our partnerships with school staff make these life-changing gifts possible.

Sometimes We Measure Success One Student at a Time, December 2018

Another great story from the holiday season: this student’s glasses broke, he couldn’t see well enough to do his schoolwork and his family could not afford the repairs or transportation to get there. Thanks to school staff and Dr. George Duncan of MD Eye Care, he was able to get new frames – the staff person said his whole face lit up when he put them on in her office! To be able to see well again is life-changing!

Congratulations to the Parkville High AVID Honor Roll Students! December, 2018

Congratulations to Ms. Julie Evans and all of the students in the AVID program at Parkville who made the honor roll!

The Network supports the AVID program at Parkville with two special donors who have made a year-long commitment with monthly donations.

Stories of gratitude from the Loch Raven High Network, December 2018

From the social worker at Loch Raven High School: “I received so many hugs and warm handshakes over the past two weeks on behalf of you and your team of volunteers. You are truly softening the burden of poverty and homelessness for families at this time of the year, as well as through the Network’s supports all year long. I am so blessed to be the link for many families with the Network, and always let folks know that the thanks are all due to you all. Yesterday, after receiving a hug from a father of the last family on our holiday adoption list, a man who is really a stranger to me but so very grateful for your generosity, my heart felt full. I hope that this is how you and the other volunteers feel too for all of the gift-giving done this December.

Below is an email of thanks that I received from a mother this morning; her words ring so true:

“Gm Ms. Putchat I just wanted to thank you and your team of volunteers from the bottom of my heart for all the help that you all helped provide for my family and I, you have no idea how much this has helped my family, and we are truly appreciative for how you all have gone above and beyond in the manner in which you have. The gifts that were given helped add a little bit more of a peace of mind, in that I don’t have to be stressed Tryin to figure out how to make a way of no way. I truly do thank you all 😍👍🏽💖💙💙💙”

To all of our Network volunteers, thank you and Happy Holidays!

The Adopt-a-Family Event at Loch Raven High is a Welcome Success, December, 2018

Twenty-eight families were adopted this year by volunteers of the Student Support Network.

A garage filled with gifts for families participating in the Adopt-A-Family Program for the December holidays at Loch Raven High School.

Knit for the Needy Group Donates to the Network, December 2018

A big Thank You to Sophie and Sophia, organizers of the Knit for the Needy group at Towson High School. This year they chose the Student Support Network to receive their wonderful hats, scarves, and mittens (previously they have donated to the Helping Up Mission). Last week they stopped by the Network’s storage space with their donations. We’re grateful!

An Important Donation From Rheumatology Associates, November, 2018


A huge thank you to Ashleigh and Amanda and the staff of Rheumatology Associates of Baltimore, for their extraordinary generosity to the Student Support Network: 31 new backpacks filled with supplies, and several large bags of donations for our Network schools!

A Very Happy Thanksgiving For Network Families! November, 2018

So grateful to our generous donors and volunteers:
At our Network schools, Loch Raven High School, Parkville High School, and Pine Grove Middle School, we helped 80 families for Thanksgiving! Here is a note sent by a social worker from a grateful parent – and there were so many verbal expressions of gratitude to school staff too, when families received the grocery gift cards from them.



Brownie Scout Troop #1745 Works on Their Philanthropy Badge, November 18, 2018

Laurie had an outstanding meeting and discussion with Brownie Troop #1745 of Stoneleigh – the troop did a poster of “wants” compared with “needs” – and gave this wonderful box and several other bags of donations to the Student Support Network. Many thanks to Christine Justis, the troop leader, and Jenn Koster, the co-leader, for inviting Laurie! The troop is working on their philanthropy badge and getting information on how to help others.

Our Big Fall Drive for Students in Need at 19 Baltimore County Schools was a Huge Success!

On November 9 and 10, 2018:

  • Over $8,500 was received in monetary and in-kind donations of products and clothing for schools
  • 300 hours were given by volunteers, including school nurses, counselors, teachers, and students

We are showing schools around the County what can happen when our generous communities organize to help their students in great need.  In addition, volunteers from one school told us that a local hospital had heard about the drive, and donated to their school, so our efforts had effects beyond the location of our drive.

