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Christmas in April
St. Mary's County®
 

 
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History

What is Christmas In April - St. Mary's County? | Our Mission l National Level |

Past Highlights

 

What is Christmas In April - St. Mary's County?

 

 Christmas in April St. Mary's County, Inc. in partnership with the community, rehabilitates the houses of low-income homeowners, particularly the elderly and disabled, so that they may live in warmth, safety, and independence. We also provide help through work on community projects.

Christmas in April * St. Mary's County was started in the Summer of 1990, when John K. Parlett, Jr., welcomed family, friends, and community leaders to a presentational meeting about this national program. After months of planning and preparation, in April 1991, over 700 individuals volunteered their time and talents and repaired 26 homes of low-income, elderly, and disabled individuals living throughout our county.

This program focuses on a one-day “blitz” of home repairs on the last Saturday in April. However, we are a year-round program. Distribution of free Applications for Assistance occurs during half of the year. Starting in late April and continuing throughout October, free applications are distributed throughout the county, including during the county fair and at the annual Office on Aging Health Fair. Plus, during this time period our applications can be found in all public libraries, social service offices, post offices (those that allow us to place them inside), health department, senior citizen centers, and other public areas. Communicating our needs to welcome help from skilled trades people and community leaders to serve as area coordinators and house captains is on-going, with house captain training meetings being held in February, March, and April each year. Each March, a homeowner orientation night is sponsored; and from January through April, the Materials Committee, Picnic Committee, Feed-a-Crew Committee, Fundraising Committee, and Logistics Committee members work numerous hours with preparations for our National Rebuilding Day.

Many of the home repairs focus on: (1) accessibility issues—building or repairing wheelchair ramps; (2) repairing or replacing old and deteriorating roofs; and (3) safety concerns such as the need for hand-railings, smoke alarms, CO monitors, and fire extinguishers.

Among other repairs are: replacing or repairing windows and doors; installing hand railings and grab bars; carpentry and siding work; repairing interior and exterior walls; sheetrock work to repair ceilings and walls; replacing door knobs and faucets; rebuilding entranceways for safer access to and from the homes; enlarging doorways to bathrooms, giving homeowners in wheelchairs easier access; enhancing poor lighting or repairing dangerous electrical outlets and fixtures; and plumbing repairs.

 

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Our Mission

 

Christmas in April St. Mary's County, Inc., in partnership with the community, rehabilitates the homes of low-income homeowners, particularly the elderly and disabled, so that they may live in warmth, safety, and independence. We also provide help through work on community projects.


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National Level...

 

Christmas in April started in Midland, Texas, in 1973 with Bobby and Shirley Trimble and a group of their friends who noticed that many of their neighbors needed help in repairing their homes. Christmas in April. The one-day-a-year workday started using the idea of "barnraising,". It became so widely accepted that Christmas in April programs have stretched into nearly every state.

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Past Highlights...

 

1990 In the summer of 1990, John Parlett , Jr., invited community members to a meeting about Christmas in April, and Christmas in April * St. Mary's County began.

1991 Christmas in April * St. Mary's County brought together a community of 700 volunteers to repair 26 homes the last Saturday in April.

1993 Christmas in April * St. Mary's County completed its 100th home repair. Due to the increasing number of volunteers, our Board of Directors voted to accept applications from non-profit community projects; a senior center was repaired in April 1993.

1994 Under Carol Locke-Endy's leadership, our Continuing Projects Committee was initiated with two pilot programs: (a) The Trailer Project and (b) Weekend Works. The first Trailer Project was completed with the replacement of Mrs. Briscoe's home.

1995 Under Bill Dean and John Parlett's direction, our Leonardtown storage building was designed and built by volunteers. The Board of Directors took the step of bringing on board it's first paid program coordinator. This was the first year that St. Mary's College of Maryland and Christmas in April * St. Mary's County participated in a Christmas in April * USA Summer Work Camp.

1996 Christmas in April * St. Mary's County completed repairs on over 200+ homes.

1997 The Board of Directors and the Advisory Board members set a goal of 30 homes to be repaired on the following Christmas in April National Rebuilding day and to limit the number of mobile homes to 20% of the total number of homes to be repaired. This was due to the high financial costs of repairing mobile homes.

1998 Christmas in April * St. Mary's welcomes a student representative from the St. Mary's County Public School System to its Advisory Board Meetings.

1999 Christmas in April * St. Mary's County passes its 300th mark on home repairs. With over 1,800 volunteers working on Saturday, April 24, 1999, another 30 homes were repaired bringing our program's total to 314 homes and 7 community projects.

