Volume 173 | December 1, 2022

"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"
County Executive Marc Elrich

Inaugural Ceremony

Event Set for December 5 at Strathmore Music Center

Please join us for the Inaugural Ceremony for Montgomery County Executive and Members of Montgomery County Council on December 5, 2022 at 11:00 am at the Strathmore Music Center. Click here for required registration, directions, and parking. The ceremony also will be live streamed. Click here for link.


Join us this Monday, December 5, to celebrate the inauguration of the County Executive and Twentieth County Council for Montgomery County! All donations will support the work of our nonprofit partner, Collaboration Council, the Local Management Board for Children, Youth and Families in Montgomery County.

This is an after-dinner reception at The Fillmore Silver Spring, and tickets are $75. It is “party attire” (not black tie).

View flyer and purchase tickets here.

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Congratulations to New U.S. Citizens

As the Fall 2022 Citizenship Preparation program comes to a close, the Gilchrist Center congratulates 13 students (and counting) who recently passed the naturalization interview and test with USCIS. We are so proud of our students and wish them much success in their life as U.S. citizens. Special thanks to teachers Van Nguyen, Daniel McCall, Cindy Newland, and Carolyn Quinn for providing quality instruction and support..

Engish Conversation Classes

English conversation classes are available online and in person at the Gilchrist Center's Gaithersburg and Wheaton sites. No registration required! See dates and times here. To receive information about upcoming registration for computer, citizenship preparation, and English (ESOL) classes, please sign up for updates.

Farewell and Thanks to Josephine Garnem

The whole team at the Gilchrist Center would like to express its deepest gratitude to Josephine Garnem for her work as a Program Manager, leading the Center’s computer and workforce programs and managing the Gilchrist Center’s East County site for the past five years. Josephine joined the team in 2017 and left her position earlier this month. As a core member of the Center’s leadership team, Josephine has been instrumental in developing partnerships in the East County region. Her commitment and selfless dedication to serving her community is second to none, and her involvement left a huge impact on residents. Thank you, Josephine!

Contact the Gilchrist Center

For information about services and programs available in the county, visit in person or call the Gilchrist Center at 240-777-4940. The newly redesigned website also offers information about available resources.

Volunteer Center

Volunteer with the AARP Tax-Aide Program

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is looking for volunteers to help with the AARP Tax-Aide program for the upcoming tax season. This program provides free tax preparation services to people who live in Montgomery County. Volunteers can sign up to help as:

  • Facilitators -- Volunteers who welcome clients and maintain appointment logs and paperwork onsite.
  • Schedulers -- Volunteers who work from home using county-provided equipment to schedule appointments for clients.

Training is provided for all roles and volunteers are asked to commit to at least one shift per week for all of tax season (February – April 18th). There is a special need for schedulers and for speakers of multiple languages, particularly Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. The deadline to sign up to volunteer as a scheduler or facilitator is January 13, 2023.

For more information and to join our volunteer team, visit https://bit.ly/MoCoTaxAide.

Immigration, Citizenship & Legal Services

December Workshops and Information Sessions

The Montgomery County Maryland Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program Legal Clinic

is resuming free in-person consultations twice per month at the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center's Gaithersburg and Wheaton sites! Visit the website for details.

For further information about pro bono services, please see brochure.

Rita Rosenkrantz Family Law Training Program provides FREE LEGAL TRAINING to attorneys who agree to take a pro bono case. To learn more about the basics of family law training and how to access the webinar, please visit the Bar Foundation CLE page of the BAMC website at www.barmont.org. For additional information, please contact Yesenia at 301-340-2534 or Yesenia@BarFoundationMC.org.

Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJ) information is available in English and Spanish.

Free Citizenship Application Consultations by APALRC

The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC) will hold in-person appointments for those seeking assistance with applying for Citizenship and Naturalization at the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center in Gaithersburg at the Gaithersburg Library, 18330 Montgomery Village Ave, 2nd floor. Clinics are held every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Click here for details.

Assistance is available in many languages including Chinese, Korean, and Urdu. This is a free service. You must be a lawful permanent resident to apply. Please click here to request assistance or call the APALRC Helpline at (202) 393-3572. For additional information, visit the APALRC website.

