In every community, there is work to be done. 
In every nation, there are wounds to heal. 
In every heart, there is the power to do it.

--Marianne Williamson, American writer
In This Issue
Community Service Week

Pick a Project, and Sign up to Be Part of This Annual Volunteer Tradition
Join Montgomery County's celebration of community service by volunteering for one or more of the many projects planned for the 31st Annual Community Service Week, running Oct. 22-29. 

No matter what your interests, there's a service project you'll enjoy--everything from helping with a food drive or assisting at a 5K to carving pumpkins at a senior center or cleaning up a historic cemetery.

Check out the list of Community Service Week projects to see the variety of projects already planned (and check back frequently as projects are being added daily)--and sign up to help with those that excite you most. Many are preapproved for MCPS student service learning hours (these feature a graduation cap icon on the opportunity details page).

If you're with a nonprofit or school that is planning or would like to plan a volunteer project during the week, let the Volunteer Center know by completing this form. Please fill it out even if you already have all the volunteers you need, so that we can track all the great service being performed around the county during the week.

Questions? Email us or call 240-777-2600.
Little Falls Watershed volunteers

Little Falls Watershed Alliance 
Making a Difference for the Environment
"I could practically hear the trees thanking me." According to a recent Little Falls Watershed Alliance volunteer, that's just one of the payoffs of helping this all-volunteer environmental stewardship group based in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area. If you like to volunteer outside and help the environment, LFWA has plenty of opportunities for you.

The Little Falls Watershed Alliance was started in 2008 when a group of neighbors decided that they needed to preserve the natural environment of the Little Falls Stream Valley Park and other parks in the area. Today, the organization works on habitat restoration, trash pick-up, issues related to storm water management, and local creek health monitoring.

Almost every week, LFWA volunteers work in local parks to remove weeds that are killing the native plants. With the help of more than 2,500 volunteers who have contributed 5,500-plus manpower hours, the alliance has freed acres of trees from strangling vines and removed non-native bushes and ground covers that were choking native plants, which would otherwise cause the loss of habitat for small mammals, song birds, and pollinators. The organization's volunteers have also restored two meadows and planted more than 3,000 native wildflowers and grasses to reestablish these important plants in our parks.

In addition, LFWA organizes volunteers to help pick up trash in and around creeks every month. The result? Since 2008, 1,000 volunteers have removed more than 22,650 pounds of trash and 7,000 pounds of recyclable materials. As you might imagine, volunteers report that it's gratifying to see the pile of trash bags at the end of a clean-up. And on a hot day, wading in the cool creek water to pick up trash is a win-win.

Whatever the volunteer job, the organization provides all the tools necessary for each event--gloves, bags, hand tools for removing invasive weeds, and even boots for getting into the creek to get the trash out.

LFWA volunteers include people of all ages and backgrounds--from students earning SSL hours to retired people who love the park and want to help save the forest. They all share of love of being outside and making a difference for the environment. Children under 14 must have a supervising adult with them.

To learn more, visit the alliance's website or email Sarah Morse
Make It a Month of Service!
First--31 years ago--it was Montgomery County Community Service Day, then it expanded into Community Service Week. But pick a project for every week in October and you can make it a whole month of community service! Here are just a few of the hundreds of volunteer positions listed on the Volunteer Center's website. Check our calendar for more date-specific opportunities or use the search box at the top of this email to search for more opportunities by keyword, location, organization, or more. 
SSL preapproved
These opportunities are pre-approved to provide MCPS 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.

SSL preapproved COMMUNICATION SKILLS ASSISTANTS: Shifts available Wednesdays, Oct. 4, 11, 18, and 25, 6:30-8:30 pm, Rockville. Help a professional speech and language pathologist work with groups of teens and adults with developmental disabilities on communication skills. Sponsored by Potomac Community Resources. Additional shifts available on Wednesday evenings through 2017. Minimum age: 15. Email Melissa Wyman or call 301-365-0561.

SSL preapproved FLEA MARKET VOLUNTEERS: Saturdays, Oct. 7 and Nov. 4, shifts available between 7 am and 2 pm, Germantown. Direct and manage traffic, set up and take down signs and tables, and pick up litter at the Germantown Historical Society's monthly community flea market. Spanish language interpreters also needed. Email Susan Soderberg or call 301-972-2707.

