Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. 
In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. 
At all the times you can. To all the people you can. 
As long as you ever can.
 --John Wesley
In This Issue

Calling All Exceptional Volunteers 

Our county abounds with amazing volunteers--and you probably a few of them. Recognize their service by nominating them for the 2017 Montgomery Serves Awards. This prestigious annual awards program, Montgomery County's highest honor for service, commends volunteers in the following categories: 
  • Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award, for lifetime service by residents age 60 and up
  • Youth Achievement Award, for remarkable volunteers age 18 or younger
  • Corporate Award, for outstanding volunteerism by a business
  • Individual Community Service Award, for extraordinary volunteerism by an individual
  • Group Community Service Award, for a group's noteworthy volunteer efforts
Nomination forms and additional details are now available online. Deadline to submit nominations is Friday, Feb. 24, 5 pm.

Award recipients will be honored at a gala ceremony attended by county and state dignitaries Monday, April 24, 6:30 pm, at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. Tickets are available at no charge, but advance registration is required.
Interfaith Works
Helping County Residents Lift Themselves From Poverty
Interfaith Works volunteers
Volunteers from the Church of the Redeemer show off some of the gardening they accomplished at an Interfaith Works emergency shelter

Every day, hundreds of people in crisis in Montgomery County turn to Interfaith Works, a non-sectarian coalition of more than 165 affiliated congregations of diverse faiths plus schools, community groups, and individuals, all working together to meet the needs of the poor and homeless. And Interfaith Works responds, providing a range of services aimed at helping people lift themselves out of poverty--everything from emergency shelter and longer-term supportive housing to clothing, home goods, and job training.

In fact, the nonprofit organization, founded in 1972, now assists more than 16,000 county residents annually. That means making a difference in the life of a schoolchild whose family cannot afford to provide a backpack and school supplies, in the life of a mom who has been laid off from work and worries that she and her family will be evicted from their home, and in the life of a man who has struggled for years living on the streets and worries he won't survive a harsh winter.

In addition to trained, professional staff members who lead the work to help individuals and families in crisis, Interfaith Works relies on the incredible support of thousands of volunteers each year who dedicate their time and provide donations that enable the agency to continue to enhance the lives of those whom they serve. There are numerous opportunities available for volunteers of all age groups (young children, students, professionals, parents, retirees, and so forth) and from all backgrounds, cultures, and careers. Schools and other groups are also welcome.

Currently, the organization's greatest volunteer needs include providing meals at the Interfaith Works Women's Center in Rockville and the Carroll House men's shelter in Silver Spring, sorting and organizing donations at the Interfaith Works Clothing Center in Rockville, and hosting a supplies drive for essentials such as cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, and toiletries for the Interfaith Works Empowerment Center in Silver Spring.

To sign up or learn more about volunteering with Interfaith Works, visit the organization's online volunteer page, email Yvonne Esipila, or call her at 301-315-1097.
Put Your Heart Into Helping
February marks Valentine's Day and American Heath Month. What better time to demonstrate a little love for those in need? Here are just a few of the opportunities listed on the Volunteer Center's website. Check our calendar for more date-specific opportunities and our newest listings for those posted most recently. Or use the red box on our home page or at the top of this email to search for more opportunities. 
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These opportunities are pre-approved to provide MCPS Student Service Learning (SSL) hours--but they're not just for students! Other opportunities may be eligible for SSL hours; visit the MCPS SSL website to learn more.

SSL Icon Science Event Assistants: Saturday, Feb. 11, 8:30 am-4:30 pm, Silver Spring. Help National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration staff with activity and information booths and other guest assistance at the agency's annual open house, which draws about 1,500 visitors. Email Laura Gutierrez or call 301-427-8452.

SSL Icon Indoor Play Day Crews: Sunday, Feb. 12, 12 noon-5 pm, Takoma Park. Set up the city of Takoma Park's annual afternoon of indoor fun for kids, help with activities, and clean up at the end of the event. Email John Webster or call 301-891-7225.

Daddy/Daughter Ball Volunteers: Saturday, Feb. 25, 5-9 pm, Damascus. Assist the Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum with its annual formal event. Minimum age: 14; high school students preferred. Email Kymberli Petronio.

SSL Icon Community Theater Ushers: Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 24-25 and March 3-4, 7 pm; Sunday, Feb. 26. 12:30 pm; and Sunday, March 5, 1 pm, Rockville. Greet patrons, take tickets, hand out programs, and assist older guests into their seats for the Victorian Lyric Opera Company's production of La Perichole. Volunteers get to see the performance for free. Email Amanda Jones.

SSL Icon Homeless Teen Clothing Drive Volunteers: Sunday, Feb. 26, 4-6 pm, Washington. Collect and sort professional clothing for homeless teens involved in the Convenant House Youth Shelter's job training program. Organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington's Young Leadership program. Minimum age: 16.  Register online, email Lauren Kessler, or call 301-230-7292.

