Sunday, June 21, 2015

Kids And Kops Can Talk In Frederick Maryland!

New Horizons and The Frederick City Police Demonstrate Kids And Kops Can Talk

Anxiety and fear ran high with no space for release as a room full of people, mostly adults, awaited the van load of kids from Frederick’s Housing Authority. Gathered at Dublin Roasters Coffee House for the fifth and final in a series of Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations, this one was to be the highlight in a succession of New Horizons Support Network, Inc. sponsored programs, designed to build an enhanced community unity in Frederick, Maryland.

But this program’s agenda was fraught with concern. “Kids and Kops In Conversation” was the scheduled presentation for the day. But could these two, “kids and kops,” ordinarily polarized, often warring factions, even come close to a conversation with civility? No one there was certain it could be accomplished.

For months New Horizons had been meeting with members of the Frederick City Police,  planning this event.  Kids and Kops In Conversation was to be a challenge but with the four other Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations successfully achieving their goals, the organizing team for this event was ready for the test.

With Brandon Chapman, Youth Activities Coordinator for the Housing Authority, in charge of bringing the kids and Captain Jason Keckler responsible for recruiting the police, the planning team members still found themselves being apprehensive, facing into the wind. Herman King, one of the organizers and a football coach at Linganore High School, laid out some of the hard places that might need to be encountered.

With an incisive eye, based on decades of coaching youth in Frederick, not only in sports but, even more dramatically, on how people, especially young African American males, might safely interact with police, Herman had prepared the group with guidelines on how to openly address issues that potentially end up in violence. Herman’s “Ten Things Kids Might Want To Ask Kops” painfully summarized some of the most pressing.

Questions for the police such as: 1.What gets cops so aggravated that they get physical; 2. What can be done to end deaths of black men in the custody of law enforcement?; 3. How can I be assured that my race will not work against me when dealing with law enforcement? were on the money as topics that would need to be addressed, at some point, if a genuine success for the Kids and Kops in Conversation endeavor could succeed.

As the program began, once the honored guests, the van load of kids from the projects finally arrived, almost an hour late, the single most important item necessary to discuss was the hopes and the fears of the group, especially the latter, the fears for what lay ahead.

The program began with a moment of silence, recognizing the pain of recent violence; the murder only the week before of the Ice Cream Man in nearby Lucas Village and just days before the racist-driven murders of nine African American church goers in South Carolina in their place of worship. Obviously, pain and fear set the underlying tone for what this group was now embarking upon.

Anastasia Rosen-Jones, Executive Director of the New Horizons Support Network, Inc., officially opened the program with a near-tearful apology to the African Americans present that people that look like her, Caucasian, were murdering people who look like them. Then the conversation really got started with people coming up to the front stage to share their fears and their hopes for what lay ahead. For the adults, the single greatest fear was that the group in attendance would simply not be able to talk. For the kids they were too shy – or fearful – to even share what they feared, or hoped.

But surprise of all surprises, miracle of miracles, everyone did talk. With goodwill and courage, the attendees of the event made it through, discovering in the process that kids and kops could talk in Frederick, Maryland!

They had made a beginning. The conversations actually had been relatively smooth going, once started. A rite of passage had occurred for these “kids and kops;” they could just hang out, person-to-person at a neighborhood coffee shop. What made it turn out that way?

A pledge, carried out, perfectly, by the Frederick City Police, organized and orchestrated by Captain Jason Keckler, and the other adults present; facilitators, volunteers, parents -- and -- the voices of the youth who had the courage to speak and be heard. And they were!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Storytelling In The Midst of Tragedy

The final event of the first New Horizons' Coffee House Conversation On Race Relations Series, Kids and Kops In Conversation, scheduled for Saturday, has placed New Horizons in a unique position. A murder last Saturday afternoon in the local community within which these programs have been being held means this community is now in a profoundly challenging position.

However, already in Frederick County, Maryland, the local community has shown itself incredibly able to move beyond the polarization of "kids and kops" to reach new levels of caring, compassion, healing and hope. This is thanks to the Frederick County Police Department, the local Housing Authority and the community at large.

Listen in to the Possible Society In Motion Radio Show tonight and give yourself an uplifting opportunity as Anastasia and Jack explore the possibilities already in motion in one community, Frederick, Maryland, beyond one of America's most disturbing problems of our time; relationships between kids and kops, especially when kids are of color.

Then join Anastasia and Jack as they invite listeners to take this topic to a deeper, more profound and personal level in the Conference Call discussion immediately following the broadcast portion at: 712.432.0600, access code 640883 (also recorded).

Thursday, June 18 

6:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Could It Be That Telling (and Listening to) Stories Can Redeem The World?

The Talmud, the authoritative body of Jewish tradition, tells us that “to redeem one life is to redeem the world.”