SSL preapproved DISASTER DRILL ACTORS: Sunday, Oct. 8, 8 am-12 noon, Bethesda. Play a patient in the Glen Echo Fire Department's large-scale medical emergency training exercise. Volunteers will be made up with moulage to appear injured, and  must be able to remember and follow detailed instructions on how to act during the drill. Minimum age: 14.  Email Wyatt Smith.

SSL preapproved 5K FUNDRAISER ASSISTANTS: Sunday, Oct. 8, 8-9 am, Gaithersburg. Help manage the Kerala Cultural Society's third annual Miles4Smiles 5K run and 1 mile walk fundraiser to benefit the Hope for Henry Foundation. Email Beena Tomy or call 301-801-6698.

TREE NUT COLLECTORS: Saturday, Oct. 14, 10 am-1 pm, Arlington. Collect acorns and tree seeds at Arlington National Cemetary that will go to local nurseries that grow trees for reforesting efforts across the region. Sponsored by the Potomac Conservancy, which provides all the tools and training needed. Email Gabby Troutman or call 301-608-1188. 

SSL preapproved INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL VOLUNTEERS: Sunday, Oct. 15, various shifts available between 8 am and 5:30 pm, Rockville. Assist with setting up Montgomery County's World of Montgomery Festival, running activities during the event, and cleaning up. Volunteers are welcome to work multiple shifts and are especially needed in the morning. Sign up online or email Elizabeth Gallauresi.

SSL preapproved DIWALI FESTIVAL DANCERS: Sunday, Oct. 15, 12 noon-5:30 pm, Takoma Park. Perform traditional or modern Indian dance, or help with other needs at the Takoma/Langley Crossroads Development Authority's annual secular celebration of the Hindu festival of lights. Volunteers should be middle or high school age. Email Melanie Isis or call 301-445-7910.

SSL preapproved COMMUNITY SERVICE WEEK VOLUNTEERS: Sunday, Oct. 22, through Sunday, Oct. 29, various days and hours throughout the county. Help feed the hungry, clean up the environment, run fundraising events, landscape, and more. Call 240-777-2600.

MEAL SERVERS: Wednesday, Nov. 1, 6:30-9:30 pm, Rockville. Heat and serve dinner, pack bagged lunches, clean up the kitchen/dining area, and assist with other tasks at the Rainbow Place emergency shelter for women. Additional volunteers needed to provide prepared meals to be delivered frozen or fresh. Minimum age: 18. Email Barbara Goodwin or call 301-762-1496. 
ENGLISH LITERACY TUTORS: Help adult English learners improve their literacy skills through the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, which has approximately 200 individuals on its waiting list. Training provided. Minimum age: 18. Email Ashley France, call 301-610-0030 x206, or sign up for an information session.

SSL preapproved SENIOR HOME VISITORS: Get to know residents at Ingleside at King Farm Retirement Community through a variety of one-on-one activities such as reading a short story, polishing fingernails, talking about current events, walking, or playing board games. Volunteers must be willing to commit to visiting one hour per week. Minimum age: 16. Email Debbie Loube or call 240-499-9065.

SSL preapproved TRAIL STEWARDS: Help build and maintain parts of the 140-plus miles of natural surface trails in Montgomery Parks. Trail workdays are scheduled on weekends throughout the fall, and include activities such as building new trails, repairing erosion issues, and constructing bridges. Minimum age: 15 (but some projects accept 13 and 14 year olds if accompanied by an adult). Volunteers under 18 must have parental consent. Sign up online, email Lynn Vismara, or call 301-495-2504.

HOTLINE SUPPORT: Be a confidential and supportive listener for a 24/7 hotline, online chat, and text service operated by EveryMind. Volunteers provide crisis prevention and intervention services and connect callers with relevant information, referrals, and resources. Minimum age: 18. Required training is provided free of charge every month. Email Pamela Lee or call 301-424-0656 x541.
Join a County Board
Montgomery County encourages individuals of diverse backgrounds, professions, gender, geography, disability, and ethnicity to consider applying to serve on one of the many county boards and commissions that contribute to the work of the county government. Board and commission members provide an important service by representing their community's issues, concerns, and viewpoints.

View the full list of committees here, and click on any shown to learn more. Current positions include vacancies on the Ethics Commission and on the Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs. 
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 Arc Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Volunteer Center discussing Community Service Week. Watch it online here .
Follow Us on Social Media and Get the Latest!
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 these activities.

Follow these links to subscribe to our other partner agencies' electronic publications:
Montgomery County Volunteer Center