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OurTudorHall2013-008.jpg history tells a story – of the people before us, their culture, ideals, beliefs and more. Learning about this history builds a connection with them and how they lived. The St. Mary’s County Historical Society (SMCHS) collects, preserves, researches and interprets the history of St. Mary’s County in order to share and educate us on those who came before. Catch up on this week’s Friday Focus as we explore the SMCHS favorite moments, events and challenges from Executive Director, Susan Wolfe. 

Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)
The St. Mary’s County Historical Society (SMCHS) collects, preserves, researches and interprets the history of St. Mary’s County, Maryland.  Its collections are held in trust for the use and education of the public.  They are primarily composed of documentary and archival materials with a focus on the county’s people, places and events.  This information is made available at the Research Center maintained by SMCHS, through publications such as the quarterly Chronicles of St. Mary’s and Tudor Hall Times as well as through programs and exhibits.  We are responsible for maintaining information on the 383-year history of the “Mother County of Maryland.”  SMCHS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
Our favorite moments are when researchers are sitting in our Research Center and realize that another person or family is doing research on their family.  Reunions of family members who may be fifth and sixth cousins (or more) are wonderful.  Because of the migration of county residents to Kentucky and beyond after the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, family members from those states come back to St. Mary’s. 

What is your biggest challenge?
Maintaining and growing our membership is our biggest challenge.  Our membership now totals 644 and those members live in 35 states and Canada – all with a passion for St. Mary’s County history.  In order to continue confidently with our mission work, we need a membership of at least 800.  Our other area of concern in the preservation of Tudor Hall, our headquarters.  This home is over 250 years old and has severe moisture penetration problems.  A structural engineer will evaluate the building this summer and make recommendations as to a plan to stabilize the building and control the moisture.

Are there any upcoming events?
Three years ago, we began an annual program series entitled “Ordinary People… Extraordinary Accomplishments” focusing on the contributions of the county. We have had programs on rye whiskey production and bootlegging, tobacco, oysters and this year, stores as community centers.  Next spring’s program is on the history of horses in the county.  Notices of our upcoming events are available on our website.

How can people get involved with your organization? 
Our website is at www.stmaryshistory.org and contains information on membership, volunteer opportunities and how to do research on the history of the county and its families.  Tudor Hall is located at 41680 Tudor Place, Leonardtown.  
A place where positive, passionate, purpose-filled women live their dreams, is what Erin Lewis, Founder and Leader of The Dream Queen Association, believes in promoting for women of all ages. The Dream Queen Association helps give women the power and knowledge to become strong, confident people, striving to follow their dreams and goals in life. Through programs, retreats, conferences, meetings and more, the Foundation provides opportunity for girls and women to network and embrace the power they have within themselves. Learn more about the Dream Queen Association in this week’s Friday Focus.
Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)
Our Vision
We envision a world where all women and girls have the knowledge and support they need to step into positions of leadership and bring their whole selves to impacting the world, making it a more positive, peaceful and joyful place to live.
Our Mission
The mission of The Dream Queen Foundation is to offer a safe space where women and teen girls can come together to support one another and celebrate their dreams. 
Our Programs
The Dream Queen Foundation offers networking, retreats, conferences, club programs and workshops to help women and teen girls align careers with passion & purpose, embrace authenticity & transparency in positions of power & influence and replace greed & corruption with heart & soul.
Our Signature Teen Girl Program, Gals Lead, teaches teenage girls the responsibility and the role of leadership, helps them develop a life-long love for learning and ultimately equips them to transform the 7 Cultural Spheres of Influence that define our world today: Government, Business, Education, Religion, Family, Media, & Arts/Entertainment.
Our Impact
Over five years, we have expanded our network to over 1000 women (mostly small business owners & local non-profits) operating in 4 counties and launched annually the Stand Out: Women’s Success Experience & Fundraiser.  Gals Lead has directly worked with 175 teen girls through weekend retreats, assemblies and a 5-month club program.
Our Code of Conduct
  1. Be Positive.  What you focus on grows; make sure your focus creates positive impact.  Criticizing, Complaining and Condemning Others is never our role.
  2. Be Passionate.  Share from your Heart & Soul.  Positive energy is contagious.  Love what you do and why you do it.
  3. Be Purpose-filled.  Be authentic and transparent in all you do.  Find great fulfillment in giving and receiving.
  4. Be Committed.  Keep your promise.  Do what you say you will do when you say you will do it.  Be on time.  Be excellent in your work.
  5. Stop Judging.  You never know what storm God has asked someone to walk through or why.  An open heart and a forgiving spirit is all that is required here – for yourself and others.
Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
My favorite moments are watching the girls breakthrough to the other side of their own barrier and then be supported by their fellow Gals Lead Sisters.  There is also nothing better than hearing them share their Vision Boards and watch them imagine what their life could be.  For testimonials for the girls, watch our video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv1CZd2xmic
Q: What is your biggest challenge?

Like any non-profit, our biggest challenge is funding and awareness.  We were recently selected by State Farm to receive a $5,000 grant through their Good Neighbor Program.  In addition, we were nominated in the Top 200 of 2,000 causes submitted in early June for a chance to win $25,000 from State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist Grant Program. We will find out on September 28 if we landed in the Top 40 to bring $25,000 to Southern Maryland.
Q: Are there any upcoming events?
We have networking events monthly and the most up to date details can be found by visiting our website at www.YourDreamQueen.com.  Specific to the Gals Lead Teen Program and our Annual Stand Out Women’s Success Experience, we have the following
Sept 22-23, 2017              Gals Lead Certified Facilitator Training
November 4-5, 2017         Gals Lead Weekend Experience
March 3, 2018                    Annual Stand Out Experience: Embrace Your Impact
Q: How can people get involved with your organization?
There are many ways to get involved with the foundation. Teen girls can sign up for The Gals Lead Weekend Experience which develops their maturity, confidence, clarity, self-esteem, self-worth and prepares them for the “real” world. The Stand Out Experience is open to women of all ages and is designed for you to discover the unlimited possibilities of life while standing out and being supported in sisterhood. The Dream Queen Women’s Empowerment Networking Events are a place for positive, passionate, purpose-filled women to come together to share personal and professional celebrations, set desires and intentions with a supportive community and gain business and personal connections and relationships that allow you to expand, execute and elevate your career, life and dreams. Another way to get involved is sign up for a volunteer team based on your interest and time availability. Those teams include the ambassadors, facilitators, fundraisers and event coordinators. You can also sign up for one of the various levels of the membership program which help fund all of our programs.