10:11 PM EDT, May 30, 2011
Are you a pregnant woman who just discovered she’s expecting twins? Better call the local chapter of Mothers of Multiples. Interested in becoming a better public speaker? Learn how with Toastmasters.
Quilters, hikers, beekeepers, cooks, figure skaters, painters, British wives and even nudists have their own groups in Howard County.
There’s no better way to make new friends, network for business contacts, learn more about a favorite hobby or give back to the community than through the countless clubs and organizations here.
Clubs developed around hobbies can offer companionship and advice on topics like woodworking, computers, dance, archaeology or genealogy. Other clubs are more unabashedly social, catering to singles, women or seniors.
Some organizations have purposes beyond perfecting a craft or finding friends. Activists band together to protect animals with Animal Advocates, support democracy in the Western Hemisphere with the Howard County Friends of Latin America, or advocate civil rights with the Howard County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Along with the traditional service clubs — Rotary, Lions, Jaycees, Kiwanis, Optimists and Soroptimists, for example — Howard County is home to a wide array of community groups that help county residents in need. The Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center offers rehabilitation on horseback for children and adults; Meals on Wheels volunteers bring cheer as well as chow to homebound people; and FIRN offers shelter, counseling, English tutoring and support to the county’s growing immigrant population.
Here is a sampling of some of the groups in Howard County. For more clubs or for meeting times and other details, check the calendar listings in the Howard County Times and Columbia Flier newspapers or visit their sites online at www.explorehoward.com. Don’t forget your phone directory — most local organizations are listed in the white pages.
Lending a hand
Want to help but don’t know how?
The Volunteer Center Serving Howard County is a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities. Help out by working on a crisis hot line, painting a group home for disabled adults or tutoring a teenager. The group holds monthly orientations where people can learn where and how to help. The We Can Team offers bite-sized volunteer opportunities to people with only a few hours to spare. Visit www.volunteerhoward.org, or call 410-715-3172.
The United Way can match volunteers with agencies needing help, both inside Howard County and throughout Baltimore. Call 410-547-8000.
> AIDS Alliance of Howard County, 410-880-5888
> Animal Advocates of Howard County, 410-880-2488, Ext. 3
> Bent Twig Garden Club, 410-465-4778
> Bereaved Parents, 410-321-7053
> Business Women’s Network of Howard County Inc., 410-740-0126
> Columbia Amateur Radio Association, 410-465-2421
> Columbia Area Mothers of Multiples, 410-750-1322
> Columbia Teen Center, 410-992-3726
> FIRN, 410-992-1923
> First Place Singles, 410-747-0552
> Gilchrist Hospice Care, 410-730-5072
> Howard County Bird Club, 301-725-5037
> Howard County Pets on Wheels, 410-313-7461
> Howard County Special Olympics, 410-740-0500
> Korean American Community Association, 410-461-1728
> La Leche League, 410-461-3423 or 410-309-4940
> Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, 410-730-9476
> National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Howard County chapter, 301-483-8770
> Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), 410-290-8292
> Parents Without Partners, 410-381-2650
> Relatives as Parents, 410-313-1940
> Sierra Club Howard County, 301-277-7111 or 443-538-4084
> Sistahs’ Business Network, 410-300-7343
> Success In Style, 410-750-6475
> Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center, 410-489-5100
> Toastmasters, 443-618-4079
> University of Maryland Cooperative Extension-Howard County (for 4-H), 410-313-2707
> Veterans of Foreign Wars, 410-465-4240