First Lady Visits Storyville; Honors Social Workers of the Year
BALTIMORE, MD (March 25, 2008) – First Lady Katie O’Malley today visited “Storyville” at the Rosedale public library, an early childhood learning center and free interactive play environment that supports and nurtures important school readiness skills. Later in the day, First Lady O’Malley honored Social Workers of the Year from the 24 local Department of Social Services at their National Social Worker Luncheon in celebration of Social Worker Appreciation Month.
“Children who are exposed to books, reading, and educational resources at an early age, have shown to have a higher success rate in school,” said First Lady O’Malley. “Storyville helps expose young children to those important resources to help develop and enrich their minds before they begin school. It is a great place for parents and caretakers to bring their young ones as their minds explore and grow.”
Later that day, First Lady O’Malley met and visited with foster parents and their foster children. Last year, Governor O’Malley and Department of Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald kicked off the “1000 by 10” foster campaign that would help recruit 1,000 foster parents by the year 2010. During her visit, First Lady O’Malley learned about the experiences of three foster families, including the story of Ms. Audrey Williams, who adopted six children. The number of Maryland foster parents has decreased by more than a thousand between 2003 and 2007.
“Foster parents can provide a safe and loving home to many of our vulnerable children,” said First Lady O’Malley. “I was honored to meet the foster parents today and to hear their experiences. Maryland needs more foster parents like Ms. Audrey Williams, Ms. Laura Chambers, Ms. Bernice Newman, and Ms. Stacy Diehl.”
Afterward, First Lady O’Malley honored Maryland’s Social Workers of the Year, at their annual luncheon, and recognized Maryland’s 2500 social workers from across the State in celebration of Social Worker Appreciation Month. The theme for the national recognition this year was “Building on Strengths.” Twenty four social workers were honored as Social Workers of the Year, and represented the 24 local departments of Social Services across the State. Each social worker was selected by their supervisor and peers to receive this accolade.
“I want to thank the men and women here today for the work that they do to address the needs of children, families and vulnerable adults in our State,” said First Lady O’Malley. “Each day these men and women truly help those most in need and make a positive difference in the lives of others. I am honored to recognize such dedicated human service professionals.”