Allyson Black, State Affairs Manager Governmental & External Affairs
When I walked into the class room and she spotted me with lit up eyes, sprinting in my direction to greet me with a great big hug, I was once again reminded of why I serve. She is the student I began tutoring in 2014, at Arundel Elementary School every Monday morning through Reading Partners Baltimore.
Reading Partners is a national education focused nonprofit organization. With the service of community volunteers, they help students at under-resourced schools improve their reading skills.
A new school year began in the fall of 2015, and that moment I previously described was the first day back to our Reading Partners tutoring sessions. When I learned about Reading Partners I knew it was an organization that I needed to be a part of, and it has proven to be a gift that provides immeasurable satisfaction and fulfillment. My part is easy. I start my week by not only helping a child improve her literacy and reading skills, but by also having an opportunity to mentor and develop a bond that lets her know that she is important, and her success is of my concern.
This year, Reading Partners aims to do this for 775 students in 14 schools with the support of 850 community volunteers. The need is real. In Maryland, 9 out of 10 fourth graders from low-income families cannot read at grade level. Children who cannot read proficiently by the fourth grade are four times less likely to graduate on time, which hinders their chances to succeed in college and beyond. Last year, 90 percent of Reading Partners students increased their monthly rate of learning. Additionally, 70 percent of the students narrowed their literacy gap with peers who read at grade level, and eight out of 10 emerging readers mastered key foundational literacy skills.
The opportunity to mentor and assist a child’s academic improvement and increased confidence is a unique and exceptional quality that Reading Partners provides. I am thankful that BGE also sees the value of this opportunity and provides its employees with the ability to give back to the community. We all can be great, because we all can serve.
If you are interested in learning more about Reading Partners, please contact Allyson Black at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410.269.5286.
Faviola Donato-Galindo, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
At BGE we understand that education has the power to change lives and improve our communities. Through our civic and charitable engagement we continue to strengthen our relationships with schools in our service territory.
Throughout the year, our educational outreach provided an opportunity for BGE to be part of the learning ecosystem by bringing their experience and knowledge to fundamental concepts in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math and arts.
Many of our linemen visited schools to teach children about electricity and safety around power lines. The bucket truck was a learning tool, as linemen showed how they work safely around power lines. They answered student-questions about electricity and helped them try on safety gear including hard hats, rubber gloves, arm protector sleeves and safety glasses.
Last summer, engineers supported the Summer Innovation Academy at MacArthur Middle School in Fort Meade. Students worked in teams to build wooden communities and determine whether to use hydroelectric, solar or wind to power four homes in their towns. BGE engineers helped students understand the transformation of energy into electricity and how to connect and power their wooden communities via a series of battery powered circuits.
BGE also brought the learning outside of the classroom through tours of the White Marsh Utility Training Center and Spring Gardens Gas Facility. Students were able to learn firsthand about the skilled labor required to reliably and safely deliver natural gas and electric to BGE customers.
These are a few highlights of the many ways BGE supports education. We look forward to continue supporting and cultivating learning opportunities for students from all backgrounds and communities and contribute to a strong economy for Maryland.
To request a school presentation or BGE participation at your school event
, email us
r call 410-470-4103. You can also complete the online request form or call 410-470-4103. You can also complete the online request form
Happy New Year!
Chanel Rhoads-Reed, Senior Community Relations Specialist
BGE recently had the honor of delivering an energy conservation presentation for seniors at the first Lunch and Learn for The LGBT Health Resource Center located in the Chase Brexton’s Mount Vernon Center. The Lunch and Learn presentations are designed to bring together LGBT adults over 50 years old, LGBT caregivers, and individuals caring for LGBT older adults, with representatives from the SAGECAP (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders Caring and Preparing) program.
BGE’s Employee Resource Group, Exelon Pride Baltimore offered to participate in a series of monthly Lunch and Learn workshops that is part of the SAGECAP program, which provides LGBT older adults and caregivers with community resources and aging services.
“This is a perfect example of how employee resource groups provide benefit to BGE from a business perspective in addition to internally. The relationship Pride Baltimore established with Chase Brexton enabled the company to broaden its community outreach efforts. It is a true win-win.” said BGE’s Ron Hokemeyer, Principal Change Consultant and member of Exelon Pride Baltimore.
