Volume 175 | February 2, 2023

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

In this issue

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

African Community

Latin American Community

Volunteer Center

African American Community

Middle Eastern American Community

Immigration, Citizenship, and Legal Services

Asian Pacific American Community

Faith Community

Advisory Group Meetings

Caribbean American Community

Montgomery Sister Cities

News & Events Around the Region

Job Openings

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center


The first in-person Citizenship Preparation class for the winter session started in January. The enthusiasm from students is invigorating for teachers and staff. Like many of his peers, Amine attended a variety of classes at the Gilchrist Center. As he and his wife prepare for the next step towards citizenship, their success makes the Gilchrist Center excited for all of its students.

The Gilchrist Center continues to receive hundreds of calls and walk-ins each month to provide referrals to programs and services. The information and referral phone line is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please visit the Get Help and Immigrant Resources section of the website for help and resources in the County. For a comprehensive overview of programs available at the Gilchrist Center, including programs from partners, please click HERE

Lunar New Year Celebration

On January 15, the Gilchrist Center joined the celebration of the 2023 Lunar Year Maryland “Tet” Festival organized by the Maryland Vietnamese Mutual Association at Northwood High School in Silver Spring. The Center hosted a table to promote its programs during this joyful event.

Volunteer Appreciation

On January 28, the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciation event, recognizing the volunteers who selflessly dedicated their time -- more than 5,500 hours -- teaching, co-teaching, or assisting in classes in 2022. Thanks to County Executive Marc Elrich, County Councilmembers Laurie Anne-Sayles and Kate Stewart, Mr. Don Gilchrist, and all volunteers who joined the celebration!

Volunteer Center

Montgomery Serves Awards

Nominations for the Montgomery Serves Awards, the County's highest honor for volunteerism, will open Wednesday, February 1, 2023. These annual awards recognize individuals, businesses, and groups that have demonstrated remarkable commitment to direct volunteer service in our community.

To submit nominations to recognize those who have performed outstanding volunteer service in 2022, or those 60 years and more who have performed a lifetime of volunteer service, click here!

The 2023 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service engaged more than 1000 volunteers who served at various locations across the county, working on projects organized by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center and numerous local non-profit organizations. Volunteers at the North Bethesda Marriott assembled over 80,000 meals with US Hunger, made over 300 dog toys for Lucky Dog Rescue and Who Will Let the Dogs Out, and created 150 blankets for Montgomery Hospice. Thank you for making this “day off” a “day on!” To learn more about opportunities to volunteer, visit www.montgomeryserves.org.

Pictured left to right: County Executive Marc Elrich, Councilmember Kate Stewart, Councilmember Sidney Katz

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center's 50+ Volunteer Network connects nonprofits with skilled volunteers, many of whom have a lifetime of valuable professional expertise they want to offer free of charge. If you have a specific need for such a service, please contact [email protected]. For a description of some 50+ Volunteers currently seeking opportunities, please click here.

Immigration, Citizenship & Legal Services

February Workshops and Information Sessions

The Montgomery County Maryland Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program Legal Clinic

has resumed 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 the brochure and flyer.

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 [email protected].

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 at no cost in many languages including Chinese, Korean, and Urdu. 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, February 16 at 6:00 pm at the Rockville Campus
  • Saturday, February 18 at 9:00 am at the Rockville Campus

Classes will run for 10 weeks from April to June. For more details, email [email protected] 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

Introductory Training - Representing Children in Immigration Matters  

February 16, 2023, 9:00 am - 11:00 am.

Click here for information and registration.

Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA)

MCASA's Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Fundamentals Training is an online training for advocates who work directly with sexual assault survivors in Maryland. Live webinars will take place daily from February 6-16. Self-paced online learning courses will be available for the entire month of February. Participants also will receive recordings of webinars to complete throughout the end of the month if they are unable to attend live sessions. Click here to register.

Language Access Services for Crime Victims

The Language Access Program at Ayuda provides professionally trained, trauma-informed interpreters at no cost. Please email [email protected] 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.

County Executive's Advisory Groups

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

African Affairs Advisory Group meets every second Thursday of the month. The next meeting will take place on February 9 at 7:00 pm. During 2022-2023, the meetings will be held in different locations around the county to better connect with communities across the region. For more details, please email [email protected].

African American Advisory Group -- For more information, contact

[email protected].

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will not meet in February. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Yi Shen at [email protected].  

Caribbean American Advisory Group meeting has not been scheduled for February. For more information, please email Rodrigue Vital, Caribbean American Liaison at [email protected].