I have come to believe the merit of this ancient wisdom. But I have to ask myself who it is that does the redeeming of who in this adage brought forth from olden times? And how exactly does "redeeming"actually occur?

These questions burgeoned forth out of my mind today as I pondered the effect New Horizons’ Coffee House Conversations on Race Relations project has made on, at least, one woman, an officer of our local police force.

Her responses to my inquiring how our Coffee House Conversations have affected her helped me see the impact our efforts are making, especially the storytelling facet of our programs.

Even in my role as “chief cook and bottle washer” of the project, I certainly am not the one to have “redeemed” this one life.  Only a Supreme Being is equipped for that assignment!

But how about the notion that if one police officer’s humanity can be replenished by the simple act of listening to and sharing stories, we might also then be able to find ways in which we might just save a kid or two by doing the same; listening to and telling stories?

Is it safe to hope that we can take that mark of progress in one woman a step farther, stretching the effort to help bridge the separation where it is most pointed these days; the angst between “kids and kops.”  I certainly want this to be so!

From a personal interview I had with this one police officer, I found evidence that change is occurring as a direct result of New Horizons’ Coffee House Conversations on Race Relations, especially from the storytelling facet of the program.  

I have recently “felt” that something positive was happening from our efforts. But having it verified and spelled out; the “what” and the”how,” now that is something!

So I learned that we are making a difference in our local community. This may only be a small step forward on a very long journey. But it is a step, no less.

Hear the back story I heard that represents the “storytelling” I am excited about on the podcast of this week’s –

Listen to an inspiring story about what has happened with only one police officer opening up to new ways of seeing, hearing, speaking and being.

Imagine what it could be like if hundreds more, even thousands would do the same!

Imagine how our world could change!

Imagine, too, such efforts helping to inspire and empower our youth to meet our police officers on some kind of common ground of cooperation!

Oh my! Oh my!

Let it be!

This is our hope for our forthcoming…

Thoughts to remind us to keep reaching for the best we can do and be –
  • “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” And moves forward one small step at a time.
  • “An enemy is someone whose story we have not yet heard.”

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Kids and Kops In The Streets (In Peace)

An extended version of this article is posted on Anastasia The Storyteller

The occasion that prompted New Horizons’ Kids and Kops In Conversation event to be 
rescheduled was a “Stop The Violence March” (later renamed the Frederick Unity March). It was held, as our originally planned Kids and Kops in Conversation program was to have been), on Saturday, May 16.

Once the request was put to us that we join in with the March as a show of community unity, there was no doubt about it; the March needed to take priority. Especially on the heels of the recent tragedy of one more African American man’s life cut short by the police in Baltimore – and – Baltimore being only a few miles from us in Frederick.

There was no other place for me to be on that day. The kids and the kops were marching so was I!

The amazing thing was that once I had settled myself (and the ruffled feathers of a few volunteers and supporters of the conversation project) with the upheaval the new plan created for New Horizons, I saw the gift it was. Thus it wasn’t long before it stood out to me that a conversation event, by contrast to a March such as this, might be considered like a classroom in comparison to field trip.

The opportunity for us was that we were being invited to go out onto the streets and experience change in motion. Rather than just conversing about it (although dialogue is, too, part of the change in motion that we need).  

Still on the streets we would learn a few things a classroom could not teach. We would, at the March, be right in the center of some of the other things of what it’s taking and going to take to heal the wounds that are dividing the people in this country at this time.

The March did not exactly take me to the most downtrodden; the homeless, addicts and other disenfranchised souls. All I was doing was simply marching with a handful of at-risk youth and community leaders in our local, nearby community.  Yet there was, for me, a kind of restoration; an opening, perhaps, to a part of my disregarded humanity by my getting outside my ordinary comfort zone.

One thing I know for sure from being out on the  streets that day for the March with “kids and kops” is that it breaks my heart to see little four and five year old boys, as I did, marching to affirm that their little “lives matter.” Of course, they do!

OMG! Childhood, especially in the United States of America, shouldn’t need to include paying heed to such as this. I don’t want this burden for them. I don’t want them to fight for their G-d given and Constitutional rights!

I want them to be free of such weighty concerns, free to be safe and grow and thrive – and – develop a beautiful character that knows all that is good and just, acting accordingly.

But so it is!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Kids and Kops In Conversation; June 20

Kids and Kops in Conversation: 
Bridging The Divide

Coffee House Conversations IV On Race Relations

presented by New Horizons Support Network, Inc.

The kop sez,
 “Hey, I’m a person, too.
The kid sez, 
“You can’t do that to me. 
I know my rights!”

He sez, she sez and on and on it goes!