Montgomery College Offers Free Citizenship Preparation

Are you a legal, permanent resident preparing for the U.S. citizenship test and interview?

Montgomery College provides FREE citizenship preparation classes on Zoom and in-person. In partnership, Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services offers help with the N-400 application for naturalization. Upcoming in-person orientation sessions:

  • Thursday, December 8 at 6:00 pm at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus
  • Saturday, December 10 at 9:00 am at the Rockville Campus

Classes will run for 10 weeks from January to March. For more details, email citizenshipprogram@montgomerycollege.edu or see the website. View the flyer here.

Legal Services

HIAS provides legal services to asylum seekers, asylees, and others who are seeking humanitarian relief. All clients must fear returning to country of origin, and must reside within Maryland, DC, or Virginia. To receive a free immigration consultation, please contact the legal intake line at (301) 844-7248 on the first Friday of every month between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Interpreters are available. Walk-ins are not accepted.

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) Baltimore

Quick Topics Training - Preparing Form I-589 for ZAR

Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 12:00 pm -1:00 pm  

Click here for information and registration.

Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA)

MCASA provides direct legal services to survivors of all ages across the state of Maryland. For more information, visit their website or call 301-565-2277.

Language Access Services for Crime Victims

The Language Access Program at Ayuda provides professionally trained, trauma-informed interpreters at no cost. Please email interpreterbank@ayuda.com with "Maryland Victims" in the subject heading to learn more and to add your organization to the list of those that will receive services.

Financial Assistance for Citizenship Application Fees offered by CASA

CASA, in partnership with Montgomery County, is offering financial assistance to those who are eligible to apply for citizenship but cannot afford the application fee. Click here for more information.

Advisory Group Meetings

Upcoming Meetings of County Executive's Ethnic & Faith Advisory Groups

African Affairs Advisory Group meets every second Thursday of the month. During 2022-2023, the meetings will take place in different locations around the county to better connect with communities across the region. The group will be on winter break in December and will resume meetings on January 12, 2023. For more details, please email Harrieta.Shangarai@montgomerycountymd.gov.

African American Advisory Group -- For more information, contact


Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will not meet during the month of December and will reconvene in January. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Yi Shen at yi.shen@montgomerycountymd.gov.  

Caribbean American Advisory Group will meet virtually on Tuesday, December 6 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. For more information, please email Rodrigue Vital, Caribbean American Liaison at rodrigue.vital@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Faith Advisory Group will meet on Monday, December 19 at 6:00 pm. For more information, reach out to interfaith@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Latin American Advisory Group is considering holding its next meeting in January 2023 to accommodate a general all-Advisory Groups meeting with the County Executive in December 2022. For more information on either of these meetings, please email Jessy Mejia Terry, Latino Liaison at jessy.mejiaterry@montgomerycountymd.gov.

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on Monday, December 19 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Please click here for Zoom link. For more information, contact amena.johnson@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group will meet on Monday, December 12, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. All are welcome. Please contact OCP Middle Eastern Liaison Arwa.ElBoraei@montgomerycountymd.gov for the Zoom link or in-person location.

African Community

Elite Soccer Youth Development Academy (ESYDA)

The Elite Soccer Youth Development Academy celebrated its 11th Annual Gala on November 20, highlighting the achievements of ESYDA's programs including soccer, homework assistance, college preparation, back to school, food distribution and more. For more details, visit E.S.Y.D.A – Elite Soccer Youth Development Academy.

Tayitu Cultural and Education Center

The Tayitu Cultural and Education Center Gala took place on November 19, marking 22 years of service and contributions to the Ethiopian community. The Center promotes Ethiopian arts, literature, and culture as well as offering tutoring and mentoring programs for students in elementary throughout high school Montgomery County. For more details, visit their website.

African American Community

Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

MCSHF will be holding the 2022 Induction Ceremony on December 4, 2022 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Silver Spring Civic Building. Steve Francis, Tim Kurkjian, Sonny Jackson, Rob Bordley, Sally Glynn Hauser, and Clarence “Pint” Isreal will be honored, and the MCSHF High School Athletes of the Week will be recognized. Click here for more information and to register for this free event.

