VOLUNTEER NEWS AND OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE
Nominate Volunteers for County Recognition
Nominations are now open for this year's Montgomery Serves Awards, our county's highest honor for volunteer service. This prestigious annual awards program is coordinated by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center and recognizes volunteer efforts 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 in 2018
  • Youth Volunteer of the Year Award, for remarkable volunteer efforts in 2018 by those age 18 and younger
  • Volunteer Group of the Year Award, for a group's noteworthy volunteer efforts during the last calendar year
  • Business Volunteer of the Year Award, for outstanding community service in 2018 by a business

To nominate deserving volunteers, complete the appropriate online nomination form no later than Thursday, Feb. 28.  
FEATURED VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
Link Generations
Connecting Teens With Seniors
Link Generations volunteer
Link Generations connects middle and high school students with older adults through intergenerational social and educational programs that benefit both populations. Older participants come away with increased social contact, adolescents gain self-esteem, and both achieve a sense of purpose. Plus, these programs combat ageism by improving attitudes towards aging and attitudes towards teens.

The programs start with Link Generations educating its youth volunteers about aging, including the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social changes that occur as people grow older. Through simulation exercises, participants experience what it is like to have reduced vision, hearing, sense of touch, and mobility. 

Teen volunteers then use this knowledge to plan and lead engaging activities with residents in assisted and independent living communities. They design activities around themes that target cognitive stimulation, social interaction, and physical movement, and contribute toward intergenerational conversations that are the basis of programs. At least two adolescents and two older adults participate together to facilitate comfortable group discussions. Students can earn MCPS SSL hours.

Participants of all ages learn new things during Link Generations programs. For example, one older adult who was matched with students who had recently come to the United States from Africa noted, “I have a better view of interracial relations from these conversations.” He suggested a future session focused on exploring participants’ cultural backgrounds, which volunteers then planned. Following this culture session, a older participant remarked, “It’s not just about our different ages. It’s also about sharing experiences from different cultures. That’s how people learn to understand each other. We need that, especially today.”

Visit the Link Generations website to learn more. To find out about volunteering, email Lori Marks or call 301-365-2218.
FEATURED VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
Put Your Heart Into Helping
Make February the month to show your love for volunteering! Here are just a few of the hundreds of volunteer positions listed on the Volunteer Center website. Check our online 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.
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.
HIGHLIGHTS IN FEBRUARY & MARCH
INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL EXCHANGE VOLUNTEERS: Tuesday, Feb. 12, and Thursday, Feb. 28, 3-5 pm, Bethesda. (Additional opportunities available the second Tuesday and fourth Thursday of upcoming months.) Engage in activities and conversation with residents at a senior living center in this project sponsored by the Washington Center for International Education and designed for international students age 16 and up. Email Paul Boesen or call 703-785-4580.
VALENTINE'S DAY LUNCH COOKS & SERVERS: Thursday, Feb. 14, 9:30 am-12 noon and/or 11:45 am-1 pm, Gaithersburg. Help prepare and/or serve a special holiday meal for clients at Montgomery Station, Family Services Inc.'s day center for adults living with chronic mental illness. Volunteers must be at least age 18 and complete a volunteer application. Email Mary Murphy or call 301-840-3183.
BLANKET MAKERS: Thursday, Feb. 28, 10 am-3 pm, and Tuesday, March 26, 10 am-9 pm, Derwood. Drop in during volunteer hours to sew, knit, or crochet afghans and quilts for hospitalized children. Sponsored by the Montgomery County Association for Family & Community Education. Yarn and fabric provided. Minimum age: 13. Email Jeanne Purich or call 301-641-4878.
CONSIGNMENT SALE VOLUNTEERS: Friday, March 22, 4:30-8:30 pm, and Saturday, March 23, 8 am-12 noon or 12 noon- 4 pm, Germantown. Assist with setup, tear down, and other responsibilities at the semi-annual consignment sale organized by the Montgomery County Parents of Multiples. Email Laura Lacy.
ONGOING OPPORTUNITIES
ART GALLERY ASSISTANTS: Support local artists and bring art to the community by helping the Wheaton Arts Parade manage its new gallery at Westfield Wheaton Mall. Volunteers choose two- or three-hour shifts any day of the week. Minimum age: 16. Sign up online, email Dan Thompson, or call 301-949-3727
GOLF COACH/MENTOR: Positively influence the lives of young people while spending time on the golf course. Volunteers with The First Tee of Greater Washington DC help with youth development and mentorship programs at golf courses in Clarksburg, Gaithersburg, Olney, Derwood, and Silver Spring. Minimum age: 16. Training provided; the next training session takes place Saturday, Feb. 23. Email Maggie Farrell or call 202-479-2588.
HOSPITAL GIFT SHOP CLERKS: Assist customers, operate the cash register, price merchandise, and help with other gift shop tasks at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. Volunteers must be at least age 15 and able to commit to serving as few as two hours per week. (Evening and weekend shifts available.) Email Ann November-Moss or call 301-754-7306.
FOOD DISTRIBUTION VOLUNTEERS: Sort and assemble boxes of food for Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg. Volunteers are most needed weekdays, 9 am-7 pm, and can serve regularly or just once in a while. Minimum age: 17 or a senior in high school. Email Katie Sayago or call 301-424-1130.
TRUANCY PREVENTION MENTORS: Work one-on-one with a middle school student with poor attendance records, addressing academic, school, personal, and family-related factors that may be impacting attendance. Volunteers with the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office Truancy Prevention Program serve students at various partner schools across the county, and typically serve two hours, once a week, for 10 weeks. Training provided. Minimum age: 18. Email Wendi Perry or call 240-777-7502.
NEWS & RESOURCES
Thousands Make MLK Holiday a Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
Across Montgomery County, thousands of residents braved a rainy and bitterly cold weekend to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy by volunteering to better our community during the 2019 MLK Day of Service and the weekend leading up to the holiday.

More than 2,100 people participated in the Montgomery County Volunteer Center's multi-project site at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center, where they worked on everything from assembling personal care kits for area shelters to making friendship bracelets for sick kids. An additional 1,800-plus volunteers served at partner sites in Silver Spring, Rockville, Olney, Gaithersburg, and Germantown. (These sites were hosted by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority's Montgomery County alumnae chapter, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority's Eta Pi Zeta chapter, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, the Greater Olney Interfaith Clergy Association, Leadership Montgomery, Seneca Creek Community Church, the City of Gaithersburg, Journey's Crossing, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Xi Sigma Omega chapter). Plus, many hundreds more volunteered for a variety of service activities in Montgomery County throughout the MLK Day weekend. 
In Case of Snow ...
Snow is a beautiful treat for some of us, but it can pose serious difficulties for the elderly and disabled, who may not be able to get out and shovel. If you are able to help your neighbors during the next snowfall, please do! You could make it more fun and social by organizing a group of neighbors to shovel together. Not sure who might need assistance? Start a discussion on your community listserv offering to help. It's volunteering at its simplest and most local!
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 features representatives from the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program, which provides financial assistance to offset educational and training expenses for low-income residents of subsidized rental housing in Montgomery County.
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
240-777-2600
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