-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In This Issue
MLK 2018 food project
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Celebrate MLK Day by Serving Our Community 
Some federal holidays seem to be all about sales at the mall. But one holiday--Martin Luther King Jr. Day--is all about serving the community. That's our kind of observance!

On Monday, Jan. 21, join thousands of other area residents in celebrating Dr. King's life and teachings by taking part in the Montgomery County Volunteer Center's annual MLK Day of Service event  at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center, 1-3 pm. Participants will have the chance to help with  a wide range of family-friendly service projects-- everything from packaging personal care items for homeless shelters to making mental health kits for local students. Plus, representatives from dozens of nonprofits and government agencies will be on hand for a volunteer fair, providing information on ways to get involved with various causes throughout the year. Advance registration is required and space is limited.

There will be additional multi-project service events coordinated by partner agencies that day in Gaithersburg (9-11 am), Silver Spring (10 am-12 noon), Rockville (10 am-12 noon), Olney (11 am-2 pm), and Germantown (1-3 pm). These sites all also require advance signup, and sites are filling up quickly. (If you find that your preferred location is full, be sure to check back frequently in case other volunteers change their registration, creating additional spaces.)

Looking for more ways to serve on MLK Day? Check out the January volunteer calendar for other opportunities to volunteer on Jan. 21 and throughout the long weekend.
Be a Mentor, Change a Life
(It Might Even Be Your Own!)
January is National Mentoring Month, a time to call attention to the many positives that come from mentoring and to explore some of the ways to get involved. 

According to MENTOR, The National Mentoring Partnership, the benefits of mentoring are numerous and wide-ranging. For instance, at-risk youth with a mentor are 52 percent less likely to skip a day of school than their peers, 46 percent less likely to start using drugs, and 81 percent more likely to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities. F or those who volunteer as mentors, building a meaningful relationship with someone who needs it can be equally impactful. Some even call it life-changing. 

Ready to volunteer as a mentor? There are dozens of ways to do so in our area. T he greatest need is for adults to mentor children, teens, or young adults. These include opportunities with 
  • Mentor Prize, which places volunteers with local mentoring programs that serve a wide range of constituents--from homeless kids to first-generation college students
  • RICA (the John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children & Adolescents), which pairs mentors with students with emotional disabilities at its Rockville location, and 
  • YMCA Youth & Family Services, which relies on volunteers to serve as positive role models for kids in foster care or other out-of-home care.
Young people can also get involved as mentors to their peers or younger students. Among these, 
  • the City of Rockville recruits volunteers age 16 and up to develop a one-on-one relationship with elementary school students,
  • the Tacy Foundation matches middle and high school students who study music with disadvantaged elementary school students who want to learn music, and
  • Montgomery Cheetahs pairs volunteers who are at least age 13 with special needs children, youth, and adults, who bond while playing hockey together.
In addition, several local organizations recruit volunteers to mentor adults and families with specific needs. For instance, 
  • Operation Second Chance volunteers support and guide veterans who are transitioning out of the military, 
  • Interfaith Works mentors serve as "friends in action" for at-risk families, and 
  • volunteers with Empowered Women International provide guidance, support, and encouragement to women who are working to lift themselves from poverty by launching micro-businesses.
To find even more ways to become a mentor, search the Volunteer Center website for the  keyword "mentor"  or, for a slightly broader focus, check out opportunities related to  Education/Mentoring interests
Resolve to Volunteer This Month!
Get 2019 off to a great beginning by volunteering for one or more of the many opportunities available in our area. Find some of the hundreds of volunteer positions listed on the Volunteer Center website below. Check our calendar for more date-specific opportunities or use the search box at the top of this email or the top of our home page to search for more ways to serve. 
SSL preapproved
These opportunities meet the guidelines 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.

MCPS SSL BASKETBALL PEER BUDDIES: Tuesdays, Jan. 8 through Feb. 12, 3:30-4:30 pm, Kensington. (Additional opportunities available Wednesday afternoons in Silver Spring.) Encourage children with special needs and help them participate in the Open Door Sports after-school basketball program at Rockview Elementary School. Volunteers should be middle or high school students and can serve one time or many. Basketball experience not required. Email Sarah Albus or call 240-461-5559.