Martin Luther King Day Events

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Silver Spring Chapter will host its annual MLK Breakfast at the North Betihesda Marriott on January 16.

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center will oversee its annual MLK Day of Service immediately following the MLK Breakfast at the North Betihesda Marriott.

The MLK Commemorative Committee and the County Executive will host its annual MLK Tribute & Celebration program at Strathmore Music Center

Additional details will be provided in the January newsletter.

Asian Pacific American Community

County Holds First Budget Forum in Chinese

County Executive Marc Elrich held the County’s first budget forum in Mandarin Chinese at the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC) on November 30. Topics brought up during the listening session included access to health care for seniors, access to affordable housing, expanding educational resources for students, increasing budget for school safety, hiring more culturally competent mental health providers for the Asian community, and increasing grant funding for small non-profits. The budget forum was well attended in person and virtually. Several County agencies were on site and connected with community members to address their concerns directly. To view the calendar of future budget hearngs, click here.

Chinese Culture and Community Service Center Anniversary

County Executive Marc Elrich celebrated the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center's (CCACC) 40th Anniversary in November. CCACC has been a key pillar of support for the Asian community for the past 40 years. The hard work and dedication of CCACC's staff has turned a fledgling organization, composed of a few volunteers, into a large community organization with over 170 staff and two hundred volunteers serving in seven operational divisions. Congratulations to CCACC!

Islamic Center Hosts Open Air Market

The Islamic Center of Maryland (ICM), in partnership with Islamic Relief USA, held an open air market food distribution event. Participants chose items from different tables, including hot food, fresh produce, school supplies, winter clothing, books and more. Health care providers were onsite for checkup and health resources.

Caribbean American Community

Christmas Celebration

Hundreds of Jamaicans from the DMV region are expected at this year’s Christmas celebration organized by the Jamaican Nationals Association (JNA). The annual event is especially sigificant this year since the Caribbean nation of Jamaica, a former British colony, celebrated its 60th anniversary of independence this past summer. The celebration will be held at the Silver Spring Civic Center in downtown Silver Spring, on December 17 at 8:00 pm.

Latin American Community

Bienvenidos Resource Fair 

Bienvenidos is hosting a resource fair in Spanish for newly arrived families and minors reuniting with family/sponsors on Saturday, December 10th from 10:00 am- 2:00 pm at the Midcounty Regional Services Center,2425 Reedie Drive 2nd floor, Wheaton, MD. See the flyer (in English and Spanish) for more information.

Spanish Budget Forum

Over fifty people attended the second Spanish Budget Forum with the County Executive at the Wheaton Recreational Center on November 16. These community conversations engaged the public to share their priorities before the county budget is complete for Council consideration. Priorities that surfaced during this event included continued support for county programs and initiatives critical to community health, such as Salud y Bienestar, Bienvenidos, and the Welcome Back Center. Food security, rental assistance, and mental health resources were also among communities’ top priorities to offset the increasing demands and difficulties due to higher cost of living expenses. 

Middle Eastern American Community

Soups On! World Kindness Day

MEAAG co-chairs Farideh Jahanbin and Debbie Trent, and members Karen Leggett Abouraya and Mumtaz Jahan participated in Soups On!, a cooking event held on November 13 in recognition of World Kindness Day. The Zoom session was organized by 2022 MEAAG community service awardee KindWorks. The home chefs, along with Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, prepared lemon orzo pesto soup -- enough for family dinners and extras that were delivered to families in need. Check out photos here.

Spreading Joy and Holiday Foods

On November 19th, MEAAG member Mumtaz Jahan and high school intern Togzhan Zhumadil pitched in at the annual Turkey Distribution sponsored by the Islamic Center of Maryland and Islamic Relief USA.

Author Conversations

MEAAG and the Montgomery County Public Libraries will host the fourth series of free meet-the-author book talks from February-April 2023.