Read Coffee House Conversations on Race Relations --stories and information at:

Reservations and information
Contact: Anastasia
Cell: 240.40.5347 Email:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Kids and Kops Event Rescheduled

The times they are-a changing and “the best laid plans of men and mice” must change too, even if sometimes it is inconvenient (or so we think, at first, until we discover, as we are certain to do, how just right it all turns out in the end.)

So New Horizons is supporting the Frederick County’s Stop The Violence March this week, meaning ....

Our Kids and Kops In Conversation Event has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 20; details coming soon.

Join us this Saturday at Baker Park where the march will begin and end (when we would have been at Dublin Roasters).

Where: Baker Park, Frederick, Maryland (Look for our display table by the band shell.)

When: Saturday, May 16, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

What: Join the Stop The Violence March (Find us at the band shell for some informal conversation time.)

Also hear Anastasia And Jack Slattery on podcast, discussing –
on The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show.

And hear Anastasia and Jack on podcast
"The Times They Are Changing A-Changing, Or Are They?"

Saturday, May 2, 2015

An Invitation and A Request

Conversations In Kind Gifts Request -- And -- an invitation for hangin’ out and community building to our Frederick Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations Supporters/Participants.

Did you know you can contribute In Kind Gifts To Our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center Remodeling Project?

It’s a real win-win deal. (See the bottom of this page for what we need.)

Your In Kind Gifts are fully tax deductible!

And you can bring them with you to Dublin Roasters when you join us for our next event –

Kids and Kops In Conversation, May 16th

About Our Request

Here is the story

On this bright and beautiful day with the sun shining and the weather warmed up a good bit we, at New Horizons, are turning our thoughts to the coming months ahead. Springtime will do that for us out here in the mountains.  And, likely for you, too, wherever you are.

T0day the birds that visit the feeder outside my office window are not only hungry but cheerful, chirping happily away.  On occasion even their babies are now flying in. So it is that Sue deVeer, who is Chairperson of the remodeling project at our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center, and myself are busily preparing for our spring and summer projects. Winter, as usual was much too long so we are now trying to catch up on its limitations.

This year we hope to make enough progress to share the abundance we have out here. “God willing and the creek don’t rise,” by summertime we anticipate welcoming the many friends we have made recently through our Coffee House Conversations on Race Relations in Frederick for some informal, but grand times out here on sunshine filled days and clear summer evenings.

Campfire conversations and potluck dinners after a day of community connecting and shared work projects have always turned out to be among the best of times for us at our retreat center.  They bring us a sense of community that is hard to beat!

In the meantime, while we are getting back to our clean up,fix up, paint up chores on our mountainside property – and – doing our last two Coffee House Conversations on Race Relations (Saturday, May 16 and Saturday, June 20) in Frederick, we would very much like it if you would take time to consider supporting our work out here.

Our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center remodeling project would definitely appreciate your In Kind Gifts to help our remodeling efforts.  And, your time and talent to help us put things in motion.

To join in the progress, here is a partial list of what we need –

(Of course we always need more so if you have trash that might be our treasure, please talk to Sue about it. Her cell number is 240.367.4403.)

Volunteers – Do please make yourself a part of our community-building and remodeling projects.

Come share the richness of our land. Make yourself at home. You can talk and talk and talk almost as long as you like. And, hang out -- and do volunteer work with Anastasia who lives on our property. Many daytime opportunities can be arranged. All that is asked is that you bring your own lunch or dinner or food to share. Please call Anastasia at 240.409.5347.

Our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center was purchased by a group of investors on our behalf for the main purpose of being a training center as well as a place for community gatherings. We want to share it with you. So please consider it as a place to visit on a nice spring or summer day. Come and hang out for some wonderful informal conversing, always about building bridges of connection and aiming higher and higher for being our best and doing our best;

Sue comes out, generally, every other Tuesday to work on the property. So that is always an extra fun day to connect with both Sue and Anastasia. Work, play, eat (bring a bag lunch), talk, hang out, dream, enjoy summer in the mountains at New Horizons Harpers Ferry Retreat Center -- and -- grow community good will.

Do please join us for Summer In The Mountains, 2015!

In Kind Gift Donations that we need –
  • Leaf rakes;
  • Chain saw;
  • Gas powered lawn mower;
  • Lilies for planting;
  • Bark mulch;
  • Axe;
  • Maul;
  • Weed whackers;
  • White outdoor furniture;
  • Lounge chairs;
  • Extra large ceramic planters;
  • Heavy duty, come along cable puller/winch;
  • Black wall installed microwave;
  • Vacuum sweeper.
Don’t hesitate to offer us your trash to become our treasure.

We need your support to help make our exceptional community network vision happen!

Contact Sue at 240.367.4403 for inquiries on this.

Sue will also sell your treasures on ebay to: 1. Give the entire return to New Horizons or; 2. Return a percentage back to you and give the remainder to New Horizons.