Faith Advisory Group will host a pubic meeting on Monday, February 13 at 6:00 pm. For more information, see Faith Community section below or reach out to [email protected].

Latin American Advisory Group will meet on Wednesday, February 1 to discuss community priorities. For more information, please email Jessy Mejia Terry, Latino Liaison at [email protected].

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on Monday, February 20 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Please click here for Zoom link. For more information, contact [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group will meet on Wednesday, February 15th, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Click here for Zoom link. All are welcome. Please contact OCP Middle Eastern Liaison [email protected] for more information.

African Community

Save the Date - Celebrate Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month at an event hosted by the African Affairs, African American, and Caribbean American Advisory Groups on February 5, 2023. Location: Civic Center at 1 Veterans Pl, Silver Spring. Click here for details.

African American Community

Black History Month Celebrations

Join the three Black advisory groups to celebrate The Legacy of Black Americans and Black Immigrants in Montgomery County on February 5. Former County Executive Ike Leggett will be honored for his role in establishing the advisory groups. Panelists include history-makers and influencers within the Black community. See flyer here.

Montgomery County employees will celebrate Black History Month on Thursday, February 9 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. This free, virtual event will focus on Black resistance and will feature a panel discussion by living participants: Tina Clarke, Joan Mulholland, and Willie King. View flyer for details and registration link.

The Leisure World Association of African American Culture (LWAAAC) will host a Black History Month celebration program on Monday, February 20 (Presidents' Day). Members of the public are invited via residents of the Leisure World community.

Asian Pacific American Community

Lunar New Year 2023

In 2023, Lunar New Year fell on January 22. This is one of the most important holidays in Asian countries, a time of family togetherness, delicious food, and good spirits. 

County Executive Elrich has celebrated the Lunar New Year with various Asian communities every weekend since January 7 and the celebrations are expected to continue until mid-February. The County Executive and County Council issued a joint proclamation to welcome the new year at an event that included Asian community members, Click here to see additional photos.

.For a list of Lunar New Year Events, please view the calendar.

Korean American Day

The County Executive celebrated Korean American Day on January 13, 2023 with leaders from the Korean Community. Koreans have made contributions to all facets of American society since the first arrival of 102 Korean Immigrants in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 13, 1903. To learn more about Korean American Day, please visit: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/korean-american-day-january-13/

Caribbean American Community

Black History Month Celebration

Join the three Black advisory groups to celebrate The Legacy of Black Americans and Black Immigrants in Montgomery County on February 5. Former County Executive Ike Leggett will be honored for his role in establishing the advisory groups. Panelists include history-makers and influencers within the Black community. See flyer here.

Refugee Visas

CAAG members are raising concerns about the Biden administration’s latest announcement that the U.S. will make several thousand refugee visas available to many Latin American and Caribbean countries. Members are interested in learning how the County might respond to potential arrivals.

Middle Eastern American Community

January Meeting Update

On January 10th, MEAAG held its monthly meeting on Zoom. The Middle Eastern Liaison provided updates about Office of Community Partnerships (OCP) activities, and community members shared information about previous and upcoming matters. Discussion topics included antisemitism, Islamophobia, affordable housing for large families, preparation of FY24 budget priorities for the County Executive, and the 2023 MEA and Arab American heritage months in March and April, respectively.

MEAAG Annual Retreat

MEAAG held its two-hour annual retreat at on January 22 at the Rockville Memorial Library. Participants discussed the community concerns and needs that MEAAG will present to the County Executive in February. Participants also continued organizing the March 11 heritage month celebration. 

Middle Eastern American Heritage Month

Please join MEAAG on March 11 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Executive Office Building cafeteria, located at 101 Monroe St, Rockville. The event theme is local humanitarian efforts (see updates in the March newsletter and on Facebook). Serving as emcee will be Luby Ismail, a leading authority and expert on cultural competence, religious diversity, Arab cultures, and Islamophobia. Local Middle Eastern American businesses, nonprofits, artists, and vendors are invited to exhibit free of charge at this public event, but no sales transactions are permitted. An invitation to the public will be issued soon via email and on MEAAG's Facebook page. Please contact OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison ASAP for more information. 

Call for Volunteers

Volunteers are needed at the Middle Eastern American Heritage Month celebration. Learn more about the Middle Eastern American community and culture and gain hands-on experience in organizing community events. Volunteers will receive certificates of recognition and student volunteers are eligible to receive SSL credit. Please contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison for more information.

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. All talks run from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

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

All three books are available at bookshop.org, where you can choose to have sales benefit Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC). Please see flyer.

