Talbot Partnership for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention recently hosted its Annual Dinner at Thread Haven Friends Meeting House in Easton, MD. Five awards were presented to recognize both individual and organizational contributions toward raising safe and healthy youth. Award recipients for 2008 were Easton Utilities; Ginny Cornwell, Tilghman After School Kids (TASK) Program; Kathy Foster, Health Officer, Talbot County Health Department; and Talbot County Drug Courts. Four high school graduates also received Talbot Partnership’s Graduation Stipend Awards.
Easton Utilities is committed to a drug-free workplace. In addition to the company’s active involvement in the Employee Assistance Steering Committee of the Talbot County Council’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Substance Abuse, Easton Utilities promotes general wellness to its employees with monthly seminars, yoga classes, weight loss programs, fitness reimbursement plans, and other incentivized programs.
Ginny Cornwell was hired through the St. Michaels Community Center to coordinate the Tilghman Island After School Kids (TASK) Program. She has built the program into an exemplary after school environment offering quality enrichment programs and serving nearly every Tilghman Elementary School student. Cornwell was also honored for commitment to the community, including providing cookouts in the neighborhood, overnights inOcean City, and serving as a counselor and mentor.
Kathy Foster, Health Officer for the Talbot County Health Department, has been involved in substance abuse prevention since the Talbot County Health Department received its first substance abuse grant. She embraced teen substance abuse as a public health issue in 2006 and has played a leadership role in Talbot County’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Substance Abuse, leading the Health Department and the community in implementing the Blue Ribbon Commission’s 13 recommended strategies. Foster has also secured funding to reinstate the Intensive Outpatient Program at the Talbot County Health Department, instituted screenings and interventions in all client interactions in Health Department programs, and advocated for health care providers training in Interventions. Foster is incoming president of Talbot Family Network and serves on the Talbot County Council’s Board of Health.
The success of the Talbot County Drug Courts has been due to the leadership of the judges involved and the staff who have implemented these programs. In 1998, the Juvenile Drug Court was the first Drug Court established by Judge Hugh Adkins and the Department of Juvenile Services to provide substance abuse treatment and other rehabilitative services to youth under 18 years of age with drug convictions. Glen Plutschak was hired as TalbotCounty’s first Drug Court Coordinator.
Family Recovery Court was established in 2007 through the work of the Talbot County Department of Social Services, Court Appointed Advocates (CASA), the Talbot County Health Department Addictions Program, Judge Sidney Campen and Circuit Court Judge Bo Earnest. The Family Recovery Court works with parents who have lost custody or are in danger of losing custody of their children because of drug addiction.
Talbot County’s Violation of Probation Court, administered through Judge Hugh Adkins, offers adult offenders who violate probation the option of treatment in place of incarceration. Currently, Judge Bo Earnest is investigating a Mental Health Court for criminal offenders in need of mental health services.
High school graduates Elizabeth Hallett of Sts. Peter and Paul High School, Catherine Kearney of Easton High School, Peter Taylor of St. Michaels High School, and Erik Walker of Easton High School received Talbot Partnership Graduation Stipends. These stipends were awarded to graduating seniors who submit brief essays thoughtfully considering the high rates of underage alcohol and drug abuse in Talbot County.