  • February 7 - Children's author Reem Faruqi, Milloo’s Mind
  • March 7 - Mojdeh Bahar, poet and translator, Milkvetch & Violets
  • April 11 - Diana Abu Jaber, Fencing with the King

Please watch this space next month for registration information. All three books are available at bookshop.org, where you can choose to have sales benefit Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC).  

Supporting the Middle Eastern Community and Health Sciences Research

weWomen Plus, a multi-year Johns Hopkins University study for immigrant women’s health, safety and empowerment, is close to finalizing recruitment. The team has enrolled 1,203 women in the study but still seeks women of Arab, African and Asian descent who speak their heritage language to join the study. To read about eligibility and compensation for participating, view flyers in English and Arabic.

Autism Study for Arabic Speaking Families

A special education team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks Arabic-speaking caregivers and parents of children with autism or other developmental disabilities. Those Interested can fill out the screener online or scan the QR code in the flyer. Families will receive up to $40 in e-gift cards for participating. Click here for more information.

Faith Community

December Holidays and Days of Interest

World AIDS Day, 12/1 | Gita Jayanti, 12/3 | Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 12/8 | Rohatsu (Bodhi Day), 12/8 | Hannukah (Chanukah), 12/18 -

12/26 | Yaldaa, 12/21 | Christmas Day, 12/25 | Kwanzaa, 12/26 - 1/1 

Upcoming Events

December 6, 7:00 pm -- Faith Community Townhall focusing on the work of Lutheran Immigration Social Services. Register in advance here. Click here for flyer.

December 19, 6:00 pm -- Faith Community Advisory Group meeting. For more information, reach out to interfaith@montgomerycountymd.gov.

December 20, 7:00 pm -- The Montgomery County Resettlement Working Group meeting. For more information, reach out to interfaith@montgomerycountymd.gov.

November Activities

The Faith Community was an active presence in the community throughout November. Learn more here.

Montgomery Sister Cities

Sister Cities Plans Africa Summit in Cape Town, South Africa

Join Montgomery Sister Cities (MSC) on its trip to Cape Town, South Africa for the Sister Cities International (SCI) US-Africa Summit, Transforming SCI Africa: Honoring Traditions, Creating New Partnerships, February 19-25, 2023! See details here.

Morazan Sister City Scholarship Gala

The Morazan Sister City Committee, along with COTSA, held its Scholarships Gala on November 26 at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Scholarship funds were raised by the Sister City Committee members throughout the year, benefitting university students who are committed to the development of Morazan, El Salvador. 

News & Events Around the Region
Click Links for Details

The Police Accountability Board will be holding its next board meeting in Silver Spring on December 1 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm and invites the public to hear what is going on. This will be the first quarterly meeting the PAB has with all local law enforcement agencies. Join in-person or online. Click here for details.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is soliciting grant applications for the County’s FY 2023 Targeted and Specialized Mobility (TSM) Grant Program from qualified nonprofit organizations providing direct transportation services in the County. See details here.

Free Center Passes - Department of Recreation -- Montgomery County Recreation fitness passes for exercise enthusiasts will be free for County residents in 2023. The free pass provides access to fully-equipped fitness rooms, open gym (drop-in) activities, and game rooms at any Community Recreation Center during regularly scheduled hours. Click here for details.

The Empowered Women International program at LEDC is hosting its 9th Annual Holiday Market featuring over 50 local, women-owned small businesses! December 10 at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Click here for more information.

2022 Rockville Holiday Drive is Officially Underway

Neighborhood Events Matching Funds Grant Program Application Form 

Neighborhood organizations, block groups, tenant associations, civic clubs, and other community groups that are active and in good standing may apply for funds to hold events and activities. Click here for application.

WorkSource Montgomery (WSM) has awarded $500,000 in COVID-19 financial assistance under its GROW program to small businesses in Montgomery County that were greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. WSM plans to award another $1 million dollars over the next year until funds are exhausted. Click here for details. For more information or to apply, click here.

Montgomery County Continues to Distribute COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits and N95 Masks to Community Organizations, Childcare Providers, and Private Schools

COVID Vaccinations

Free COVID Tests

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