During the presentation the attendees had an opportunity to learn a variety of powerful ways to save energy, money and the environment mainly through basic small behavioral changes, such as resetting their thermostats to the recommended ideal temperatures (68° in the winter and 78° in the summer).
The attendees were also educated on some of BGE’s energy efficiency programs, such as the Quick Home Energy Check Up. This is a program that is offered to all BGE customers. It’s a fast, easy way to save money by increasing the energy efficiency of your home. Learn more at www.BGEsmartenergy.com/Residential/Quick-Home-Energy-Check
“BGE is the first company to provide services specifically targeting LGBT older adults in Maryland and we are so happy to have you involved!” said Bethany Henderson, Program Manager of the SAGECAP program. Bethany’s main goal for the Lunch and Learns is to bring more exposure to this overlooked demographic in the LGBT community. She also believes these seminars will bring together community members in a safe environment where they can gather and become better acquainted.
If you would like to learn more about the LGBT Health Resource Center
please visit their website at LGBT Health Resource Center. For more information on BGE energy efficiency programs please visit our website at BGESmartEnergy.
Chanel Rhoads-Reed, Senior Community Relations Specialist
BGE had the wonderful opportunity to connect with over 75 children ranging from kindergarten to 5th grade, representing three Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County for “Captain Mercaptan Action Day” at the Boys and Girls Club of Harford County Edgewood branch. During Action Day, children learned about natural gas safety through a series of fun-filled activities. Activity stations and games included a comic book reading corner, action book coloring area, good smells vs. bad smells challenge and power play appliance identification game. The children also had the opportunity to meet and interact with BGE’s gas safety hero, Captain Mercaptan.
The children had a great time with the numerous activities that were provided throughout the event and learned a few valuable lessons about natural gas safety along the way.
- In Captain Mercaptan’s Comic Book Corner, children got to read the newly released “Iron Man featuring Captain Mercaptan in a Natural Team”, a comic book BGE released with Marvel which was distributed to all students in third through fifth grade in central Maryland.
- The Action Book Area allowed children to color and complete gas-related activities in the Action Book.
- The Good Smell vs. Bad Smell Challenge provided the children with multiple good smells and bad smells in a jar and the children had the challenge of identifying the good smells vs. bad smells and the smell of “mercaptan” the additive that BGE and other gas utilities add to naturally odorless natural gas to make it detectable by scent.
- The Power Play game helped children identify household items and appliances that either use gas or electric.
Captain Mercaptan Action Day at the Boys & Girls Club of Harford County presented the chance for us to educate children about a topic they might otherwise never learn about – natural gas safety. With over 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland, it’s important for us to make sure that even our youngest customers are familiar with natural gas and know what to do should a natural gas emergency occur.
“Hosting Captain Mercaptan Action Day with the Boys & Girls Club of Harford County was a great way for us to teach young children about natural gas. Kids are oftentimes more observant to things that adults overlook and can alert their parents to potential dangers if they understand them better. At BGE, we teach natural gas safety to children so they know what to do if they ever detect natural gas and they can be their own super hero, just like Captain Mercaptan.” says Faviola Donato-Galindo, Senior Community Relations Specialist.
This was just one of several events that BGE anticipates hosting to continue to educate young children about natural gas safety. For more photos of Captain Mercaptan Action Day visit flickr.com/photos/mybge and if you would like to learn more about natural gas safety and Captain Mercaptan, please visit www.BGE.com/CaptainMercaptan.
Ingrid D. Woods, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
Maryland’s population consisted of nearly 6 million residents last year according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Of that number, nearly 14 percent of them were over 65 years of age and that number is expected to increase to nearly 18 percent by 2030.
BGE’s Community Affairs team increased outreach this year to senior customers to make them aware of the company’s programs and services. Between January and October 2015, the team reached over 17,500 seniors by engaging them at senior centers, senior housing facilities, civic associations and senior expos. (10,600 seniors reached in 2014.) This outreach consisted of the delivery of more than 20 presentations across our service territory on Energy Conservation, How to Read the BGE Bill, Energy Assistance, Smart Meters as well as BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program.
In addition to delivering presentations, Community Affairs team members have exhibited at several health & wellness events and information fairs. We also sponsored and exhibited at three senior expos in Baltimore County (Baby Boomer / Senior Expo), Carroll County (Seniors on the Go! An Aging & Disabilities Expo), and Howard County (50+ Expo). And, we still have 10 scheduled events for senior audiences for the remainder of the year!