Volunteer Mediators: Help local and national consumers resolve their disputes with businesses, service providers, and government agencies. Mediators answer calls and investigate cases from the Rockville offices of Call for Action, a nonprofit network of consumer hotlines. Training provided. A one-year commitment to serving a few hours once a week is preferred. Minimum age: 18. Email Edward Bartholme

Grocery & Meal Packagers: Prepare and package meals and groceries for clients of Food & Friends, which delivers specialized, nutritious food and nutrition counseling for individuals facing cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other life-challenging illnesses. Volunteer shifts are generally scheduled 9 am-12 noon or 1-3 pm in Washington. Groups are welcome; many make this volunteer service a team-building activity. Email Beth Stewart or call 202-269-6878. 

English Teachers: Help senior citizens enhance their English skills at Montgomery County Recreation Seniors Team locations across the county. Experience preferred but not required. Minimum age: 14. Email Jose Segura

Learning Lab Monitors: Support and supervise students in Family Services Inc.'s Keys to Success program, which serves pregnant and parenting high school and college students. Volunteers may be asked to offer homework support and are needed to staff the lab Tuesdays and/or Thursdays, 4-6 pm, in Gaithersburg. Minimum age: 21. Email Mary Murphy or call 301-840-3183.
Volunteer From Home

Just as some businesses now allow their employees to telecommute, several local agencies offer opportunities to "tele-volunteer"! Some of these serve-from-home ideas go to organizations' regular volunteers, but some are up for grabs to new help. Here are a few:

Compile a quarterly newsletter for Holy Cross Home Care and Hospice. Requires familiarity with electronic publishing software. Email Dotti Moorman or call 301-754-7744.

Serve as a Spanish-English translator for Gaithersburg HELP, which assists area residents with basic needs such as food, medicine, transportation to medical and social service appointments, and referrals to other agencies. Home-based translators handle voicemail messages left in Spanish, call clients, and schedule their support via an online system. Other Gaithersburg HELP volunteer-from-home opportunities include food distribution coordinators, grant writers, and IT team members. Email Patricia Bronson.

Assist with donation acquisitions for Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland's ReStore locations in Silver Spring and Rockville. Donation acquisition interns research local businesses, solicit donations, and follow up with donors. Requires excellent communication skills, attention to detail, and basic computer experience. The organization is also seeking a social media intern to regularly post to Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist, YouTube, Flickr, and Habitat's blog. Both positions require some hours in the store as well as volunteering from home. For the Rockville store, email Alena Biagas or call 301-990-0014 x16. For the Silver Spring store, email Heather Bouley or call 301-990-0014 x29.

For more ideas, search our website for the keyword phrase "from home".
Thousands Serve the Community on MLK Day
MLK 2017
More than 5,000 volunteers participated in MLK Day of Service activities throughout Montgomery County last month.   A huge thank you to everyone who made the day off into a day on and honored Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy by serving others. Working together at multi-project sites in North Bethesda, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, and Germantown, as well as individual service locations, our county's volunteers packed food for low-income families, donated blood, assembled toiletries kits for homeless individuals, made dog toys for animal shelters, bundled socks for hospitalized veterans, cleaned up streams, manned food drives, and much more!

Check out photos of some of the volunteer activities here. If you have images to share, email them to us.
Learn What It Takes to Be a Foster Parent

Have you ever thought about one of those ultimate forms of volunteerism--foster parenting? Get details about how foster care works, eligibility requirements, and the application process at an information session sponsored by Montgomery County Foster and Adoptive Parent Services on Thursday, Feb. 9, 6:30-9:30 pm, in Rockville. (Additional information sessions are scheduled for Thursdays, March 9, April 6, and May 11.)

Families are particularly needed to foster children 13 years old and up, teen mothers and their babies, sibling groups, babies and toddlers, and children with complex medical and/or behavior needs.

Learn more on the county Health and Human Services Department's foster parent page, email Dana Leacock, or call 240-777-1664.
In Case of Snow ...

February is typically our region's snowiest month, and thus the time when elderly and disabled residents may need help with shoveling. You can volunteer to help your neighbors or sign up to get help with snow removal on Snowcrew, an online service that matches volunteers and needs through a GPS-based database. 

This grassroots neighbor-helping-neighbor site isn't coordinated by Montgomery County or the Volunteer Center, but the county is encouraging residents to give it a try. The more people that use it, the greater the tool's value!
Nominations Open for Education Service Awards

The Montgomery County Board of Education is now seeking nominees for its Distinguished Service to Public Education awards. This annual awards program recognizes exemplary contributions to public education in Montgomery County.  Up to three awards will be presented in each of the following categories: community individual, community group, business, MCPS staff, school service volunteer, and individual pioneer. 

Completed nomination forms must be submitted by Friday, March 3, 5 pm. Get complete details and nomination forms here.
Subscribe to Our Partner Newsletters

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is part of the Office of Community Partnerships , which works to strengthen the relationship between the Montgomery County government and the residents it serves, with special emphasis on underserved and emerging communities.  Subscribe to the monthly OCP newsletter to keep up these activities. 

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Montgomery County Volunteer Center