-- Ecclesiastes/Hebrew Bible
APRIL 2018
In This Issue
Montgomery Serves Awards logo
Reserve Your Tickets Today
Gala Celebrates Volunteer Service
Celebrate the accomplishments and hear the inspiring stories of this year's  Montgomery Serves Awards honorees at a gala ceremony   on Monday, April 23, 6:30 pm, at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. The event is free to attend, but reservations are required as seating is limited. Register here

The 2018 recipients of the Montgomery Serves Awards, our county's highest honor for volunteers are:
  • Chih-Hsiang Li (Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award, for lifetime service by residents age 60 and up), who has dedicated decades of service to the Chinese-American community through his work with the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center
  • Sharyn R. Duffin (Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award, for lifetime service by residents age 60 and up), in recognition of her unique, invaluable role in elevating appreciation of the historical role of African Americans in Montgomery County
  • Jane Callen (Volunteer of the Year), who devoted more than 1,300 volunteer hours during 2017 with the American Red Cross, Glen Echo Fire Department, and JSSA Hospice
  • Esmirna Gutierrez (Youth Volunteer of the Year), a Kennedy High School sophomore who has been volunteering with Montgomery Housing Partnership's Homework Club since she was in sixth grade
  • Comfort Cases (Volunteer Group of the Year), whose volunteer teams put together backpacks filled with essential items for children entering the foster care system
  • Apex Home Loans (Corporate Volunteer of the Year), whose employees actively support a variety of causes that contribute to the health and welfare of our community
County Executive Ike Leggett will also present the Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Award to three individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Montgomery County over the course of their lives:
  • Tufail Ahmad, chairman of the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation, who has engaged his community to serve our neighbors in need regardless of faith, race, or gender
  • Brian Frosh, who has served three decades in public service--as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, State Senate, and now as Attorney General--dedicated to ensuring fairness, equality, and justice for all
  • Linda Plummer, leader of the Montgomery County NAACP, who has tirelessly battled racism, bigotry, and prejudice, working to remove the barriers that keep people from realizing their full potential
Thank you to the Fund for Montgomery with a generous contribution from the Carl M. Freeman Foundation for sponsoring this event. Learn more about the winners and the awards here.
The ARC Montgomery County
Providing Inclusive Support for Individuals With Disabilities  and Their Families
ARC volunteers
Duck Festival volunteers

The Arc Montgomery County is about connecting people with and without disabilities, right in their own communities. The organization supports children, youth, adults, and seniors affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities--and their families--by providing inclusive child care, work-skills training, employment, community living services, resources, advocacy, and respite care. 

Volunteers help The Arc fulfill its mission in a variety of ways. One of the organization's biggest volunteer projects is for event assistants at its annual Duck Festival, this year set for Saturday, April 28, 9 am-12 noon in Silver Spring. Volunteers age 14 and up can help with all kinds of activities at this community-awareness and fundraising event--including face painting, old-fashioned carnival-style games, and merchandise sales. Some volunteers can even take on the role of "Quacky," the organization's duck mascot, posing for photos and giving out high-fives.

Volunteers also assist at Urban Thrift (this opportunity is for seniors, age 55 and up, only), a book club for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and summer programs for children and youth. At The Arc's summer camp in Silver Spring, volunteers age 13 and older provide an extra hands in the classroom, helping with everything from setting up snacks to reading stories at circle time. They directly engage with children one to 10 years old, and love being greeted by hugs as they come to know the campers better. SSL hours are preapproved by MCPS for all of these opportunities available to students.

A unique feature of volunteering with The Arc Montgomery County is that volunteers self-select which shifts they want to serve via an online schedule made available to them once they've been cleared for service. This way, volunteers can work around things like family vacations or other appointments.

When you volunteer with The Arc, you can actually see and feel how your volunteer service makes a difference. In fact, many volunteers return year after year because they love the connections they make with the people they support.