This year, we had an opportunity to engage with an entirely new audience – Korean-American seniors. During a visit at the Brooklyn Park Senior Center last summer, the center’s director shared with us that a large group of Asian-American seniors meets every Wednesday and requested a presentation on utility assistance and ways to save energy at home. BGE’s Asian American Resource Group (AARG), whose goal is to provide a link to the Asian-American community, partnered with Community Affairs to deliver an enlightening presentation on Energy Conservation and Energy Assistance to nearly 70 Korean-American seniors.
Along with presentations, our other major outreach events included sponsorships and exhibitions at senior expos.
In April 2015, more than 1,600 seniors and 125 vendors attended the Carroll Seniors on the Go!. That event took place at the Shipley Arena at the Carroll County Agricultural Center in Westminster.
In October 2015, more than 3,500 attendees over 50 years old and 170 vendors attended the Howard County 50+ Expo that took place at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia.
Also in October 2015, more than 11,000 baby boomers and seniors along with 300 exhibitors attended the Baby Boomer and Senior Expo at the Timonium Fairgrounds in Baltimore County.
At each of these expos, seniors and baby boomers were able to take advantage of numerous resources, eat delicious food, and be entertained. BGE was there to provide low cost and no cost ways of saving energy in the home and share information on Energy Assistance, Energy Choice, Gas & Electric Safety, Smart Meters, Billing and BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program. We look forward to even more opportunities with our senior customers in the near future.
If you belong to an organization and would like BGE to participate either as presenter or as an exhibitor, please visit bge.com or contact our Community Affairs Hotline at 410-470-4103.
Enjoy some of the photos taken at several of our senior outreach events this year!
Bob Oberle, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
While we are enjoying mild weather now, and hopefully lower gas and electric usage as well, it won’t be long before the temperatures drop and our heating systems come on more frequently. A few months ago, I wrote about the importance of finding air leaks in the home and maintaining the heating and cooling equipment, as those systems account for nearly half of our energy consumption. I suggest using Halloween as a reminder to make repairs or improvements. If there are any problems or inefficiencies, we’d like to identify them before colder temperatures set in.
There’s still time to check your furnace operation and locate other inefficiencies in the home if you haven’t already. You may be able to identify and repair some yourself. In any case now is the time to act and become as energy efficient as possible. The Ways to Save page on BGE.com offers many tips on how to conserve energy and information on BGE savings programs such as the Quick Home Energy Check-Up and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®.
And if you’d like a member of the BGE Community Affairs team to speak to your organization about getting ready for winter, we’d be glad to offer our $ave Energy, $ave Money presentation, which describes low cost or no cost ways to reduce your energy usage. We can also present on many other topics, which include: energy assistance, energy choice and selecting an alternative energy supplier, how to read and understand the bill, safety, and the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program®.
At BGE, we strive to be a good corporate partner to the communities we serve, to listen to our customers’ concerns and provide education. We’d be glad to partner with your organization and speak at one of your meetings. Call us at 410-470-4103 to schedule a presentation.
Here’s to hoping this winter is not too severe. But let’s prepare now to do what is necessary to tighten up our homes. Even minor improvements will have some savings dividends throughout the winter.
Frank Kelly, Diverse Business Enablement Manager
Among the many core values BGE employees share, diversity is certainly one which I strive to uphold daily. As Diverse Business Enablement Manager, my chief responsibility is to support BGE’s supplier diversity program by helping diverse-certified vendors navigate our procurement process.
Every year, BGE spends millions of dollars on supplies and services to help us deliver safe and reliable power to our customers. As important as it is for us to have our procurement needs met, it’s just as important for us to work with companies that represent ALL of the communities we serve. This is why BGE works tirelessly to develop relationships with organizations such as the Maryland Minority Contractors Association to help introduce us to diverse-certified vendors and cultivate relationships for short and long-term needs.
Additionally, for the last two years, BGE’s Focus 25 program has helped select diverse certified companies develop key strengths and insights that they can then use to better compete for business opportunities with BGE and other large companies. In accordance with Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)between the Public Service Commission (PSC) and BGE, our aspiration goal is to ensure that at least 25 percent of all of our contractual spend goes to a diverse certified business.
To date, nearly 20 diverse businesses have completed the year-long course and have graduated; and while there is no guarantee that any of them will actually secure contracts from BGE, some of them have started to fulfill work orders for us, partner with each other and do work for other large enterprises.