Special thanks to:

  • Thomas Episcopal Church, for donating the space and helping with publicity for the drive
  • Church of the Redeemer, Journey to Adulthood Class, for their donations
  • The Lilacs Group – Ladies in Life and Christian Services
  • Students of Goucher College
  • Students of Towson University
  • Students Archbishop Curley High School
  • Students from Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin and White Attorneys at Law and staff
  • Stephanie Binetti and David Kosak, Binetti Political Strategies
  • Councilwoman Vicki Almond

Messages of thanks are already coming in from schools:

“Our PTA just wants to let you know how much we appreciate being able to participate in the donation drive for Bedford Elementary. We received so much stuff for our students and we were overwhelmed by the opportunity to experience so much generosity. Thank you for everything that you do. It really means a lot and we are very humbled.”

Christina Herron, Treasurer, Bedford Elementary PTA

It was an honor to part of this successful fall drive. It was rewarding to be amongst volunteers giving so much to our communities and we had FUN!!!  Thank you for including Padonia International E.S.  The donations received are greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Vicki Schmelz, RN


We are very thankful for our many volunteers and donors.  So many students and schools were supported by their generosity during our Big Fall Drive!

Annual Fundraiser Surpassed Its Goal, October 16, 2018

“Chocolate, Cupcakes & Coffee: Supporting Students in Need was a big success!  The Network’s annual fundraiser took place on Tuesday, October 16th at St. Thomas Episcopal Church with approximately 100 people in attendance.  The weather was perfect for the “Pride Of Baltimore” Chorus to sing in the courtyard as attendees walked in.  Mike Connell provided piano music as guests enjoyed cheeses, truffles and, of course, cupcakes.  The 50/50 Raffle, Chinese Auction & Silent Auction were enjoyed by all.  The goal for the event was $20,000; and the night brought in over $31,000!  Many thanks to the sponsors, volunteers & attendees.
Did we mention there were cupcakes and chocolate??
And wonderful raffle and auction items?
And the “Pride of Baltimore” Chorus?
And much appreciated sponsors?
And Mike Connell at the piano?

Important Visit to Goucher College for Freshmen in AVID Program at Parkville High School, October 2018

The Student Support Network provides funding for academic field trips at our Network schools for students who cannot afford the costs.  Funds for the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program at Parkville are being provided for the 2018-2019 school year through generous donations from Cheri and Bob Pegues and Susan and Jeff Dorsey.  Visiting a college early in high school can be a life-changing experience for students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds. Network funding makes additional college visits and other interactions with former AVID participants possible.

The letter below was written by Julie Evans, the AVID coordinator at Parkville HS, to staff at Goucher who helped arrange this visit:

Cass and Corky,

The Parkville High School AVID Freshmen had a fabulous experience visiting Goucher College Tuesday.  Corky, your presentation was so helpful and informative for this specific audience.   Your student tour guides also did a wonderful job providing an insightful and enjoyable tour of the campus.  Needless to say, lunch on campus in your beautiful new dining hall was a highlight of the trip for the students as they thoroughly enjoyed their lunch.  Thank you so much to all of you for making this valuable college experience happen for our college preparatory students.  I have attached photos from the visit.  We also enjoyed our time with two of our own grads that joined us and shared how thrilled they are to be Gophers.  You all have certainly made an indelible impression on our students that will continue to reap benefits as they work towards making their college dreams a reality.

With gratitude,
Julie Evans
AVID Coordinator
Reading Specialist
Parkville High School

The Network is Proud to be a Partner in Support of Parkville High’s AVID Program, September 2018!

The Student Support Network supports the AVID program, a wonderful program in schools that helps to prepare all students, using a student-centered approach, to prepare for college. We recently supplied styluses for high school seniors at Parkville HS – here is a message from the AVID coordinator: “Using technology effectively is part of our curriculum in AVID. We want students to be comfortable with technology so they can utilize it in their classes and for study tools. The stylus allows a student to annotate text directly on a document without typing. It also allows them to be more creative with their notes and use color coding, both of which are shown to enhance learning retention. All of our students were issued devices that include a touch screen feature, but the students did not have styluses to use this function effectively. The styluses opened a door to more tech tools for them and they greatly appreciate them!”

