Karlys Kline, Frederick’s volunteer lady of successful practical ideas to improve the lives of women in this area — and those for whom they are responsible — has a new idea, and a solid reputation for making good and necessary things happen here. This time she’s ahead of the national curve.
Though she’s been helping many volunteer organizations in this area for years, most people correctly connect Karlys with the Women’s Giving Circle, which she founded in 2006 with the help of her committee members and the Community Foundation. “The Women’s Giving Circle has helped improve the health of many women in a multitude of ways,” says Karlys, “while also improving their lives and the lives of those for whom they’re responsible,” summing it up.
The Women’s Giving Circle has granted almost $1.7 million over the years through Frederick’s charitable organizations, and helped countless women get back on their feet. The Giving Circle has also built an endowment of $700,000.
Now she’s identified a stumbling block for those women when they’re ready to move back into the community of jobs and daily living, and that is the reality of how much time and effort it takes to handle the daily routine of living in this or any community.
While she said she didn’t want to lean too much on Comcast and Verizon as examples, “We all know how long it takes to deal with either,” says Karlys. “Simply living today, the complications these women face are like dealing with Comcast or Verizon many times a day, all day, every day.
“I would love to see a comprehensive center that is a one-stop shopping center for social services, health, food, clothing, job seeking and training, basic human needs — with navigators available to guide and help” those who come for assistance of various kinds.
“Make it not so scary and overwhelming. It’s not worth it if they try, and then give up, thinking ‘This is so bad!’ and fall back, maintaining their former status quo. I want them to be able to say: ‘Today I’m going to —’ and they do, maneuvering through the challenges that might have chipped away and worn them down till they eventually gave up.
“Frederick is a tremendously generous community. People need to know and respect what all these individual charities are accomplishing. Now we need to take it to the next level, putting all these services under one roof.”
As an example of what she envisions, she shares the city of Loveland, Colorado’s creating just such a central location, their House of Neighborly Service, thus becoming an example for other communities of what can be done. (A lovely title, isn’t it?)
At the building entrance hang two large directory boards, one for each floor, detailing a truly amazing number of services beginning with the first floor’s Morning Glory Cafe, Childcare, Clothing Boutique, Food Pantry, Children’s Speech and Reading Center, Medical Clinic, the Gateway Community Room — and more.
Listed on the second floor are the rooms for Angel House, Conference Room, Neighbor to Neighbor, Catholic Charities Outreach and representation of several other churches, Restorative Justice, Worklife Partnership and the Department of Human Services. All this and navigators to help people find what they need.
“The nonprofits in Frederick County are doing the best they can with their current structure — with what they have. But there could be a better and more cost-effective way,” says Karlys.
“It would take one person or one organization to step up and spearhead this effort — which in the long run would be more cost-effective with better outcomes,” she points out. “It’s my dream,” she says in conclusion, “that at some point we will get there — so people will not have a Comcast or Verizon experience all day long that eventually wears them down.
“Just imagine the usefulness of such a center in Frederick, with representation by dozens of existing services — plus new ones — with lower individual costs!” says Karlys.
Ann Burnside Love lives in Frederick, where many county-wide service groups make a serious effort to help maintain and improve the quality of our lives here. Reach her at email@example.com.