HOWARD COUNTY — At 75 years young, Dr. Mildred Lockhart-Boyd has accomplished quite a lot in her life, including three degrees in education, raising two children and now watching five grandchildren grow up.
"My whole life I have worked with children. Young people, teenagers or children," she said.
Dr. Boyd credits her mother for inspiring her passion to help children and her father for her vigorous work ethic.
"I feel like I need to keep going because I feel like that keeps me young," she said. "And it was an example my father set. He use to cut the grass at church until he was 98. He said whatever you believe in, you have to do that."
Dr. Boyd does what she believes in, which is making a difference in the lives of children, through the non-profit Continental Societies Inc. It's a nationwide group that helps underprivileged children. Dr. Boyd is part of the Southeastern Howard-Laurel Maryland chapter and considers the women in the group to be like sisters.
"You find something that you like, and helping others is what I like to do, you’ll keep on doing that. And that gives you new life and keeps you going."
Before COVID-19, Dr. Boyd and her sisters did many events to benefit kids in their community. They hold a career fair called "Passport to Success" to introduce teens to careers in STEM or non-traditional jobs.
They read books to kids for "Read Across the America" and sometimes dress in costume. Dr. Boyd said even her six-year-old grandson wanted to get in on the fun.
"We read one year at the library and my six-year-old [grandson] is learning how to read, and he said I want to read to the kids too! So we let him read," she said.
"It gives you a fun time of seeing the kids coming to life, getting excited about books and reading."
Another favorite activity for Dr. Boyd is outfitting teens in professional attire for job interviews through the Job Corps. and donations from Success in Style.
"It’s one of those instant things where you can see a kid, you bring them in and they look down and out, and you dress them up and all of a sudden they come out and they’re smiling. So it's instant gratification."
No one would blame Dr. Boyd if she wanted to spend her retirement years kicking back and relaxing. But those who know her say it's not in her blood.
"I would describe Dr. Boyd as being one of the most giving, enthusiastic people I know," said her friend Carla.
"What Dr. Boyd taught me is that no matter how old you are, and how well off you are, it’s not about the money. It’s about committing to something and she’s committed to helping children and to helping people. And that’s her whole life."
COVID-19 may have slowed down the activities put on by the Continental Societies Inc. but it hasn't stopped them completely. They are working on events they can do virtually to continue helping children. Dr. Boyd says she and her Continental sisters don't feel complete unless they're making a difference in someone's life.
"And you feel so much better when you do something for somebody else. You make somebody else smile, it just makes you feel good, it makes you feel better," she said.