Learn more about the AVID program

See the students’ thank you notes below.

Parkville High School Kickoff, August 2018

Many thanks to Amy, Abby, and Jack McConnor (Jack working in another room), Sharon Childs, and Sharon Walker for their help in filling backpacks with school supplies for Parkville High School. We reached our initial goal of providing 50 backpacks for the beginning of the school year, and plan to do more!

A Successful Summer of 2018 for ESOL Students at Parkville High School

These are messages of gratitude from students attending the summer school ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program at Parkville. Most of these students also work in the summer to help support their families.  The Parkville Network provided food and personal care items, which were available occasionally after school sessions and stocked in a classroom.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

Many thanks to the volunteers who organized the tables for the Network at two National Night Out Events for the Towson and Cockeysville Police Precincts: Christina Pumphrey and Sharon Walker in downtown Towson, and Chris Diehl and Mary Beth Protzman at St. Thomas’ Church.  We collected hundreds of donations that will be distributed to students in need at our Network schools.  Special thanks to Pat France, the organizer for the Towson event.  In addition to all who donated, a big thank you to Rosedale Federal Savings & Loan, Target stores of Towson and Timonium, the Sheriff’s Office of Baltimore County, Steve Lafferty, Scott Schellenburger, Johnny Olszewski Jr., Robbie Leonard, and Nina McHugh for their generous donations!  The Ravens mascot may have had the toughest job – how he/she (?) survived the heat inside that massive get-up we’ll never know…

Representatives from the Sheriff’s Office of Baltimore County at the Student Support Network table in Towson.
Target Corporation representatives visiting the SSN table in Towson with their donations.
Delegate Steve Lafferty visits the SSN table at National Night Out in Towson.
No National Night Out event is complete without the Ravens mascot stopping by!
Johnny Olszewski Jr. stops by the SSN table during National Night Out in Towson.
The Network storage closet  — showing the space full — after restocking with donations from people attending National Night Out events in downtown Towson and at St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church.
Chris Diehl and Mary Beth Protzman at the National Night Out event at St. Thomas’ Church.

Second Donation From Mt. Moriah Charitable Foundation, June 2018

We are thrilled to report that the Mt. Moriah Charitable Foundation has committed to make an additional donation of $12,000 to the Student Support Network this year.  The Foundation’s continuing support of our partnership provides much needed funds for the ongoing work of the Network.  In addition, the Mt. Moriah Charitable Foundation is a Title Sponsor, along with Rosedale Federal Savings and Loan Association, of our Annual Fundraiser to be held October 16, 2018.    Read More

Spring Drive, April 2018

A two-day Spring Drive was held to benefit more than 18 schools and organizations benefiting students in Baltimore County, including Padonia Elementary, Pot Spring Elementary, Essex Elementary, McCormick Elementary, Campfield Center/Judy Center, Fullerton Elementary, Lansdowne Elementary, Riverview Elementary, Pleasant Plains Elementary, Warren Elementary, Cockeysville Middle, Pine Grove Middle, Parkville High, Food for Thought, Dulaney High, Loch Raven High, Chesapeake High, and Empower4life (benefiting students in homeless shelters). Items donated included non-perishable food, school supplies, toiletries, household supplies, linens, and clothing.     Read More

Volunteer with donations for Pleasant Plains Elementary School, April 2018
Donations from students and alumni of Goucher College for the 2018 Spring Drive
Donations gathered at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church for the 2018 Spring Drive
Volunteers with donations for McCormick Elementary School, Spring Drive 2018

Parkville High School AVID College Visit, April 2018

In April, 2018, 50 honors students from the AVID program at Parkville High School visited the University of Maryland at College Park – a trip funded by a donor to the Parkville Network.

Towson Times / Baltimore Sun Article Spotlights Laurie Taylor-Mitchell’s Educational Advocacy

A March 14, 2018 article in the Towson Times by Courtney McGee noted Laurie Taylor-Mitchell’s educational advocacy and the founding of the Loch Raven Network, which has since grown into the Student Support Network.   Read More

Pine Grove Middle Network Is Off To A Great Start, Early 2018!