Why does BGE embrace supplier diversity? Having diverse business relationships provides many benefits – it provides us with an opportunity to discover new sources of supplies, talent and efficiencies; it also allows these businesses to continue to find success in their operations, hire and keep employees and retain economic value within their communities.
While we have won many awards for our supplier diversity programs, and appreciate the recognition, we also recognize that the importance of these programs (for BGE and other organizations) goes far beyond a shiny trophy or plaque. It helps businesses like ours learn how to perform better, it helps secure employment for members of our community, and it allows individuals and families to prosper.
To the nine new graduates of our 2015 Focus 25 class, congratulations on your achievement. I’m proud of your commitment and look forward to the many big things you will accomplish.
Ingrid D. Woods, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
On August 4, 2015, BGE participated in three National Night Out (NNO) events including two in Baltimore City and one in Baltimore County. In West Baltimore, we hosted an information table in Southern Park Heights hosted by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In East Baltimore, we spent time in the Belair-Edison / Frankford community. And in Northern Baltimore County, we exhibited in the Yorkshire-Haverford community in Timonium, Maryland.
Each neighborhood had its own flavor, style and activities including moon bounces for the kids, marching bands, line dancing, visits from local law enforcement and fire fighters, visits from political figures and a host of resource providers. BGE representatives enjoyed talking with customers one-on-one about low cost and no cost ways of saving energy, providing information on Energy Assistance, Energy Choice, Smart Energy Rewards and our Smart Energy Savers Program including the Quick Home Energy Check-Up, Home Performance with Energy Star and Peak Rewards. Many customers seized the opportunity to sign up for programs on-site.
Since the beginning of the year, BGE has participated in nearly 125 community events, presentations and educational activities throughout our vast service territory. Company employees also volunteer numerous hours in the communities where we live, work and play.
Christie D. McMullen, Vice President, Gas Distribution
This past July, 2,000 excited and energetic campers experienced BGE’s first Captain Mercaptan Action Day at all of The Y in Central Maryland summer camp locations!
We introduced Captain Mercaptan
(our natural gas safety hero), to educate children about natural gas safety through a series of six fun-filled activities throughout the day. Two of my favorite Captain Mercaptan Action Day activities were the Ready, Set, Gas Race and
the Good Smell vs. Bad Smell Challenge.
The race had campers learning the signs of how to detect a natural gas leak and what actions to take to keep their friends and family safe. As you can see in the event video
, there is no doubt that the campers were enjoying themselves! The challenge, reinforced the smell of “mercaptan”, the safety additive BGE and other gas utilities put in natural gas to give it a rotten egg odor and make it easier to detect. In fact, that’s how Captain Mercaptan got his name! Check out some photos on BGE’s Facebook page.
Safety is, and will always be, BGE’s number one priority. That’s why Captain Mercaptan Action Day was the perfect setting to introduce our new “IRON MAN featuring Captain Mercaptan, in A Natural Team” comic book
to campers. Now, the importance of energy safety can reach children in a fun and creative way.
Special thanks to The Y in Central Maryland and their campers, who have now become gas safety heroes too, for making Captain Mercaptan Action Day a success. We look forward to continually presenting energy safety lessons that are easy, effective and fun to our community. For more information on Captain Mercaptan and BGE’s natural gas safety education initiatives, visit BGE.COM/CaptainMercaptan
Bob Oberle, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
Whether we are turning off lights and other appliances when not in use, keeping thermostats at moderate settings (68 degrees for heating, 78 degrees for cooling), using ceiling fans in place of air conditioning, switching to CFLs, or reducing our hot water usage, we all do what we can to save energy and reduce the cost of our utility bills. But considering that heating and cooling can account for up to 50% of our energy usage, it’s always best to concentrate our efforts on our home comfort systems first. We can’t control the outside temperatures, but if we can identify where our home is losing energy, we can develop a plan to reduce the running time of our heating and cooling systems, while still maintaining a comfortable house. Just a few things to consider:
For other tips, visit our "Ways to Save" and if you haven’t done so already, consider signing up for our Quick Home Energy Check-Up. An energy efficiency professional will conduct a one hour walk-through of your home, and check the condition of its insulation, heating and air cooling system, lighting, appliances and more to identify simple ways to help you save energy and money. Plus they will install up to 23 energy savings items at no additional cost to you.
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