"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"

County Executive Marc Elrich

December 1, 2023

Volume 184

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Immigration, Citizenship, and Legal Services

Advisory Group Meetings

Volunteer Center

African Community

African American Community

Asian Pacific American


Caribbean American Community

Latin American Community

Middle Eastern Community

Faith Community

LGBTQ+ Community


Share Your News - To submit news and events of interest to those serving Montgomery County's emerging communities and neighbors in need, email complete details and/or a news release to the OCP Newsletter.

Job Announcements

The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services has an exciting position within its Office of Community Affairs. Closing Date: December 9, 2023

DHHS invites qualified candidates to apply for the Manager III, Newcomer Initiative position. For more information and to apply, visit Job Details (

Applications are now being accepted for the position of Executive Director for the Maryland Commission for Women. Click here for more information.

Vacancy - Advisory Commission on Policing

The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants to fill 11 public member vacancies on the Advisory Commission on Policing. Applications for the three-year appointments are due by 5 p.m. on Dec. 8, 2023. Read more.

Community Conversations

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, the County's regional services offices and community partners will host the last of 10 Community Conversations from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., on Monday, December 11 to seek input on the Fiscal Year 2025 Operating Budget. Click here for more information.

Tis the season to be … SAFE!

A tip from the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service:

Firing up the fireplace? Cool your ashes! Every year “cold” ashes result in house fires. Treat all ashes and coals as HOT ashes, even when you think they have had enough time to cool. View more safety

tips here.

FEMA Nonprofit Security Grant Webinars

FEMA’s Grant Programs Directorate invites interested organizations to attend upcoming webinars regarding the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). The NSGP is a competitive grant awarded to nonprofit organizations at high risk of a terrorist or other extremist attack to support facility hardening and other security enhancements. Click here for details.

Enhanced Mobility Grants

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is soliciting grant applications for the County’s Fiscal Year 2024 Enhanced Mobility Grants Program from qualified organizations providing direct transportation services in the County. This program aims to increase access to transportation services for Montgomery County residents who are disabled, seniors, individuals with limited incomes, and other vulnerable populations, specifically in Underserved Communities. Click here for details.

Innovative Apprenticeship Program

WorkSource Montgomery has announced a new apprenticeship program for career advising. Read more.

Feedback on Digital Equity

The Maryland Office of Statewide Broadband has developed drafts of the state’s plans to connect all Marylanders to high-speed internet access and achieve digital equity. Marylanders are encouraged to submit feedback on the drafts during the public comment period, which ends December 2. To review the plans and provide comments, click here.

Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Open Enrollment

VAS (Vietnamese American Service) is an authorized enrollment site for Maryland Health Connection and provides free healthcare enrollment and consultation. Open Enrollment Dates: November 1, 2023 to December 15, 2023. Call VAS at 301-646-5852.

Gaithersburg Holiday Giving Program

The City of Gaithersburg and the Gaithersburg Holiday Giving Coalition will be serving families referred by school and nonprofit counselors through their Holiday Giving program. Want to help? READ MORE.

Free Hearing Aids

Montgomery County has partnered with Access HEARS to offer FREE hearing aids to eligible seniors. If you're 60+, check eligibility here.

Mobile Job Center

WorkSource Montgomery and the Montgomery County Workforce Development Board has 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.

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program

This program provides benefits for water and wastewater costs for low-income households experiencing hardship with their water bills. See flyer in English and Spanish and view a postcard.

Lifelong Learning Courses

Registration for Montgomery College Lifelong Learning Institute Non-Credit Courses. Online and on-campus classes are available. View brochure here.

ESOL Classes for Adults

Find an ESOL class from MCAEL here.

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Volunteers and Community Partners Make a Difference

The Gilchrist team is thankful for our volunteer teachers who taught or assisted in English, computer, and citizenship preparation classes this fall.

Equally important are the relationships we build with local providers, such as the recent partnership with the Montgomery County Office of Human Resources, Community Action Agency.

Read more about the impact of volunteers and community partners here.

For more information about classes and information and referral services, visit

Immigration, Citizenship, and Legal Services

December Workshops and Information Sessions

The Montgomery County Maryland Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program Legal Clinic offers free in-person consultations twice a month at the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center in Gaithersburg and Wheaton, TESS Community Action Center and East County Community Recreation Center! Visit the website for program details. For more information about pro bono services, view the flyer and brochure in English or Spanish.

