Project Graduation,a program now in its 22nd year in Charles County, has been recognized as a recipient of the Governor's Crime Prevention Award. In December, former Governor Robert Ehrlich honored 67 Maryland organizations and individuals for their dedication to reducing crime and making Maryland a safer place for all of its' citizens at the 27th Annual Governor's Crime Prevention Awards. Among the honorees was Project Graduation, a community-wide effort in Charles County to provide events where teenagers can have fun and celebrate their high school graduations in a safe and drug-free environment.
Project Graduation is facilitated by the Chemical People of Charles County who work with representatives from the Charles County Board of Education, the Sheriff's Office, the College of Southern Maryland and the Department of Health with businesses, local government entities, private citizens and members of each high school's faculty and graduating class to coordination a graduation celebration event held at CSM.
In addition to holding the graduation celebration 21 times, CSM provides financial support to Project Graduation through a Drug Free Communities (DFC) Support Grant as part of the Charles County Substance Abuse Advisory Coalition.
Nominated by the Charles County Sheriff's office, Project Graduation gathers community donations of food, entertainment and prizes in an effort to provide high school students with the opportunity to show their peers that alcohol isn't needed to have fun and that celebrations can be rewarding and violence-free.
During the ceremony Dec. 7, former Gov. Ehrlich recognized Project Graduation with a Governor's Crime Prevention Award for Outstanding Proactive Crime Prevention Programs in Maryland. John Hayden, chairman of the Chemical People of Charles County, accepted the award.
Since its inception in 1985, attendance of Project Graduation events has increased yearly, leading to a reduction in the number of incidents and motor-related fatalities involving graduating seniors. Last year, 2,107 students attended Project Graduation events on June 6 and 7.
For information on Project Graduation call 301-934-7732 or 301-870-3008, Ext. 7213 for Charles County; 240-725-5499, Ext. 7213 for St. Mary's County or 443-550-6199, Ext. 7213 for Calvert County.
For information on the Governor's Crime Prevention Awards Program, contact the Maryland Community Crime Prevention Institute of the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions, 1-800-303-8802, or 410-875-3425 or http://www.dpscs.state.md.us/aboutdpscs/pct/ccpi/index.shtml.