FOOD DISTRIBUTORS: Saturday, Jan. 12, 3-4 pm, DC. Hand out sandwiches and other goodies collected by NEST4US for homeless persons in Franklin Square Park. Volunteers also needed to provide a variety of food items. Open to all ages. Email Shreyaa Venkat, call 703-839-2953, or sign up online

MCPS SSLSPECIAL EVENT ASSISTANTS: Friday, Jan. 18, 9:45 am-12:30 pm; Monday, Jan. 28, 4:45-7:30 pm; and/or Thursday, Jan. 31, 4:30-7:30 pm, Gaithersburg. Set up, serve food, assist with children's activities, and clean up for special programs Family Services Inc. hosts for families in its Early Head Start program. Minimum age: 16. Email Mary Murphy or call 301-840-3183. 

MCPS SSL MLK DAY OF SERVICE PARTICIPANTS: Monday, Jan. 21, 9-11 am in Gaithersburg, 10 am-12 noon in Silver Spring and Rockville, 11 am-2 pm in Olney, and 1-3 pm in North Bethesda and Germantown. Work on your choice of hands-on projects designated for a wide range of organizations serving the community. At the North Bethesda location, also learn more about ways to help nonprofits at a large volunteer fair. Coordinated by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center. Registration is required. Email service days coordinators or call 240-777-2600.

HOMELESS COUNT VOLUNTEERS: Wednesday, Jan. 23, 9 pm-2 am, upcounty locations. Canvass the community in groups of two or three volunteers to connect with and count sheltered and unsheltered homeless neighbors during the county's Point in Time Homeless Count. This activity is coordinated by EveryMind and helps government agencies determine the level of services needed to serve those experiencing homelessness. Dinner and training provided. Minimum age: 18. Email Betsy Bowman, call 301-424-0656, or sign up online.

MCPS SSL HISTORIC SITE TOUR GUIDES: Help bring history to life for visitors to one of Montgomery Parks's historic sites, including Oakley Cabin African American Museum in Olney, Josiah Henson Park in North Bethesda, Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park in Sandy Spring, Kingsley Schoolhouse in Clarksburg, and the Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood. Training provided. Minimum age: 14. Learn more at a special volunteer fair on Saturday, Jan. 19, in Olney. Email Lynn Vismara or call 301-495-2504.

MCPS SSL SPORTS VOLUNTEERS: Serve as an assistant coach, photographer, videographer, event coordinator, or other volunteer position for Damascus Sports Association, which offers a range of weekday evening sports programs for elementary and middle school students. Volunteers should be between the ages of 13 and 18. Email Cassie Cooley or call 301-758-6453.

DONATION PICKUP CREW MEMBERS: Volunteer with A Wider Circle's Truck Team, helping to pick up furniture and household items throughout the region for families in need. Volunteers must be at least age 18, able to carry half a sleeper sofa, and committed to completing a full day of volunteering (9 am-5:30 pm). Email Rachael Buck or call 301-608-3504.

MCPS SSL HOMELESS HOSPITALITY ASSISTANTS: Greet visitors and provide them with a warm meal and comfortable place to relax during Saint Luke Lutheran Church's Sunday afternoon hospitality program serving homeless and lonely individuals in Silver Spring. Volunteers work in small groups and those under age 17 must have an adult in their group. Email Ruth Manchester.

MCPS SSL DRAMA PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS: Help adults with disabilities participate in drama and social skills classes run by ArtStream Inc. Assignments available onstage and behind the scenes at locations in Gaithersburg, Germantown, Rockville, and Silver Spring. Minimum age: 13. Volunteers must commit to serving during at least one event per month for a minimum of three months. Email Abby Madden or call 301-565-4567.
Nominate Volunteers for Montgomery Serves Awards
Nominations are now open for the 2019 Montgomery Serves Awards, our county's highest honor for volunteer service. This prestigious annual awards program recognizes volunteer efforts during the previous calendar year (or, for the Neal Potter Award, during the nominee's lifetime) in the following categories:
  • Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award, for lifetime service by residents age 60 and up
  • Volunteer of the Year Award, for extraordinary volunteerism by an individual 
  • Youth Volunteer of the Year Award, for remarkable volunteers age 18 and younger 
  • Volunteer Group of the Year Award, for a group's noteworthy volunteer efforts
  • Business Volunteer of the Year Award, for outstanding community service by a business
Nomination forms are now available online and are due on Friday, Feb. 22.
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. This month's program highlights Montgomery County's MLK Day of Service, coming up Monday, Jan. 21. Watch it online here beginning in early January.
Follow Us on Social Media and Get the Latest!
Learn about new and last-minute service opportunities, volunteer news, and information to inspire on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center Facebook page. If you haven't already done so, Like us to get the latest information in your Facebook feed. 

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