The “She Inspires” campaign, launched this spring at Green Spring Station, is helping to raise awareness and much-needed funding for some of the stores’ favorite causes and charities. Bridget Stickline, owner of Wee Chic, has long supported the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, and proposed them.

The mission statement of Baltimore Child Abuse Center, a non-profit subsidiary of LifeBridge Health, is to provide victims of child sexual abuse, trauma, and other Adverse Childhood Experiences in Baltimore and their non-offending caretakers with comprehensive forensic interviews, medical treatment, and mental health treatment with a goal of preventing future trauma.

“It is important for people to understand that child abuse impacts everyone, in all demographics. One in four girls and one in six boys experience sexual abuse, often by someone they already know,” says LaDonna Morgan, Director of Strategy and Operations at Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

Children who have suffered child abuse can be revictimized by the investigation into the abuse and the legal process that follows. The national Child Advocacy Model practiced by the Baltimore Child Abuse Center brings together everyone involved in an investigation to uncover what happened. They empower the child to tell their story in a safe setting and begin a pathway to healing. BCAC has a team of six therapists available to provide counseling to victims.

All programs at the BCAC are free. To support its programs, the Center receives $3.5 million in grants and $1 million from donors annually.

the Center’s success comes from its passionate staff and volunteers.

On maternity leave from her job in corporate finance, LaDonna Morgan thought about her next career move. She knew she wanted a job doing something that mattered, and found it at Baltimore Child Abuse Center. As part of the strategic operations she oversees, BCAC has added programs to address human trafficking, which often involves children, and inappropriate internet behavior, where children are groomed as potential sex abuse victims. They have a Healthy Boundaries program at schools and camps, to teach children how to recognize and make responsible adults aware of inappropriate behavior. BCAC was active in passing mandatory reporting of child abuse in the Maryland State legislature, and is now advocating for the removal of the statute of limitations on child abuse charges.

Mandee Heinl understands child abuse firsthand. Her father was abusive to her as a child. The authorities were contacted and came to Mandee’s home to investigate. But, she was interviewed with her father sitting next to her on the sofa, urging her to “tell the truth” that nothing had happened. Her mother was also present at the interview, but she was aware of the abuse and had allowed it to continue, so Mandee had no support from her either. Feeling unsafe, Mandee said everything was fine, and the investigation was closed. Finally, when she was in high school, she was able to move out of her home and live with friends and that gave her the opportunity to have a new life and break the cycle. Mandee’s hope for a brighter future came from a community that gave her the ability to see beyond the walls of her abusive childhood home. She is a strong believer in Baltimore Child Abuse Center’s policy of interviewing children in a safe environment away from offending caretakers, so that they can talk freely and fully about what is happening to them.

Mandee has been a volunteer at Baltimore Child Abuse Center for 3 years. She has fundraised for them – working on the capital campaign and their annual gala, “Be A Hero.”

The critical work that the Center does is particularly important right now. Sheltering in place to stop the spread of COVID -19 is causing tremendous emotional and financial stress in families, and putting vulnerable children and adults at greater risk. Teachers and school staff are often the ones who are the first to spot child abuse, and with schools closed, about 20% of child abuse cases are going unreported.

How can you help?

Call Child Protective Services if you suspect that a child is being abused. They will check out your suspicions.

The Baltimore Child Abuse Center can use your help. Donate to their programs if you can, or contribute to fundraising by serving on a planning committee. Spreading awareness is just as important as money. Volunteer to spread their message as an ambassador.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse or aware that someone else is, The National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233) can give you advice on how to handle the situation safely.

Thank you, LaDonna and Mandee, for sharing your mission with us. You look fabulous on a pre-COVID-19-social-distancing afternoon at Green Spring Station!

Location: Green Spring Station

Styling: Mikey Monaghan and Jen Evans

Media: Style Magazine

Makeup: Owen O’Donnell

Hair: Uno the Salon

Photography: Illume Communications

COVID-19 Stay at Home Goals: On to becoming a Master Gardener!

Staying at home during the COVID-19 crisis brought out the desire to be a Domestic Goddess in many of us. Did you bake bread? Order sourdough starter? All of the grocery stores are still out of yeast and low on flour, so apparently many have now perfected those skills. Cleaned out the closets, reorganized the pantry and alphabetized the spices? Tried new recipes?

Now that the weather is nice, we can move outside and turn our attention to becoming Master Gardeners.

For several years, I have admired Carol Jean Young’s gorgeous zinnia garden in Cockeysville, Maryland, and wished I had one. Zinnias are the perfect garden annual to grow. They are low-maintenance, and tolerate heat and drought well. Give them a spot with full sun and they will reward you all summer with colorful blooms – and the more you cut them, the more they will bloom. Best of all, they are magnets for nectar-seeking butterflies, goldfinches and hummingbirds.

The vegetable and flower garden we have now is all I had time to take care of, so I always put off adding zinnias. This summer is different – I have lots of time. So I asked Carol Jean for advice and she generously walked me through it step by step.

Zinnias make you look like a master gardener

“Zinnias love very loose soil, so take the time to prepare it,” says Carol Jean. A rectangular 3’ by 6’ area is a good size to make a statement garden of about 55 plants. Till or hoe the soil and then spread a bag of organic soil mix over it. Then, use the edge of a hoe or shovel to make very shallow diagonal troughs through the whole space, placing the lines 6”- 8” apart. This will place your plants closer than the seed packets tell you to, but it works well for Carol Jean, and she thinks it makes her plants grow taller.

