It's Earth Month
Volunteer for the Environment!
It's Earth Month, the perfect time to focus on our planet's needs by participating in some of the park and stream cleanups or other environment-related volunteer activities taking place throughout our area this month.

The broadest of these efforts is the Alice Ferguson Foundation's 33rd annual Potomac River watershed cleanup, which counts on thousands of volunteers to pick up litter at parks and streams across the DC metro area throughout April (and especially on Saturday, April 10). You can even arrange to lead a cleanup at your own favorite park through this project. Find a cleanup and learn more here.

Other Earth Month volunteer activities include:
  • Participating in the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection's "Plogging" Challenge, which asks residents to pick up trash while out jogging or walking in their own neighborhoods
  • Removing litter from Montgomery Parks sites on designated weekdays and weekends, or leading your own cleanup
  • Creating wildlife habitats, restoring a slave cemetery, or assisting with a variety of farm tasks at Button Farm Living History Center in Germantown

Find more environmental volunteer activities--in April and all year--by using the Volunteer Center website's search filter to show opportunities for those interested in the environment.
Empowered Women International
Guiding Local Women in Business and Life Skills
empowered women international
EWI students and mentors attend a training session together during a pre-COVID gathering
Empowered Women International (EWI), a program of the Latino Economic Development Center, creates social empowerment and economic opportunities for immigrant, refugee, low-income, and other at-risk women in the DC metropolitan area. EWI serves more than 450 women a year, providing training programs and holistic support services aimed at advancing each woman’s economic mobility and personal growth. In return, each EWI graduate pays it forward through her own business networking, community engagement, and volunteer work, impacting the lives of others in the community and around the world.

Volunteers are vital to the success of EWI’s programs, providing guidance, support, and encouragement to clients through a variety positions with varying levels of commitment. The greatest need is for female entrepreneurs and professionals to act as mentors to women enrolled in EWI’s entrepreneur/micro-business training program, a three-month course (currently held online) in business, workforce, life, and leadership skills.

EWI is also recruiting English- and Spanish-speaking volunteers to serve as guest speakers, business pitch judges, and business coaches, among other roles. In addition, college students interested in a career in women empowerment or the nonprofit sector can apply to be volunteer interns.

Not only do volunteers contribute to EWI’s mission to empower women through entrepreneurship, but they also expand their own professional network by being a part of the organization’s growing community. As volunteer mentor Wilmarie Hernandez notes, serving EWI “is a great opportunity to enhance leadership skills and meet incredible women doing incredible things!”

Learn more on the EWI website or complete the volunteer application if you’re ready to get involved. Questions? Email Alexandra Boycheck.
Volunteers Needed at Vaccine Preregistration Events
Help get our county vaccinated! Montgomery County needs volunteer Community Ambassadors to provide in-person outreach at county-supported events (such as food distributions) in communities where COVID-19 rates are high, vaccination rates are low, and barriers to receiving the vaccine are significant.

Volunteers may assist with a variety of tasks, including distributing vaccine flyers, managing information tables, distributing COVID care kits, and offering assistance with preregistering for a vaccine appointment with the county. Ability to communicate in Spanish, French, Vietnamese, ASL, or other languages is extremely valuable. Volunteers follow COVID-safe precautions, including maintaining social distance, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and relying on posters with large QR codes to point residents to online resources.