The Rita Rosenkrantz Family Law Training Program provides free legal training for attorneys who agree to take a pro bono case. To learn more, visit the Bar Foundation CLE page of the BAMC website at or contact Yesenia at 301-340-2534 or [email protected].

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

TPS for Cameroon and TPS Venezuela Cases

CASA is accepting TPS for Cameroon and Venezuela cases. Interested applicants can register through these links:



Free Citizenship Application Consultations by APALRC

The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC) will hold in-person appointments for those seeking assistance 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 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. Click here for details.

Assistance is available in many languages. You must be a legal permanent resident to apply. Click here to request assistance, visit the APALRC website, or call the APALRC Helpline at 202- 393-3572.

HIAS Legal Services

HIAS provides legal services to asylum seekers, asylees, and others 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, contact the legal intake line at 301-844-7248 on the first Friday of every month between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Interpreters are available. Walk-ins are not accepted.

Montgomery College Free Citizenship Preparation Program

Are you a legal, permanent resident preparing for the US citizenship test and interview? Montgomery College provides FREE citizenship preparation classes via Zoom and in-person.

In partnership with Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services, the program offers help with the N-400 application for naturalization.

For more information, contact

[email protected] or click here.

Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA)

MCASA is a federally recognized state sexual assault coalition and is responsible for certifying comprehensive rape crisis/sexual assault programs to ensure services are survivor-centered. MCASA includes the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI), which provides direct legal services to survivors of all ages across the state of Maryland. For further information, call 301-565-2277 or visit the website.

University of Maryland Safe Center

The University of Maryland SUPPORT, ADVOCACY, FREEDOM, AND EMPOWERMENT (SAFE) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors provides survivor-centered and trauma-informed services that empower trafficking survivors to heal and reclaim their lives.  

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

CASA, in partnership with Montgomery County, offers 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 Community Advisory Groups

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

African Affairs Advisory Group will meet virtually at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 14. For more information, contact [email protected] .

African American Advisory Group -- For more information, contact [email protected].

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will meet on Tuesday, December 5. If you would like to attend, contact Mr. Yi Shen at [email protected].

Caribbean American Advisory Group will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5. To attend the meeting, contact Rodrigue Vital, Caribbean American Liaison, at [email protected].

Faith Advisory Group will meet at 6 p.m. on Monday, December 18. The virtual meeting will focus on budget concerns for the faith community in Montgomery County. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, contact [email protected].  

Latin American Advisory Group will not meet in December. LAAG co-chairs will be meeting to plan January’s Community Conversation. For more information, contact Jessy Mejia Terry, Latino Liaison, at


LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on Zoom from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m on December 18. For more information, contact Amena Johnson at [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group meets from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m, on the fourth Wednesday of each month. If you are interested in attending the meeting, contact the Middle Eastern Liaison for more information.

Volunteer Center

Sign Up for MLK Day of Service - Registration Open!

On Monday, January 15, the Volunteer Center will hold its annual MLK Day of Service to celebrate the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event will feature a variety of volunteer service projects for people of all ages! Projects will be underway at the North Bethesda Marriott and several community recreation centers. Participants also will be able to connect with local organizations to learn more about their missions and volunteer needs. To find out how to participate and to register, visit

African Community


The 12th Annual Banquet for the Elite Soccer Youth Development Academy (ESYDA) celebration was held on November 12 at the Civic Center in Silver Spring. ESYDA offers year-long and seasonal soccer programs for children and youth as well as academic support.

The African Affairs Advisory Group serves as the liaison between the African communities in Montgomery County and the Montgomery County government. The purpose of the advisory group is to ensure that the County is well-informed and able to act effectively to respond to the needs and concerns of African immigrants living and/or working in Montgomery County, Maryland. For more information, click here.

To learn more, visit Facebook: @Africanaag

Instagram: @Africanaag | Twitter: @Africanaag

YouTube: AAAG Channel

Asian Pacific American Community

Indian and Vietnamese Businesses Interested in Montgomery County

County Executive Marc Elrich, Council President Evan Glass and representatives from area businesses traveled to India and Vietnam for a two-week economic development trip. Mr. Elrich reported that 11 companies expressed interest in opening operations in the County. To read more, click here.

