The person who says it cannot be done 
should not interrupt the person doing it.
--Chinese proverb
MAY 2017
In This Issue
Top Volunteers Recognized at Awards Gala
MSA honorees
Congratulations to the volunteers and community leaders who were recognized for their outstanding service to our county at last week's annual Montgomery Serves Awards ceremony. These deserving individuals and groups represent just a fraction of the many ways Montgomery County residents give their time and talent every day to make our community better for all. Learn more about the honorees here
Comfort Cases
Foster Children Find Dignity & Security With Backpacks to Call Their Own
Comfort Cases
Comfort Cases welcomes volunteers of all ages

Instability can be a way of life for foster children. Often moving from one home to another with nothing but the clothes on their backs--or maybe a trash bag to hold a few personal items--these kids face frequent uncertainty on top of the other challenges that can come with being in foster care. That's why Comfort Cases provides foster children throughout the region with a duffel bag or backpack filled with pajamas, a soft blanket, toiletries, a stuffed animal, and more that youth can keep and call their own. Having a comfort case allows them to use their own items to shower, sleep in, and feel secure regardless of where they are. Plus, the case itself can be used to carry personal items that have personal meaning.

Comfort Cases' work on behalf of kids in need is carried out almost entirely by volunteers, who do everything from sorting and organizing inventory to making deliveries to partner social service agencies. Comfort Cases welcomes individuals as well as families, businesses, community organizations, and youth groups to volunteer at its centers in Rockville and Silver Spring. In addition, small groups can host packing parties to assemble comfort cases from start to finish.

Packing activities are appropriate for volunteers of all ages, and are especially popular with mixed-age volunteer groups. Describing the multi-generational packing party held at his synagogue as "fun for everyone," v olunteer David Fishback adds that  it also " gave our children the opportunity to help other children for whom life has presented challenges. It is important for adults to not only talk to their children about our shared community responsibilities, but to engage in social action projects with them. Comfort Cases provides an opportunity for this type of family engagement."

Comfort Cases is currently undergoing a national expansion, and is therefore looking for additional volunteers to help with day-to-day tasks like responding to email inquiries and managing social media accounts. The organization is also looking for regular volunteers who are interested in being packing party ambassadors, who coordinate with interested groups, oversee packing parties at the center, and provide guidance to supporters who wish to hold packing parties off-site. In addition, Comfort Cases is in need of additional shift supervisors to oversee volunteers at its local centers. Finally, the organization is seeking adult drivers with good driving records to make deliveries to social service agencies throughout the region during the work week. This is a great opportunity for retirees who are looking for regular volunteer engagement!

To learn more about volunteering with Comfort Cases, email Jane Phillips, volunteer coordinator. Or visit the Comfort Cases website for more details. 
Volunteer Fun at Festivals, Fairs, and Fundraisers
balloonsTake one look at the Volunteer Center calendar and it's clear it's event season in our area. Throughout May and into June and July, many nonprofits and government agencies are presenting large-scale open houses, fundraisers, and the like, and need volunteers to help manage these events.

Here is a compilation of some of these upcoming festivities and their volunteer needs, which typically encompass setting up, cleaning up, greeting visitors, and running activities. Many are pre-approved for MCPS student service learning hours. Click on those events of interest for a complete description of volunteer needs, SSL status, and details on how to sign up.

Weekend of May 6-7
Montgomery County GreenFest, a celebration of the environment: Saturday, 8 am-5 pm, Rockville
Move More Montgomery Festival, part of a county health and wellness initiative: Saturday, 8 am-5 pm, Rockville
Yellow Balloon Fair,  nursery school fun fair: Saturday, 8 am-5 pm, Rockville
Race for Hope, 5K run/walk to benefit brain tumor research: Sunday, 6:30 am-12 noon, DC

Weekend of May 13-14
Heart's Delight, wine tasting and auction fundraiser for the American Heart Association: Saturday, 6 pm-12 midnight, DC
5K to Make a Kid's Day, Mother's Day walk/run fundraiser for programs to improve quality of life for hospitalized children: Sunday, 7 am-12 noon, Bethesda

Weekend of May 19-22
Relay for Life, American Cancer Society fundraiser: Friday, 9 am-11:30 pm; Saturday, 12 midnight-11:30 pm; and Sunday, 5-8 am; Clarksburg
Olney Days, parade, fair, concert, bike ride, golf tournament, and other events celebrating the greater Olney community: Saturday, 6 am-9 pm; Sunday, 12 noon-9:30 pm; Monday, 9 am-9 pm
Celebrate Takoma!, festival highlighting the cultural diversity of Takoma Park: Saturday, 1-8 pm
Gaithersburg Book Festival: Saturday, 9:30 am-6 pm
Walk to Cure Arthritis: Saturday, 6:30-11:30 am, DC

Weekend of May 27-29
Kennedy Center Open House, featuring performances, activities, and events for all ages: Saturday, 10:30 am-9 pm, DC
Mindful Memorial Day, meditation/mindfulness event honoring fallen warriors: Saturday, 8 am-5 pm, Arlington
Superhero Sprint & 6K, fundraiser for childhood brain tumor research: Sunday, 6:30 am-10:30 pm, Bethesda
Jeremy's Run, race for the prevention of substance abuse: Monday, 7-10:30 am, Olney

