Cham­ber launches Charles County Proud ini­tia­tive

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Tif­fIndyNews

Res­i­dents in South­ern Mary­land have a lot to be thank­ful for in their com­mu­nity and the Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce is show­ing peo­ple why it’s more than OK to be proud of where they live and work.

Bil­lie Stachura, chair of the Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce Board of Di­rec­tors, says a new ini­tia­tive, Charles County Proud, is more of an at­ti­tude — a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude.

“I was so pleased, that de­spite all that has been go­ing on in the coun­try, how di­verse Charles County is, how small com­mu­nity minded we are, and how we don’t have a lot of the prob­lems that a lot of the other places have,” Stachura said. “Peo­ple smile at each other here and I’m proud of that. That’s how Charles County Proud evolved.”

Stachura said that a few res­i­dents were not fond of hear­ing Charles County re­ferred to as “Chuck County.” Al­though she has no is­sue with the nick­name, she thought about ways to raise the bar and have the county re­ferred to as Charles County Proud in­stead.

“When I men­tioned the new ini­tia­tive, sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant groups of peo­ple in the area sup­ported and spon­sored it, such as the Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce Mil­i­tary Al­liance Coun­cil, the Charles County De­part­ment of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and the Charles County Pub­lic School Sys­tem,” Stachura said.

Stachura said all of the spon­sors — either an in­di­vid­ual or busi­ness — are go­ing to have Charles County Proud flags with the Charles County Proud logo on it and me­dia pro­mo­tion as a spon­sor.

“We don’t spend enough time high­light­ing the pos­i­tive as­pects of liv­ing in this County,” said Brian Klaas, co-chair of the Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce Mil­i­tary Al­liance Coun­cil. “The MAC is a spon­sor of the Charles County Proud and we want to see Charles County move for­ward. I wanted to be a part of it be­cause we are ad­vo­cat­ing for a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity here in Charles County to im­prove the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion for all of the res­i­dents in Charles County. We re­ally don’t like the idea that more than 40,000 of our res­i­dents have to travel out of Charles County for their em­ploy­ment. Lets start bring­ing those jobs back here, for peo­ple to be apart of the lo­cal econ­omy.”

“As the county’s largest em­ployer, Charles County Pub­lic Schools (CCPS) is hon­ored to be a ma­jor spon­sor of the Charles County Proud cam­paign,” said Vir­ginia McGraw, chair­woman of the Charles County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion. “Even our stu­dents are get­ting in­volved. Chil­dren in el­e­men­tary schools are writ­ing es­says and sec­ondary stu­dents are cre­at­ing videos show­ing why they be­lieve Charles County is a great place to live. CCPS is com­mit­ted to qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and qual­ity of life, and Charles County of­fers both. We couldn’t be more proud of work­ing and liv­ing here. Nearly 80 per­cent of our 3,500 em­ploy­ees live in Charles County. Many of our em­ploy­ees were born and raised here and are grad­u­ates of our school sys­tem. We serve more than 26,000 of our younger res­i­dents, and we want our chil­dren to know about and take pride in their county.”

“Charles County is a great place to live, learn, work and grow,” said school sys­tem Su­per­in­ten­dent Kim­berly Hill. “As a grad­u­ate of Charles County Pub­lic Schools and a long­time res­i­dent of Charles County, I am proud of our com­mu­nity and all that it of­fers. The Charles County Proud ini­tia­tive will high­light our strong com­mu­nity spirit and give peo­ple a way to ex­press their pride in where we have cho­sen to live and raise our fam­i­lies. I’m happy to be a part of this ef­fort.”

On Sept. 20, Stachura said there will be a procla­ma­tion declar­ing Oc­to­ber as Charles County Proud month.

Mar­cia Keeth, deputy direc­tor of the county’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment de­part­ment, said Oc­to­ber is the per­fect month to des­ig­nate as Charles County Proud month be­cause there are some great com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties in the county which present a great op­por­tu­nity to reach the res­i­dents and show off the new Charles County Proud ini­tia­tive.

“As the north­ern part of the county grows and tran­si­tions to a more sub­ur­ban-ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment, peo­ple some­times start talk­ing about Charles County in ways that are nega­tive,” Keeth said. “But with a lot of new fam­i­lies mov­ing into the County we are be­com­ing smarter, bet­ter ed­u­cated, more of a pro­fes­sional com­mu­nity and the work­force avail­able here makes it eas­ier to show com­pa­nies that they should move to Charles County. We will be fo­cus­ing on op­por­tu­ni­ties to get the mes­sage out there, es­pe­cially by putting stick­ers out there with Charles County Proud art­work that is vis­i­ble, signs and other mer­chan­dise.”

The cham­ber and the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment de­part­ment are en­cour­ag­ing busi­nesses and stake­hold­ers to par­tic­i­pate in Charles County Proud as well. There is a fee to be­come a spon­sor and any in­ter­ested in­di­vid­u­als or busi­nesses can con­tact the cham­ber at 301-932-6500.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The new Charles County Proud logo.

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