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Larry Griffin, Carol Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award

Larry Griffin discovered his purpose and founded We Care and Friends in 1992, after 28 years of drug addiction and two years of homelessness. Once drug-free, Larry began to help addicts in Annapolis’ poorest neighborhoods seek recovery – feeding them a meal, helping them find a rehab facility, and even offering up his home. It wasn’t an easy road but by sharing his journey, Larry has assisted more than 200 people and has achieved 85% recovery success with them, said nominator Trudy McFall, Chair, Homes for America. “Larry is a true hero and legend to so many,” she said.

Nearly 20 years later, We Care and Friends continues to respond to the needs of the community by providing food and shelter, homeless support, mentorship and tutoring, financial education, meals, and youth programs such as its School on the Water – which has served more than 500 children. Since its humble beginnings, We Care and Friends has grown into a multi-staff organization that shares its time to serve as counselors and community supporters. As Larry did so many years ago, they start their work in the streets.

Dennis Conti first met Larry when he and a group of citizens came together to address the increasing crime situation in the Clay Street area of Annapolis. “I was instantly impressed with this man who devoted his adult life to helping those involved in the drug trade move from the streets to recovery,” said Dennis. “The impact of Larry’s efforts is reflected in the large number of individuals who transitioned from a life of drug dependency to self-sufficiency, as well as the hundreds of youths who were given experiences and activities that would not otherwise be available to them.”

In the late 1990's, after beating addiction, Larry survived another obstacle — a diagnosis of mantle-cell lymphoma. Once healthy again, Larry came back to make We Care and Friends an even stronger organization.

Then in 2002, Larry co-founded the Annapolis nonprofit, Box of Rain. In the first few years operating Box of Rain, Larry identified kids from public housing and underserved Annapolis communities who would benefit from learning about the rivers and Bay and enjoy new activities such as sailing and fishing. Through the years, more than 400 local youth participated in Box of Rain. It is now part of the education programs at Annapolis Maritime Museum.

“Larry is one of the most fascinating and courageous people who I have encountered,” said Box of Rain co-founder Anne Harrington. “He deserves recognition for his many years of service to helping people have better lives.”

Larry is also well known for the large free holiday meals he organizes, helps cook and serve. Once a drummer with Mama Jama, a regional reggae band, Larry also knows how to have fun, said Trudy. “He is a talented and active musician bringing joy to many events around the area,” she said. “To know or even just see Larry in passing is to have a moment of sunshine in your life. His wonderful smile, great hugs, warmth, and caring for all is magical.”


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