Weekend of June 2-4
Relay for Life, American Cancer Society fundraiser: Friday, hours to be announced; Saturday, 11 am-12 midnight; and Sunday, hours to be announced; Rockville
Jazz n' Families Fun Days, music and arts activities for all ages, Saturday, 8 am-7 pm; Sunday, 8 am-7 pm; DC
Summer Reading Kick-Off, Father's Day projects and activities to get kids excited about reading: Saturday, 10 am-4 pm, Bethesda

Weekend of June 10-11
Lawyers Have Heart, American Heart Association 10K race, 5K run, and walk: Saturday, 5 am-11 am, DC

Weekend of June 16-18
DC Jazz Festival, citywide jazz performances, including three-day JazzFest at Nationals Park: Friday, 12 noon-10:30 pm; Saturday, 12 noon-10:30 pm; Sunday, 12 noon-11 pm; DC
Summer Reading Kickoff, event to distribute 22,000 free books: Saturday, 8 am-5 pm, Wheaton 

... and beyond!
Smithsonian Folklife Festival, 50th annual event explores specific facets of American culture: June 29-July 9, 10 am-6 pm, DC
Take Your Pick of Ways to Get Involved 
In addition to the many festivals and other events linked above, there are many other ways to help our community in May and beyond. Here are just a few of the hundreds of 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 by keyword, location, organization, or more. 
SSL Icon
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 Bicycle Donation Assistants: Saturday, May 6, 2-4 pm, Rockville. Prep donated bikes for shipping overseas through Bikes for the World. Training provided; no bike experience necessary. Email Yvette Hess or call 703-740-7856.

Hospice Volunteers (training opportunity): Tuesday, May 9, 9:30 am-4 pm, Gaithersburg. Learn skills to enable you to become a hospice caregiver or bereavement counselor for Hospice Caring. Flexible hours for volunteers. Minimum age: 21. Email Catherine Stahl or call 301-869-4673.

SSL Icon Food Donation Sorters: Saturday, May 13, 4:30-8:30 pm, Kensington. Assist Mid-County United Ministries with sorting, packing, and storing in its food pantry thousands of pounds of nonperishable food collected through local postal carriers' work with Stamp out Hunger. Email Larry White or call 301-929-8675.

SSL Icon Environmental Stewards: Saturdays, May 20 and June 17, 10 am-1 pm, Bethesda. Remove invasive species, pick up trash, and/or help maintain trails at Locust Grove Nature Center or Cabin John Park. Sponsored by Montgomery Parks. Minimum age: 14, or accompanied by a parent. Email Lynn Vismara, call 301-494-2504, or sign up online.

SSL Icon Memorial Day Flag Volunteers: Saturdays, May 27 and June 3, 10-12 noon, Beallsville. Place flags on the graves of veterans buried at Monocacy Cemetery from every era as far back as the Revolutionary War, and/or, on the June date, collect the flags. Email Anne Allnut or call 301-649-2454.

Cleanup Crew: Saturday, June 3, 8:30-10 am, Takoma Park. Remove trash and recyclables along New Hampshire Avenue sidewalks. Gloves, bags, neon vests, and refreshments provided. Sponsored by Takoma/Langley Crossroads Development Authority. Ages 7 and up welcome. Email Melanie Isis or call 301-445-7910.

Summer Meal Site Volunteers: Serve lunch at Share Our Strength's summer meal site in Silver Spring, which provides meals five days a week, May 30-Aug. 31, for children who normally rely on food from school programs to keep them nourished. Volunteers who can also demonstrate or teach an art, music, reading, or other skill preferred. Email Tiffany Haynes or call 410-456-6778.

Summer Host Families: Welcome a recently resettled refugee teen from Syria into your home while he or she participates in RefAmerica's cross-cultural leadership program with Montgomery County high school students, June 30-July 31. (Information for local students interested in participating available here.) Households with school- or college-aged students preferred. Background check and home visit required. Email Liane Dorsey or call 202-320-1014.

SSL Icon Furniture Donations Volunteers: Organize incoming donations, help load clients' vehicles, restock showroom, and/or pick up donations for A Wider Circle's Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, which provides furnishings and more to families moving out of shelters and into homes. Shifts available seven days per week in Silver Spring. Email Kaitlynn O'Leary.

Museum Assistants: Promote, explain, and defend the First Amendment by conducting tours of the Newseum in DC, greeting visitors, and/or working behind the scenes in the museum's administrative offices. Volunteers eligible for discounts and other benefits. Training and unrestricted work authorization status required. Minimum age: 16. Email Anna Frueh or call 202-292-6368.
Salute Senior Volunteers This Month
RSVP logo
May 15-19 is Senior Corps Week--a time to celebrate the many volunteer efforts of community members age 55-plus, as well as RSVP (the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program), which helps to match seniors with meaningful service opportunities and is housed locally at the Montgomery County Volunteer Center. 

Learn more about our RSVP volunteers and RSVP volunteer programs in this "Did You Know" video produced by the county. Or check out this list of RSVP partner organizations.
Governor's Awards Recognize Service
The Maryland Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Governor's Service Awards, which recognize residents for their volunteer contributions to the state and its people. Nominations must be submitted online by Friday, June 2.

There are 16 award categories, including lifetime achievement, youth service, emerging leader, individual service, member of the board, and nonprofit volunteer program. Service must have been performed outside the context of the nominee's paid employment and those who have received a Governor's Service Award since 2011 are ineligible. Learn more here.
Watch the Ways to Make a Difference
Make a Difference , a monthly County Cable Montgomery program, highlights the contributions of stellar county volunteers and organizations that contribute positively to our community. Watch it online here .
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