2000 Christmas in April * St. Mary's County celebrated its 10 th anniversary with 2,100 volunteers repairing 31 homes and 1 community project in April, plus rehabbing an additional project with our Weekend Works committee. To date we have repaired 346 homes, 8 community projects and 3 homes repaired through summer camps.

2000 Plaque received from the Maryland Rural Summit recognizing Christmas in April * St. Mary's for Its Outstanding Rural Community Achievement.

2001 With the help of 2,000+ volunteers, another 30 homes and 1 community project were repaired in April (totaling 378 homes and 9 community projects; the Weekend Works Committee repaired an additional 3 homes–1 prior to April; 2 in the Fall); plus 3 homes received emergency repairs in the Fall 2001.

2001 Christmas in April * St. Mary's was featured in Carver Elementary School 's book, One Room School Houses of St. Mary's County

2002 After repairing another 29 homes and 1 community project on our National Rebuilding Day, plus an additional 5 homes during the year, we have reached the total of repairing 408 homes and 10 community projects to this date.

2002 Board Member Darene Kleinsorgen honored by the St. Mary's Commission for Women.

2002 Board Member Alvin Fenwick was honored by the St. Mary's Co. Human Relations Commission

2002 We received an Historic Preservation Award from the St. Mary's County Historic Preservation Committee for the repairs we did on the Drayden School in cooperation with DynCorp, St. Mathew's Church, and St. Mary's County Government .

2003 Veridian was honored by the St. Mary's County Chamber of Commerce for its long-time service to Christmas in April, the Chamber, and other community programs.

2003 BAE SYSTEMS was honored by the St. Mary's Co. Human Relations Commission with a corporate award for its support to Christmas in April * St. Mary's and other community groups.

2003 Board Member Howard Thompson was honored as one of St. Mary's County's “Maryland You Are Beautiful” volunteers for his many years helping Christmas in April * St. Mary's.

2004 Irvanette W. Hall, long-time supporter, received one of the Human Relations Commission Awards presented by St. Mary's County.

2004 Al Potts was honored as one of St. Mary's County “Maryland You Are Beautiful” volunteers for his work with our program.

2004 Christmas in April * St. Mary's County was honored with a Community Organization Service-Learning Leadership Award presented by the Maryland Student Service Alliance, Maryland State Department of Education.

2005 Long-time house captain, Ken Ritter, was honored as by the St. Mary's County Human Relations Commission for his leadership with Christmas in April and other community programs.

2006 Volunteers Janie Hunter, Christopher Longmore, Mary Ann Longmore, Levi Parker, and Charlie Roach were all honored by the St. Mary's County “Maryland You Are Beautiful” people for all their community service.

2007 In January 2007, The Enterprise Newspaper highlighted the efforts of “Unsung Heroes” in St. Mary's County. Long-time house captain volunteers Marc Hawes and Doug Sanborn, Co-Captain volunteers John Ward and Nate Baker, and skilled trade volunteer John Petz were honored for their volunteer service in Christmas in April * St. Mary's County.

2007 John K. Parlett, Jr. was awarded the Jefferson Award from WBAL, Baltimore TV Station.

2007 Board members Julia Bohle and Mary Lou Cullison were honored by the St. Mary's Commission for Women for their many accomplishments.

2007 CMI General Contractors, Inc. was awarded the St. Mary's County Chamber of Commerce Award for Community Service (nominated by Christmas in April * St. Mary's).

2007 In April 2007, Christmas in April * St. Mary's County achieved the goal of surpassing our “500” mark. Over the past 17 years, we have repaired over 519 homes and 12 community projects.

2007 John Winters and Winters Heating & Cooling were recognized as a St. Mary's County “Points of Light” at the September 2007 United Way of St. Mary's County Kick-off Breakfast.

2008 Board Member Viola Gardner and Executive Director Mary Ann Chasen were honored by the St. Mary's County Commission for Women.

2008 Ralph Guenther was recognized as a St. Mary's County “Points of Light” at the September 2008 United Way of St. Mary's County Kick-off Breakfast.

2011-President Howard Thompson received the Volunteer of the Year award from Rebuilding Together at their annual conference in New Orleans.

2012-Mary Ann Chassen was honored for her contributions to Christmas in April St. Mary's county, Inc.

2013-First Annual Mary Ann Chasen for volunteerism was awarded to John K. Parlett.  

2013-The President's Choice Award was presented to Don Nolan of Lundeberg School of Seamanship for his support of Christmas in April St. Mary's County, Inc.

2014-The Mary Ann Chasen Volunteerism award was presented to Anne Marum.

2014-President's Choice Award was presented to Delegate John Wood, and Sonny Burch.



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