From Christina Pumphrey, lead organizer of the Pine Grove Middle School Network:

Our school supply drive is starting out strong! One of our volunteers, Davida, stopped by with a donation of 24 back packs! Also, a few retired PGMS teachers brought donations. We are so very thankful for the support.

Parkville High School Winter Clothing Drive, January 2018

Before: staff getting students’ attention for coats, hats and gloves, January 2018.
After: Happy students getting winter clothes during January 2018 clothing drive.

Clothing Drive, January 2018

During the bitterly cold weather of late December and early January, The Loch Raven Network and Empower4life sponsored a drive for coats, hats and gloves for students in need.  So many people donated that students in 10 schools were helped!     Read More

Volunteer with donations at the January 2018 clothing drive

Every Donation to the Loch Raven High Network Had An Impact in 2017

To see just how important the 2017 Loch Raven High School projects were to the school’s students, please read the wonderful letter of thanks from the school Principal, Administrative Assistant, and Social Worker for our programs and funding of projects. Chris Diehl, the lead organizer for the Network program at Loch Raven, is phenomenal!  Read the letter.

In addition, the work of the Student Support Network on behalf of Loch Raven High School did not go unnoticed by Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who wrote a letter to Laurie Taylor-Mitchell after reading one of the Towson Times articles on the Network.  Read Congressman Ruppersberger’s letter

2017 LRHS In-School Projects Supporting Students in Poverty

  • 32 families benefited from the Adopt A Family Holiday program     Learn More
  • 25 backpacks were distributed through the Back to School Project
  • A Clothing Drive was conducted for mock employee interviews
  • The Thanksgiving Drive benefited  students & families in need
  • The “Room of Support”, called the Loch Raven Haven, was organized & stocked with “in demand” items
  • $100 Grocery store gift cards were distributed for spring & summer breaks
  • Food & toiletries were stocked in key offices
  • Donations covered caps & gowns, gym uniforms, prom ticket, yearbook fees, college deposit, AP test fees, field trip & basketball gear assistance for homeless/low income students
October 2017: Mock interviews with employers give students experience with interviewing for a job. The Loch Raven Network’s drive for shoes and clothes for interviews helped students look their best for interviews at Loch Raven, Parkville, and Chesapeake High Schools.
Network volunteers at Loch Raven High School, December 2017
Students at Goucher College with items donated to the Network by Goucher Students and Alumni, December 2017
Gifts arriving at Loch Raven High School, Adopt A Family Program, December 2017
Baltimore County Employees at Drumcastle with gifts for the Loch Raven High School Adopt A Family Program, December 2017

Successful Adopt a Family Holiday Event at Parkville High School, December, 2017

The Adopt a Family holiday program benefited 16 families.

Boxes of gifts and items arriving at Parkville High School for the December, 2017, Adopt a Family holiday program.
Donations stored in a school office for the Adopt a Family program, December 2017.
School staff collecting and organizing donations at Parkville High School for the Adopt a Family program, December 2017.

Parkville High Network Supports The AVID Program, Fall 2017

The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program is a college readiness program designed to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in college. The program places special emphasis on growing writing, critical thinking, teamwork, organization and reading skills.
Fall, 2017: Councilwoman Cathy Bevins (6th District), supporters, and students of the AVID program – the AVID program has been supported by Councilwoman Bevins and the Parkville Network.

Summer Drive Sponsored By Empower4Life Benefitted Parkville High School, August 2017

Donations loaded onto a truck during the August 2017 Empower4Life drive.
The Parkville Pantry after receiving donations from the August 2017 drive.

Mt. Moriah Charitable Foundation Donation, May 2017

In May of 2017, the Mt. Moriah Charitable Foundation, under the leadership of Gregory Jones, donated $8000 to four local high schools, including Parkville and Loch Raven High Schools.  This generous gift has set an example for other charitable organizations.     Read More

Loch Raven and Parkville Network Volunteers, and representatives from Dulaney High School, with the Freemasons of the Mt. Moriah Lodge, Towson, December 2017