To learn more about how to get involved at The Arc, email Deborah Mark or call 307-984-5777 x1245.
It's Earth Month--Volunteer for the Environment!
Earth Day 2013 - Rock Creek Conservancy
April is Earth Month, a time to call attention to our planet's needs and get involved in environmental projects, including environment-focused volunteer activities like park and stream cleanups. 

Fortunately, there are lots of opportunities to help with environmental volunteer needs throughout our region all month--and beyond! The largest of these efforts is the Alice Ferguson Foundation's 30th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, which counts on thousands of volunteers to pick up trash at hundreds of parks and streams across the DC metro area throughout April (and especially on Saturday, April 14). You can even lead a cleanup at your favorite park through this project. 

Other Earth Month volunteer activities include painting storm drains in Wheaton  on Saturdays, April 7, 21, and 28,   to educate the public that everything that goes down the storm drain makes its way to our rivers and streams, plus landscaping at a group home for adults with disabilities in Derwood on Saturday, April 7; pulling invasive weeds  along a road in Bethesda on Sunday, April 15; assisting with the "Forest Friends Festival" in Wheaton on Sunday, April 22; and helping with an electronics recycling and paper shredding event in Olney on Saturday, April 28. Find even more ways to volunteer on our April volunteer calendar and by following this search on our website for environment-related opportunities

Many of these projects are preapproved by MCPS for SSL hours.
Time to Spring Into Action
In addition to the many Earth Month activities linked above, there are plenty of other opportunities to serve our community this month and into the spring.  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  or the top of our home page to search for more ways to serve. 
SSL preapproved
These opportunities are preapproved 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 SOCCER BUDDIES : Wednesdays, April 4, 11, 18, and 25, and May 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, 3:30-4:30 pm, Kensington. Additional opportunities on Thursdays in May in  Silver Spring . Serve as a peer buddy for special needs elementary school students participating in  Open Door Sports 's after-school soccer program. Volunteers must be between 11 and 18 years old and will help encourage players and find success on the field.  Email Sarah Albus  or call 240-461-5559.

SSL preapproved CRAFT KIT ASSEMBLERS: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 27-29, multiple shifts available Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday, Damascus; Make unique craft kits for hospitalized children through Anna's Gift Foundation. All materials provided. Sign up online, email Elizabeth Tomalis, or call 443-745-3343.

SSL preapproved ART HOP VOLUNTEERS: Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29, multiple shifts available 10 am-6 pm on Saturday and 9 am-3 pm on Sunday, Takoma Park. Help the Old Takoma Business Association run an event showcasing the work of local artists and performers. Minimum age: 13. Email Laura Barclay or call 301-891-6789.

SSL preapproved ENTERTAINERS: Saturday, May 5, 11 am-2 pm, Rockville. Help wow the crowds at the Tree House Child Advocacy Center's annual Tour de Cookie bike ride benefit. Magicians, face painters, caricaturists, jugglers, living statues, musicians, dancers, cheerleaders, and other family-friendly entertainers age 15 and up are welcome. Email Nina Blecher or call 240-777-4380.

HOSPICE VOLUNTEERS: Help enhance the quality of life of individuals and families facing life-threatening or terminal illness through the Jewish Social Service Agency's hospice and transitions programs. Specialized training required; the next training session is set for Sunday and Monday, May 6-7, 9 am-3 pm, in Rockville. Following the training, volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of two hours a week visiting patients. Minimum age: 18. Apply online, email Carrie Myatt, or call 301-816-2611.

SSL preapproved BIKE CAMP "SPOTTERS": Help a disabled individual learn to ride a conventional bicycle through the iCan Bike Camp coordinated by the city of Takoma Park, June 18-21. Volunteers must be at least 15 years old and commit to serving during the same 90 minute session all five days of camp. Email Lucy Neher or call 301-891-7100.

VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR: Oversee, schedule, and engage workforce-development volunteers for the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition. Requires good organizational skills, flexibility, responsiveness, and the ability to commit to serving five to 10 hours per week at the organization's offices in DC. Email Sara Allen or call 202-930-4158.

