Montgomery Serves Awards logo
Join Us for Virtual Awards Event, Premiering Oct. 15
Celebrate County's Top Volunteers
The 2020 Montgomery Serves Awards, our county's highest honor for service and volunteerism, will be presented at a virtual ceremony premiering online on Thursday, Oct. 15, 6 pm, and viewable at that link anytime following the premiere.

This year’s Montgomery Serves Awards winners will be recognized in the following categories.

The Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Awards, honoring community leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to Montgomery County over the course of their lives, will be presented by County Executive Marc Elrich to:
  • Winston Anderson, whose work as a scientist, activist, and founder of the Sandy Spring Slave Museum and African Art Gallery has played a vital role in expanding cross-cultural communication and diversity in education, historical expression, the arts, and the humanities,
  • Jenny Sue Dunner, who has championed the causes of neighborhood communities, built relationships between government entities and the residents they serve, and led bipartisan efforts designed to improve the representation of county residents, and
  • Anita Neal Powell, the founding president and CEO of the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation and the Leroy E. Neal African American Research Center, who has helped preserve and share the rich cultural heritage of historically Black communities in Montgomery County and other areas in Maryland.

The Neal Potter Path of Achievement Awards, for lifetime volunteer service by those age 60 and up, will go to:
  • Robert Marques, a devoted volunteer with the Montgomery County Community Emergency Response Team and the Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department, who has served on the CERT Go-Team, performed community outreach, instructed classes, worked with teens, and more, and
  • Wolfgang Mergner, a long-time community activist who developed the Village of Takoma Park, an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to provide an array of intergenerational support services to seniors and persons with disabilities who wish to live actively in the community.

The Volunteer of the Year Awards, recognizing outstanding volunteer service performed during the previous calendar year in four categories, will go to:
  • Volunteer of the Year John Frizzell, president of Rockville Meals on Wheels, who volunteered more than 1,000 hours to the organization in 2019, providing the leadership skills, technical know-how, and dedication needed to achieve its mission of providing meals to Rockville community members in need,
  • Youth Volunteer of the Year Nick Casertano, a junior at St. Anselm’s Abbey School in Washington, DC, who developed and led an outreach program for the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, giving children an opportunity to use their imaginations while building STEM skills,
  • Volunteer Group of the Year Montgomery County Students for Change, whose 15 chapters at public and private high schools throughout the county provide local youth with an opportunity to tackle some of the most challenging issues of their generation, including gun violence prevention, climate reform, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, and
  • Business Volunteer of the Year GEICO, whose partnership with Shepherd’s Table—a local nonprofit that serves those experiencing homelessness (and other residents in need)—includes reliable monthly meal services, passionate volunteer support for events, and pro bono assistance with special projects. 

The Volunteer Center organizes these annual awards in partnership with the Fund for Montgomery. The 2020 awards were originally scheduled to be presented at a gala ceremony at Imagination Stage in April, but were postponed and moved to a virtual platform due to the pandemic. Andrea Roane, retired long-time local news anchor, has served as the event's master of ceremonies for many years running and hosts the 2020 virtual presentation.
Help Fill Food Needs in Our Community
Throughout Montgomery County, families and individuals continue to struggle with securing food during this health and economic emergency. Want to help serve these needs as a volunteer or donor? You'll find a variety of food assistance needs posted on the Volunteer Center website, including opportunities to help prepare and distribute food as well as to donate food and other essential items.

For additional ideas on ways to help get food to those who need it during this pandemic, check out some of the grassroots neighborhood organizations that have been involved in the volunteer response to COVID-19. And if you are with a restaurant, caterer, or other organization with large quantities of food or other supplies to donate, complete the Food Security Task Force donation form to get these items to those in need.

DMV FOOD RECOVERY WEEK On a related note, with the pandemic reinforcing the need for a more resilient food system, Community Food Rescue (a program of Manna Food Center) and the DC Food Recovery Workgroup are presenting a week of (mostly virtual) events aimed at sharing ways to reduce food waste and increase food security. DMV Food Recovery Week, running Oct. 12-17, features everything from cooking classes to an in-depth look at food rescue organizations. All events are free, but registration is required.
Volunteer Like It's Earth Day Every Day
Earth Day marked its 50th anniversary in April, a milestone that was overshadowed by the pandemic--which also severely restricted Earth Day volunteer projects during the stay-at-home order that month. While service activities are still limited, there are lots of opportunities to do something on behalf of our planet's needs this fall.

You'll find a variety of organized ways to volunteer for park and stream cleanups and other environment-oriented activities by using the Environmental interest filter on the Volunteer Center website. You can also use the website's Outdoor filter to search for volunteer opportunities that take place outside.

If you're up for directing your own environmental project, visit My Green Montgomery for ideas and instructions on activities you can take on to save energy, reduce waste, and improve our water.

Another idea: Sign up with Tree Montgomery to request free shade trees (including installation) through the county; well-placed shade trees offer a number of environmental and economic benefits, including improving air quality and reducing home energy needs. (There is currently a year-long wait list for the program, but if you apply now, you should be in position for next year's planting season.)
Find New Ways to Serve This Fall
Here are just a few of the hundreds of volunteer positions that local nonprofits and government agencies are currently recruiting for. Use the search box at the top of this email or on any page of the Volunteer Center website to search for more ways to serve.
SSL preapproved
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.
FRIENDLY VISITORS: Visit with an isolated or lonely older adult once a week to share stories, play board games, read, watch the news, and/or participate in other social activities. Volunteers must be at least age 21 and are matched with a client of EveryMind based on geography and interests. The organization is also seeking Representative Payee volunteers to work with clients to be sure their monthly bills are paid. Training and orientation provided (currently virtually). Email Rameela Tuladhar or call 301-424-0656 x541.
SSL preapproved
DRIVE-IN MOVIE VOLUNTEERS: Help manage special drive-in movie nights and drive-through trick-or-treating events that serve as fundraisers for the National Initiative for Cockayne Syndrome. Volunteers will help with setup, food delivery, and cleanup of events, which are designed to meet strict social distance guidelines. Email info@dcpartybox.com or call 240-338-0605.
EMPLOYMENT MENTORS: Assist low-income individuals age 55 and up with job skill development. The Senior Community Service Employment Program operated by the Jewish Council for the Aging seeks adult volunteers to assist with virtual activities such as practicing phone skills, assisting with online job searches, and GED tutoring. Those with backgrounds in human resources, writing, and hiring experience especially needed. Email Cathy Nestoriak or call 301-255-4249.
SSL preapproved
NONPROFIT RETAIL STORE CLERKS: Greet customers, organize merchandise, keep the store neat, and assist with other tasks at Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland's ReStores in Rockville and Silver Spring, which sell household goods and furniture at deep discounts. Minimum age: 14. Sign up online, email Sandra Limjuco, or call 301-990-0014 x18.
AmeriCorps Brand Expands
The Corporation for National & Community Service--the federal agency tasked with elevating service and volunteerism in the United States--is now known simply as AmeriCorps (which was previously the moniker for one of the service programs overseen by the agency).

The expanded AmeriCorps brand now encompasses AmeriCorps Seniors, previously known as Senior Corps, one of the largest volunteer networks in the country for people age 55 and up, and overseen locally through the Montgomery County Volunteer Center. In addition, the expanded AmeriCorps structure covers all of the AmeriCorps service work programs that are often referred to as the domestic Peace Corps, including AmeriCorps state and national programs, AmeriCorps VISTA, FEMA Corps, and the National Civilian Community Corps.
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.
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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.

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