Montgomery Serves Awards logo
Volunteers Receive Top Honors
Tickets Now Available for Awards Event
Montgomery County has named nine individuals and organizations as recipients of the 2019 Montgomery Serves Awards, our county's highest honor for service and volunteerism. The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony on Monday, April 29, 6:30 pm, at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. The event is free to attend and open to the public, but reservations are required as seating is limited.

This year's Montgomery Serves Awards winners will be recognized in several categories.

The  Neal Potter Path of Achievement Awards, for lifetime volunteer service by those age 60 and up, will go to:
  • Karen Bashir, one of the founders of the Montgomery County Project Prom/Graduation (commonly known as "Post Prom"), who has also volunteered her professional skills as a nurse with the Muslim Community Center, and
  • Jacquette Frazier, in recognition of her years of service to seniors, youth, and people with disabilities at Essex House, the Takoma Park affordable housing community in which she lives.

The Volunteer of the Year Awards, for outstanding volunteer efforts performed in 2018, will be presented in four categories:
  • Volunteer of the Year, Amy Yontef-McGrath, who marked her 50th birthday by participating in 50 diverse service projects and blogged about the experience throughout the year,
  • Youth Volunteer of the Year, Dhruv Pai, a freshman at Montgomery Blair High School who volunteered at Walter Reed National Medical Center, the KID Museum, and Democracy Summer,
  • Volunteer Group of the Year, KindWorks, whose 1,600 volunteers supported 22 nonprofit organizations and government agencies to serve thousands of vulnerable community members, including refugee families and those experiencing homelessness, food insecurity, and incarceration, and
  • Business Volunteer of the Year, Hugo Salon in Kensington, which partnered with Easterseals DC MD VA to provide complimentary salon services to participants in the nonprofit's adult day services on a monthly basis. 

The Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Awards, for community leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to Montgomery County over the course of their lives, will be presented to: 
  • Charlotte Coffield, a lifetime resident of the formerly segregated Lyttonsville community, a leader in the preservation of the history of black people in Montgomery County, and a long-time advocate for performing arts programs for the deaf community,
  • Ike Leggett, who left a large imprint on Montgomery County during the decades he served as a county council member and county executive, successfully navigating the county through the worst economic upheaval of our time while maintaining his commitment to an inclusive and growing community, and
  • David Rodich, former executive director of SEIU Local 500, who has been involved in social justice for more than 40 years, advocating not only for union workers, but also for broader education needs, civil rights, and economic rights. 

The Montgomery Serves Awards are organized by the Volunteer Center, with sponsorship provided by the Fund for Montgomery.
Button Farm Living History Center
A Chance to Work the Farm and Bring Slave History to Life
Button Farm volunteers
The Menare Foundation's Button Farm Living History Center, situated on 40 acres in Germantown, depicts 19th century slave plantation life and the story of the Underground Railroad, bringing history to life by immersing visitors in the tastes, smells, sights and sounds of the 1850s. 

A volunteer base of community friends and supporters makes it all possible. Students, individuals, and corporate and private groups are needed throughout the spring, summer, and fall to serve as general farm help, handling a variety of tasks depending upon their interests and skills (and what needs to be accomplished that day). Volunteers might help plant, cultivate, or harvest 19th century crops. Or perhaps they'll feed and care for the farm's heritage breed chickens, geese, and hogs. Short-term volunteers also help the organization run its open houses and festival events. In addition, the farm hosts Eagle Scout projects and other scouting activities.

Volunteers able to make a longer-term commitment to Button Farm can also serve as docents, historical interpreters, and living history reenactors, providing them a chance to use the farm as an outdoor stage as they guide visitors into the past. For those who prefer working behind the scenes, there are opportunities to dive into Menare's historical archives and to help with professional needs.

This summer, Button Farm is training new recruits to help it launch a public version of its Underground Railroad Immersion Experience, a simulated sensory “journey to freedom” that will take place on the farm. Designed by Menare and used to train Oprah Winfrey for her role in the film Beloved, this program will focus on creative discernment, group collaboration, and confronting inner limitations.

If you enjoy community, history, and the great outdoors, volunteering with Button Farm may be the perfect opportunity for you. To learn more about the farm and how you can get involved, visit the Button Farm website or email Anthony Cohen.
It's Earth Month
Environmental Activities Take Center Stage
Earth Day cleanup
It's Earth Month, a time to focus on our planet's needs and get involved in one of the the many park and stream cleanups or other environment-related volunteer activities taking place in our area this month.

The largest of these efforts is the Alice Ferguson Foundation's 31st annual Potomac River watershed cleanup, which counts on thousands of volunteers to pick up litter at hundreds of parks and streams across the DC metro area throughout April (and especially on Saturday, April 13). 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 planting spring crops at a Spencerville farm that produces vegetables for those in need (Monday, April 22), picking up trash at the Long Branch Community Center in Silver Spring on Saturday, April 13, and removing invasive weeds at various county parks every weekend in April.

