The program assists Frederick County teenagers who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless.
Frederick, Md (KM). An expansion of the New Horizons Academy is taking place this summer. During a public information briefing Thursday morning, County Executive Jan Gardner announced that it would be working with more students. “This summer, when New Horizon begins its fifth year, it will serve 75 students from six different high schools: Walkersville, Catoctin, Brunswick, Tuscarora, Frederick and Governor Thomas Johnson,” she says. “And for the first time, the program will include rising ninth graders.”
The New Horizons Academy will begin its five-week-long program on Monday, June 28th at Frederick High School, where students will take courses.
The program is coordinated through the Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership, and is meant for students who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. It provides instruction for students, and the support and resources the young people need to graduate on time.
It also pairs up these students with the services and the life skills they need to graduate from high school, be successful and break out of homelessness. More than 800 students in Frederick County Public Schools have faced the challenges of homelessness, and many times without an adult caregiver, the county says.
Ed Hinde is a co-founder of SHIP as well as the Executive Director. He says he was disappointed there couldn’t be an in-person New Horizons Academy last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He says there was an on-line platform for the life skills program, but it was not the same. “To have the Academy happen this year and the way it’s way going, and going back to the original model that we held in 2019; but the expansion of students to be inclusive of rising ninth graders and the mentoring program, it is a thing to behold. So hallelujah for that,” he said.
Dana Falls, the Frederick County School System’s Director of Student Services, say there’s a lot of data which shows 100% of students who participate in the New Horizons Academy succeed. But he says it goes beyond that. “But when you see students in that celebration, and see the impact and the relationships that have been built that are sustained long beyond the summer, that’s where the power lies,” he says.
One of the funders of New Horizons is the Community Foundation of Frederick County. President and CEO Betsy Day says the Foundation’s Grants Committee considers many requests, but New Horizons always stands out. “What intrigues the Grants Committee about the New Horizons program is the solid leadership within the program. But also the very strong outcomes of the program, making sure that they say what they’re going to do, and they indeed do it, and they do it well,” she says.
The other funders of New Horizons are the Frederick City and County Governments, the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek, Frederick County Public Schools, and numerous individuals and organizations in the county which have provided laps and scholarships for students in the program.
By Kevin McManus