Participate in a Census Focus Group

Are you a Census partner organization staff member who serves Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) populations in the local area? The U.S. Census Bureau is seeking MENA community members to participate in a focus group to learn more about community members’ opinions about the census. READ MORE.

Faith Community

February Holidays and Days of Interest

Magha Puja, 2/5 | Parinirvana, 2/15 | Maha Shivratri, 2/18 | Losar, 2/19 | Presidents’ Day, 2/20 | Ash Wednesday, 2/22

Upcoming Events

February 13 -- The Faith Community Advisory Group will host a public meeting at 6:00 pm, open to the faith community of Montgomery County. Guests speakers from MCPS will present information about the anti-racism audit. Register here.

February 15 -- House of Worship Security Training, 7:00 pm. View flyer and register here.

February 21 -- The Montgomery County Resettlement Working Group will meet at 7:00 pm. For more information email [email protected].

Statement on Incidents Impacting Jewish and LGBTQ+ Communities

Click here to read.

County Awards $800,000 to Nonprofit and Faith-based Organizations to Deter Hate Crimes and Support Security Needs

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (pictured at left) and Faith Liaison Kate Chance were joined by County Council Vice President Andrew Friedson, Councilmembers and leaders from local faith-based and nonprofit organizations on January 30 for the announcement of $800,000 in grants awarded to local organizations to improve security and deter hate crimes through the County’s Nonprofit Security Grants program. 91 non-profits and houses of worship received these grants. Read full press release and view media coverage at WJLA, WTOP, and WUSA9.

January Activities

The Faith Community Advisory Group met on January 23. For more information, reach out to [email protected].

The Montgomery County Resettlement Working Group met on January 17. For more information about this group, reach out to [email protected].

The faith community participated in the Martin Luther King Jr. program at Strathmore Music Center on Januarly 16. (See photo above).

Montgomery Sister Cities

Sister Cities Plans Africa Summit in Cape Town, South Africa

Montgomery Sister Cities (MSC) will travel to the Sister Cities International (SCI) US-Africa Summit, Transforming SCI Africa: Honoring Traditions, Creating New Partnerships, in Cape Town, South Africa, February 19-25, 2023. The delegation, led by Councilmember At Large Laurie-Anne Sayles, will receive Sister Cities Academy’s powerful, practical and proven tips on expanding established Sister Cities programs and creating strong new partnerships. The Summit will launch Sister Cities International Africa 500+5 Initiative, designed to create 500 new USA and Africa sister community partnerships in next 5 years.

Want to learn more about Montgomery Sister Cities? Please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] or learn more at https://www.montgomerysistercities.org/

Job Openings

Click Links for Details

The Community Engagement Cluster is currently recruiting for a part-time Senior Fellow, Grade 23 IRC56946 to join the Office of Community Partnerships. For additional information, please see the the job announcement at this link: Search Available Jobs and select “Temporary/Seasonal/Substitute” then click search. If you require assistance or the link is not functioning please contact CEC Division of Operations & Management.

The Community Engagement Cluster is currently recruiting for a fulltime Program Specialist, Grade 21 IRC56164 to join the Wheaton Urban District. For additional information, please see tthe job announcement at this link: Search Available Jobs and select “General Professional” then click search. If you require assistance or the link is not functioning please do not hesitate to contact me directly or send an email to CEC Division of Operations & Management.

The Montgomery County Council is hiring two Legislative Analysts; one will focus on fiscal policy and the other on transportation policy. For complete job descriptions and how to apply, click links:

News & Events Around the Region
Click Links for Details

Direct Support Professionals Job Fair - Direct Support Professionals (DSP) support people with disabilities to live their best lives. Thursday, February 23 • 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm. Germantown American Job Center 12900 Middlebrook Road, 1st Floor, Germantown, MD 20874, Click for flyer in English or Spanish. Ten $25 Amazon gift cards will be raffled off to job seekers who visit at least five organizations at the Job Fair! ¡Se sortearán 10 tarjetas regalo de $25 de Amazon entre los participantes que visiten al menos 5 organizaciones en la Feria de Empleo de DSP!

Nonprofit Community Grant and Grants Management Reform Survey closes February 16. More information can be found at Montgomery County Office of Grants Management - Grants Application Platform.

WorkSource Montgomery and the Montgomery County Workforce Development Board have a brand-new Mobile Job Center! For more information or to request the MJC for a community event, please complete and submit the form located on the website.

The RainScapes Rebate Program application portal of Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection will reopen on Wednesday, February 1. Click here for more information.

Montgomery County MD Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Scholarship Committee is currently accepting applications for the 2023 Scholarship program. Scholarships are available to both male and female high school students. Click here to learn more.

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.

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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