Zinnia plants, right after they’ve germinated, but before thinning

Now you are ready to plant seeds. There are many varieties. Butterflies especially like the large flower variety in red or hot pink so keep that in mind if you want to attract them to your garden. Carol Jean grows the tall variety – California giants – that can reach up to 5’ tall. I chose to plant Lilliput Mixed Colors that grow up to 2’ and add some 4’ sunflowers behind them for height. To grow 55 plants, you’ll need to buy at least 100-150 seeds, which should be 2-3 packets, although it’s frustrating that a lot of seed packets don’t show the quantity. A great, local to Baltimore source for all kinds of flower and vegetable seed is Meyer Seed Company, 600 South Caroline Street. You can pick them up or they will ship by UPS.

Carol Jean sows 2 or 3 seeds close together, every 6” – 8” along her troughs. When you are finished sowing, you are ready to cover the seeds with soil. “It’s very, very important to cover the seeds with only ¼” of soil,” cautions Carol Jean. “More than that and they won’t germinate.” After you have finished planting, use the shower setting on a garden hose to gently water the area. Carol Jean waters in between the rows so as not to dislodge the seeds. Until they germinate (7 – 10 days), she waters them lightly twice a day.

Zinnia plants are growing, and the stems are sturdier. Almost ready to thin out.

and they are off and growing up fast!

When the zinnia plants are 3” – 4” high, you need to thin them. Sad, but you really have to choose which of the seedlings in each spot is the hardiest and pull the others out. Zinnia plants grow very fast and shade out weeds, so you shouldn’t have to regularly weed the bed. As the plants grow taller, you may want to stake them to keep them from blowing over in wind or very heavy rain. 1” x 1” x 5’ wood stakes are available for $2.00 each at garden centers, or if you own the stakes used to mark paths for a snowplow, you can use those. You don’t have to stake every plant – staking half gives the others protection. Five weeks later, you’ll have a beautiful zinnia garden ready to brighten your home and share with friends!

Zinnias have very few problems with scourges, but a “too wet” summer can lead to powdery mildew and leaf spot. Here is an easy remedy for that if you spot it on your plants:

Homemade Spray for Powdery Mildew
Gallon of water
1 T baking soda
1 T vegetable oil
1 T dishwashing liquid

For lots of “zinnia inspiration,” check the hashtags #zinniagarden and #zinnia on Instagram and Zinnias on Pinterest. We’ll post some photos of this year’s gardens later and would love to see some of yours.

If you are a fan of Birds, Blossoms, and Butterflies, check out Carol Jean Young’s gorgeous photography on her Facebook page. Amazing what she captures!

Shawn Nocher and Kelly Gill met each other 30 years ago, as mothers of young children with their whole lives ahead of them. They couldn’t have known then that years later, their bond would become “mothers of addicted children” and that they would form an organization, Love in the Trenches, to help other parents whose children are suffering from the disease of addiction, either in active addiction or in recovery, or who have died from drug use.

For several years, Shawn and Kelly were each other’s lifeline as their sons moved through addiction and recovery at different times. Kelly’s son was in recovery, while Shawn’s son was somewhere out west, actively using. In one of the ironic, unpredictable twists of addiction, at the same time that Shawn’s son moved into a recovery phase that he has maintained, Kelly’s son relapsed and tragically died of an overdose.

Their stories are only partly about their sons. Loving children who suffer from the disease of addiction also affects the entire dynamic of the family. Parents are often not in the same place emotionally and can’t agree on the next steps. The siblings are often angry and confused and feel isolated when all the family’s energy is focused on one child. Families crumble under the weight of addiction. They isolate themselves from extended family and friends and the family keeps secrets.

Love in the trenches

Aware that other parents were trying to connect with each other for information and help, Shawn and Kelly joined forces and created Love in the Trenches as a supportive community for parents. Love in the Trenches helps parents erase the shame of addiction. Many parents come into the LITT community feeling like a parenting failure on their part is the reason their child is suffering – some wrong turn or wrong decision made the problem worse. Through LITT, they come to accept that they did not cause it, cannot control it, and they can love their child and hate the addict.

Drug abuse is a complex set of behaviors. It’s impossible to predict who will suffer from this disease. A group of teens can grow up together, in similar environments, experimenting with the same risky behaviors – 70% of high school seniors drink alcohol, 50% have tried illegal drugs. Most young people who experiment with drugs and alcohol will mature, begin to make good decisions, and become successful functioning adults, but a few will go on to become addicted to drugs and alcohol. The desire for drugs takes over the addicted brain and rational thought processes are compromised. An addict eventually comes to believe—however irrational it might seem to us—that the drugs are keeping them alive, and they can no longer control their moods or the things they do to maintain a high. Friendships and family relationships fall by the wayside, and a normal life becomes impossible. Parents and families have to find their own way to love their child, to be supportive when it is appropriate, but to protect themselves. It takes a community of support like Love in the Trenches to be able to do that. Kelly and Shawn are quick to point out that they don’t have a magic panacea for addiction, but they do know that addiction flourishes in isolation. With support, parents learn to “put on their own oxygen masks first in order to support their child in the best possible way.”

Change a step in the dance, change the dance

LITT runs a bi-monthly speaker series featuring various authorities in the field of addiction, as well as training in the administration of Naloxone to reverse overdose. LITT also supports like-minded programs that work to assist families in recovery and help in their mission to erase the shame of addiction.

Normally, Love in the Trenches holds in-person Support Group and Grief Group Meetings using their experience to offer coping skills, networking opportunities, recovery resources, and active support. However, during this time of social distancing, the groups are meeting on Zoom. Their website,, has information on meetings and lots of resources for parents. Shawn and Kelly are available to talk to you at

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