State and Local Officials Join Diwali Celebrations

Diwali is celebrated by a variety of faiths across India and its diaspora. Known as the festival of lights, the holiday symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. See photos below.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Lt. Governor Aruna Miller and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich celebrated Diwali with members of the South Asian community at Universities at Shady Grove.

County Executive Marc Elrich held a Diwali Celebration at the Executive Office Building. He spoke about the importance of Diwali to the County's diversity and culture. The evening included food and performances from various South Asian countries.

LatinAsian Fusion Celebration at Montgomery College

Montgomery College hosted its first LatinAsian Fusion Celebration in November to commemorate its federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI). The evening featured performances and food from Latin and Asian cultures, and a panel discussion with local entrepreneurs.

Caribbean American Community

Haitian and Other Caribbean Newcomers Arrive in the County  

According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), their Silver Spring office has served more than 700 Haitian newcomers and other Caribbean nationals seeking resettlement help. Over half of the newcomers served are Montgomery County residents. Read more about outreach efforts here.

Middle Eastern American Community

Meeting Updates

MEAAG Monthly Meeting

MEAAG held its monthly meeting on October 25. Guest speaker Lobna Ismail, Founder and President of Connecting Cultures, spoke about reducing tensions, breaking barriers, and building relations across cultures. 

Author Conversations

MEAAG and the Montgomery County Public Libraries' virtual branch will launch their new free meet-the-author book talk series. Details will be announced soon. If you want to participate in these conversations, contact MEAAG member Karen Leggett.

Voter Education Initiative

In partnership with the Montgomery County Board of Elections, MEAAG launched its Voter Education Initiative (VEI) in September. As part of the initiative, the Board of Elections presented a resource table during the Resource Fair for Youth and Adults with Disabilities and Their Families on November 5. The event was organized by the Montgomery County Transition Working Group and was aimed at teens and young adults with intellectual disabilities and autism. Fifty vendors and exhibitors participated and nearly 300 people attended. The next resource fair will be held on April 7 at Montgomery College.  

Middle Eastern American and Arab American Heritage Months Celebrations

The Office of Community Partnerships will organize two celebrations in March and April 2024 to celebrate Middle Eastern American and Arab American Heritage months. Local Middle Eastern American and Arab American community businesses, nonprofits, artists, and vendors are invited to exhibit free of charge, but no sales transactions are permitted. Contact OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison for more information.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison. Volunteers will receive certificates of recognition, and student volunteers are eligible to receive SSL credits.

Volunteer and Earn SSL Hours

Are you interested in making a difference in seniors' lives? The American Muslim Senior Society (AMSS) needs your help with food delivery, packaging, and pick-up. Contact AMSS at 301-335-9961 or email [email protected]

Faith Community

December Holidays and Days of Interest

Hannukah (Chanukah), 12/7 – 12/15 | Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 12/8 |

Bodhi Day, 12/8 | Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, 12/17 | Yaldaa, 12/21 |Gita Jayanti, 12/22 | Christmas Day, 12/25 | Kwanzaa, 12/26 – 1/1


Upcoming Events

County Executive Marc Elrich will host a celebration for Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Birth Anniversary from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on December 13 in Rockville. Advance registration is required. Click here to sign up.

November Activities

Click here to view.

Addressing Hate Crimes

We have seen an increase in hate crimes in our community, targeting Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, and other communities. We will not stand for hate in Montgomery County and remain dedicated to finding ways to support our diverse communities during this challenging time.

This video shares a message from the County Executive following conversations he has had with Jewish, Muslim and Christian members of our County who are mourning the loss of loved ones abroad as well as those impacted by hate here at home.

The video also shares an announcement from the County Executive regarding an expedited $311,700 in Nonprofit Security Grant funding to Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian communities in Montgomery County to enhance security measures. Since the outbreak of violence in Israel and Gaza, concern has risen that these communities have been, or will be, threatened by violence and other crimes motivated by hate and bias. These awards will provide immediate assistance to the organizations receiving funding to invest in various security measures to protect their communities and facilities. Learn more here.

LGBTQ+ Community

The 2023 LGBTQ+ Survey Report is available at Watch a conversation about the survey results on Montgomery Municipal Cable by clicking the image below.