To get started as a community ambassador, sign up for one of the required online information sessions (scroll toward the bottom of the opportunity description to find links for available dates and times). After you've attended an info session, you'll be able to register for specific community ambassador needs.
Commit to Helping Our Community!
Here are just a few of the hundreds of volunteer needs listed on the Volunteer Center website. To find more ways to serve, use the red search box at the top of this email or visit our All Opportunities page and select one or more search filters (hidden under the wrench symbol when viewing on a mobile device) to narrow the results.
FOOD DISTRIBUTION VOLUNTEERS: Pack bags of food, direct traffic, load cars, deliver food and/or assist with other tasks at Interfaith Works' food distribution site in Rockville on Fridays, 10 am-1 pm. Sign up online or email hubcoordinator@iworksmc.org.
VIRTUAL TUTORS: Provide academic guidance to K-12 students served through Sheppard Pratt's School and Community Youth Services program. Volunteers work remotely one-on-one with students on school assignments and subject reinforcement during after-school hours for one to five hours weekly. Minimum age: 15. Email Jill McDowell or call 301-840-9621.
SPANISH-SPEAKING COMPUTER INSTRUCTORS: Teach or co-teach a basic computer skills class (held online) in Spanish for the Charles W. Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center. Classes typically serve 8 to 12 adult students who are eager to learn the fundamentals of Windows, Microsoft Word, internet use, and sending/receiving emails. Curriculum, teaching materials, and ongoing support available for volunteers. Minimum age: 18. Apply online or email Josephine Garnem.
SEASONAL FARM INTERN: Learn about organic farming while working alongside team members of all abilities to grow and harvest vegetables at Red Wiggler Community Farm in Germantown. Interns must commit to serving weekdays for 10 weeks between April and November and get hands-on experience with care farming and disability services. Email Becca Roe or call 301-916-2216.
PERSONAL HISTORY RECORDERS: Help create personal histories for members of the Villages of Kensington. Volunteers remotely interview elderly individuals about their lives and use that information to write a story about each individual's life, incorporating details about things like his/her childhood, family, work, hobbies, and interests. Volunteers should be between the ages of 13 and 18. Email Michael Landa or call 301-509-0191.
BIRTHDAY PARTY ORGANIZERS: Bake a cake (or other treat) and provide some ice cream and fresh fruit for residents at a women's shelter to celebrate their birthdays. Volunteers can also create uplifting cards to be part of the celebration. Sponsored by KindWorks, which coordinates monthly birthday parties at shelters in Rockville and Silver Spring and provides the nonperishable goods. Sign up online, email Debra Lang, or call 301-246-2452.
Opportunities marked with the graduation cap icon meet the MCPS guidelines for 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.
Are you over age 50 and looking for ways to contribute significant time and talent to serving our community?

Our advisors can help you find your best volunteer fit!

COVID Volunteers Eligible for Scholarships
The Laytonsville Lions Club Foundation will award scholarships of up to $5,000 each to two residents of the Laytonsville/Gaithersburg area who have demonstrated exemplary service by volunteering in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Scholarship recipients must attend or have graduated from Damascus or Gaithersburg High School and can use the funds for college or vocational training expenses.

Applications and letters of recommendation are due May 15. Learn more or apply here. Questions? Call 240-813-8444.
State Waives SSL Requirement for 2021 Grads
Because the pandemic has limited opportunities for students to participate in service learning activities such as volunteering, the Maryland State Board of Education has waived the student service learning graduation requirements for Maryland public school students in the class of 2021. Typically, students must earn 75 SSL hours over the course of their middle school and high school years (prorated based on years of attendance).

MCPS students in all grades can find a growing number of SSL opportunities 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 work to better our community. In honor of Earth Month, this month's episode features a look at how volunteers can get involved with projects sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, including hosting a CFL lightbulb exchange event to keep hazardous materials out of the waste stream and participating in the "plogging" challenge.
Celebrate Global Volunteer Month
As a member of the Points of Light Global Network, the Volunteer Center is celebrating Global Volunteer Month, which shines a light on the individuals and organizations that are making a difference and meeting the needs of our community.

Join the celebration! Visit Points of Light's Global Volunteer Month page to find inspiring stories by those who are making a difference all around the world, resources on volunteering from home or safely in-person, DIY projects for families, and more. To learn how to make a difference in our community, visit the Volunteer Center website.
Taking Care While Being a Good Neighbor
As you reach out to help others during the pandemic, please protect yourself and those you are serving by taking the following precautions developed by Montgomery County’s Office of Emergency Management and Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Stay home from all activities when you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms, which may include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
  • Keep away from others who are sick.
  • Limit close physical contact with others as much as possible, keeping at least 6 feet away and using a face covering when that physical distance can't be maintained.
  • Call, email, or text your neighbors who may need help.
  • If they are in need of immediate emergency care, call 911.
  • Limit your help to non-contact activities. For example:
  • Leave groceries on the doorstep. (Do not enter their house.)
  • Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands before touching anything you deliver to them.
  • To promote social interactions and combat loneliness, speak with neighbors on the phone or by video chat (versus going into their homes) on a regular basis.
  • Conduct research on their needs and provide them with resources or connect them directly with help such as feeding, transportation to medical appointments, animal services, etc.
  • Alert authorities if you think that a neighbor is in danger.
  • Do not act on your own.
  • Create an online network for your community.
  • Remember to protect yourself first! Do not put yourself or others at risk.
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 with these activities.

Follow these links to subscribe to our other partner agencies' electronic publications:
Montgomery County Volunteer Center
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