Find many 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.
Step Up to the Volunteer Plate This Spring!
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.
ICE CREAM SCOOPERS: Tuesday, April 9, shifts available between 12 noon and 8 pm in Georgetown and the DC Wharf. Hand out free ice cream and information on behalf of the National Foundation for Cancer Research during the annual Ben and Jerry's Free Cone Day. Email Brian Wachtel or call 800-321-2873.
MOCK JOB INTERVIEWERS: Thursday, April 11, 8:30 am-12 noon, Wheaton. Conduct mock interviews with and provide feedback to young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are seeking employment. Sponsored by SEEC. Email Steve Blanks or call 301-576-8000 x 225.
FINANCE FAIR VOLUNTEERS: Saturday, April 13, shifts available 7 am-4 pm, Gaithersburg. Greet visitors, assist exhibitors, and help with activities at the City of Gaithersburg's "Road Map to Success" financial empowerment fair. Minimum age: 15. Complete the volunteer interest form, email Tawana Lofton, or call 240-805-1826.
EGG HUNT ASSISTANTS: Saturday, April 20, 9 am-1 pm, Takoma Park. Help set up, run games, oversee craft activities, and more at the City of Takoma Park's annual outdoor egg hunt. Minimum age: 13. Email Alexis Blackwell or call 301-891-7100.
PARADE & CARNIVAL VOLUNTEERS: Saturday & Sunday, April 27-28, shifts available throughout the weekend, Olney. Assist with a variety of event assignments during Olney Days, including helping with parking control, carnival games, food sales, and parade marshaling. Sponsored by the Olney Civic Fund. Minimum age for most positions: 14. Email Barbara Falcigno or call 301-332-4554.
VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MANAGER: Plan, implement, and support programs and events for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), a part of the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, based in Germantown. Primary focus is on managing the RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Program. Flexible hours. Email Kathleen Stobie or call 301-869-4673.
SUMMER LEARNING PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS: Assist the MCPS Office of Student and Family Support and Engagement with its Title I summer programs at elementary schools across the county. Volunteers must be rising 7th to 12th graders and able to commit to serving every weekday, July 1-Aug. 2. Volunteers should sign up for one location only and will be chosen on a first-come/first-served process based on when their website registration and volunteer applications are received. Email Jonathan Ferrari.
ART GALLERY HOSTS: Welcome visitors, protect artwork, assist with sales, and help out at events at the galleries at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown. Two- and three-hour shifts available Mondays through Saturdays. Minimum age: 15. Email Lily Klopcic or call 240-912-1073.
MUSEUM CALL CENTER VOLUNTEERS: Engage with callers to the Smithsonian Institution's call center, helping them plan experiences and answering questions. Volunteers also assist with other projects related to visitor engagement. Minimum age: 18. Federal background check and training required. (Next training session scheduled for Saturday, May 4.) Email Abbey Earich.
Age 50+ and Looking to Serve?
Find Your Best Volunteer Fit
The Montgomery County Volunteer Center's 50+ Volunteer Network can help you find volunteer opportunities that fit your particular combination of skills, interests, and availability. The program's advisers will help you determine not just what you can do, but what you want to do, and connect you to these options at nonprofits and government agencies. 

In just one year, the program has placed hundreds of volunteers at a broad range of agencies in a variety of opportunities as tutors, courtroom monitors, professional coaches, counselors, communications and marketing specialists, grant writers, IT consultants, board members, attorneys, event planners, intake coordinators, mediators, mentors, program managers, strategic planners, tax preparers, and more. 

Want to hear from 50+ Volunteer Network volunteers about their experiences? Watch this video highlighting several of the program's volunteers and the agencies they serve. Then, email 50plus@montgomerycountymd.gov and get started!
Celebrate National Volunteer Week This Month
National Volunteer Week, running April 7-13, is an annual chance to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to build stronger communities. Here in Montgomery County, we are fortunate to have a robust culture of service. The Volunteer Center sends its thanks to the thousands of volunteers who serve throughout our community--and especially to those who help in our office and make our work possible! They are Taina Alexander, Ruth Choi, Lorraine Hunte, Beth Isen, Carley Lee, Carol Ross, and Sandy Smith.
Donate Food for the Hungry, Ride the Bus for Free
Donate nonperishable food for those who are hungry and get a free bus trip during Montgomery County Ride On's annual "Give and Ride" week, running April 28-May 4. Throughout the week, all Ride On buses will have food collection bags near their fare boxes. Passengers who deposit a food donation in the bag ride free. (Transfers and return trips require additional food donations for a free ride.)

All food collected will be donated to Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, which provides nourishment for local individuals and families in need. 

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 focuses on ways to help the environment during Earth Month and all year, with guests from the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.
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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