JOB COACHES: Assist low-income/disadvantaged individuals with job searches by editing resumes and cover letters, helping clients apply for jobs, and conducting mock interviews. CareerCatchers holds its weekly Job Club on Wednesdays at 1 pm in Gaithersburg. Email Karen Shaines or call 301-385-0344. 

SSL preapproved THERAPEUTIC HORSE RIDING ASSISTANTS: Help individuals with disabilities ride horses, a therapy that enhances a broad range of important skills. Sponsored by Madison House Autism Foundation at its farm in Dickerson. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, able to run around the arena with the horses, and attend a training workshop. Email Steve Robinson or call 240-246-7140.
50+ Volunteer Network Update
New Skilled Opportunities Arriving Daily
Use your professional skills and personal interests to volunteer with a nonprofit or government agency through the Montgomery County 50+ Volunteer Network, which uses personal consultations to match volunteers and organizations. The only requirements are that you are at least 50 years old and have a desire to make a significant contribution of time and talent to the community, while still retaining your flexible schedule!

The 50+ Volunteer Network is finding new volunteer needs almost every day. In addition to ongoing opportunities to tutor, mentor, teach, and provide administrative services, recent requests include:
  • Salesforce software expert for an arts organization
  • Domestic violence criminal court monitors for a victims rights agency
  • QuickBooks bookkeeper for a service animal organization
  • Job search mentor for low-income clients
  • Administrative support/professional development classes coordinator for a work force development agency
  • Meal delivery coordinator/volunteer manager for a food security organization
  • Fundraising expert for a local museum
  • Volunteer recruiter and manager for an arts organization
  • Advisors to interview, advise,and match volunteers with nonprofits and government agencies for a county program
For information about these and many other opportunities, email the program coordinators.
Montgomery County Commemorates National Service Recognition Day 
national service day proclamation
On April 3, County Executive Ike Leggett and the Montgomery County Council issued a joint proclamation in honor National Service Recognition Day, with Council President Hans Riemer presenting it at a ceremony attended by several of the many AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps members who serve in Montgomery County. You can watch the presentation here.
This Month, Celebrate National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week, running April 15-21, 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 spirit of service, and the Montgomery County Volunteer Center sends its thanks to the thousands of volunteers throughout our community--and especially to those who serve in our office and make our work possible: Manorita Ahuja, Rashida Bright, Ruth Choi, Carley Lee, Carol Ross, and Sandy Smith!
Do Good Deeds (Day)
On Sunday, April 29, join volunteers from around the region for Good Deeds Day. This annual international day of service organized locally by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, celebrates the idea that every person can make a positive impact on the lives of others and change the world through social action.

Participants will be able to choose from a variety of service projects throughout the region, including assembling baby kits for refugee families, preparing meals for homeless individuals, cleaning up parks, and making blankets. View all the projects and register for available opportunities online.
Donate Food, 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 15-21. 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 in support of its Smart Sacks program, which helps provide nourishment for local children and families on weekends and other times when school-sponsored meals are not available.

View suggested donation items here.
Visit With Us at the 50+ Employment Expo
Want to learn more about how the Montgomery County Volunteer Center's new 50+ Volunteer Network can help those age 50 and up find meaningful, skill-based volunteer opportunities? Visit with us at JCA's 50+ Employment Expo, set for Monday, April 16, 10 am-3 pm, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. This free event features a variety of resources related to employing seniors, including volunteerism. 
Watch the Ways to Make a Difference
Make a Difference , a monthly County Cable Montgomery program, highlights the contributions of stellar volunteers and organizations that contribute positively to our community. In honor of Earth Month, April's program highlights ways for volunteers to make a difference for our environment.  Watch it online here.
Follow Us on Social Media and Get the Latest!
Learn about new and last-minute service opportunities, volunteer news, and information to inspire on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center Facebook page. If you haven't already done so, Like us to get the latest information in your Facebook feed. 

You can also stay connected through these links:
Facebook Twitter Button website
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.

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Montgomery County Volunteer Center