"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"

County Executive Marc Elrich

July 10, 2023 - Volume 179

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Immigration, Citizenship, and Legal Services

Advisory Group Meetings

Volunteer Center

African Community

Asian Pacific American


Caribbean American Community

Latin American Community

Middle Eastern Community

Faith Community

Montgomery Sister Cities


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.

Wheaton TGIF Summer Concert Series


The Wheaton Arts & Entertainment District is teaming up with the iconic Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center this year for its TGIF Summer Concert Series, offering an after-work summer celebration on Friday evenings through August 25. See flyer for details.

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.

Intro to Homebuying

Ready to buy your first home in Maryland? Please register to take this class by filling out the intake form at the following link. Sponsored by the Latino Economic Development Center.

Help Those Affected by Silver Spring Fire

The fire at the Arrive high-rise apartment complex on Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring on February 18 resulted in one fatality and injuries to multiple residents, as well as the displacement of hundreds of residents. More details are available here. At the request of Montgomery County, the Montgomery Housing Partnership is managing a dedicated relief fund to assist those affected by the fire. One hundred percent of donations will go directly to those affected. For more details, please click here.

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program

This new program provides benefits for water and wastewater costs for low-income households experiencing hardship with their water bills. See flyer in English and Spanish, as well as a postcard and bilingual handout.

Nonprofit Grants

Nonprofit Security Grant Program Technical Assistance Webinar Series

Click here for information.

Free Webinars

Empowered Women International and LEDC offert free webinars in English and Spanish. Click here for information.

Lifelong Learning Courses

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

Senior Planet in Montgomery County is offering virtual and in-person programs. Senior Planet helps seniors learn new skills, save money, get in shape, and make new friends. Learn more here.

ESOL Classes for Adults

Find an ESOL class from MCAEL here.

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Register for Free Citizenship Preparation Classes!

Registration is now open for summer citizenship preparation classes with the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center! Classes are open to Montgomery County residents, and run for 8 weeks. Please click here for dates and registration information. 

Community Navigation Forum

The Healthcare Initiative Foundation hosted a Community Navigation Forum at the Universities at Shady Grove on June 20. The forum focused on navigating public and private service programs, and addressed healthcare, homelessness prevention, early care and education, food security, utilities and emergency assistance, workforce and education, legal services, and solutions on the horizon. The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center participated in a discussion about legal services. A recording of each session will be published on the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center website once available.

Client Success Story

The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center provides referrals and helps Montgomery County residents find information about existing programs and services. The Gilchrist Center accepts walk-ins and phone calls (240-777-4940). Read the story that Jony Guisao Ospina, Program Associate at the Center, shared about a Montgomery County resident who reached out through the Information and Referral Service. 

Immigration, CItizenship, and Legal Services

July Workshops and Information Sessions

The Montgomery County Maryland Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program Legal Clinic offers 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 flyer and the 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 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 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 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.

HIAS 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.

Montgomery College Free Citizenship Preparation Program

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

In partnership, Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services offers help with the N-400 application for naturalization. Upcoming orientation sessions:

  • Wednesday, August 17 at 6:00 pm at the Rockville Campus
  • Saturday, August 19 at 9:00 am at the Rockville Campus

Classes will run for 10 weeks from October to December.

For more details, email [email protected].

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 the 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 [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, 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 will meet on July 13 at 7:00 pm.

For more details email [email protected].

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

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will meet on July 18. If you would like to attend, please email Mr. Yi Shen at [email protected].

Caribbean American Advisory Group has adjourned for the summer. Monthly meetings will resume in early September. For more information, please contact Rodrigue Vital, Caribbean American Liaison at [email protected].

Faith Advisory Group will not be meeting in July, and will reconvene in August. For more information contact [email protected].

Latin American Advisory Group -- For more information about the next meeting, email Jessy Mejia Terry, Latino Liaison, at [email protected].

LGBTQ Advisory Group -- For more information, please contact Amena Johnson at [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group - Please contact the Middle Eastern Liaison for more information about upcoming meetings.

Volunteer Center

Awards Ceremony Honors Outstanding Volunteers

The Montgomery Serves Awards, held on June 26 at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, honored eight individuals and organizations for their service to the community. Please view the program booklet to learn more about these extraordinary volunteers. To view videos of the Neal Potter Path of Achievement and the Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership honorees, click here.

African Community

Ethiopian Nurses Celebrate National Nurses Week

Ethiopian Nurses Association of Northern America (ENANA) celebrated National Nurses Week in May. ENANA honored the Nursing Profession by highlighting the hard work, dedication, and contributions of nurses around the world, while providing opportunities for education, inspiring the next generation, and opening doors to support students who are interested in a nursing carrier. To learn more about ENANA please visit Ethiopian Nurses Association in North America | Facebook.

Elite Soccer Youth Development Academy (ESYDA) Ends Season

The Elite Soccer Youth Development Academy (ESYDA) marked the conclusion of the 2023 Spring Soccer Season on Saturday, June 1. This event brought together youth and families for a full day of fun, food, and friends. ESYDA offers soccer training, college preparation, skills and workforce development programs, and social and economic programs

For more details about ESYDA's programs visit

Asian Pacific American Community

County Releases Health Care Providers' Handbook on Hindu Patients

Coinciding with the celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, The Health Care Providers’ Handbook on Hindu Patients was released in May, marking a major initiative by Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s Office of Community Partnerships Asian Pacific American Advisory Group (APAAG) This is the first handbook in the nation providing detailed information specifically for Hindu and Jain patients.

The County Executive's Asian Pacific American Advisory Group is working to release a Sikh handbook and a Muslim handbook later in the year. The APAAG plans to distribute the handbook to healthcare providers in Montgomery County. For more information, please click here.

Health Care Providers’ Handbook on Hindu Patients is available online for download here.

Healthy Communities Fund Grant Program

Montgomery County’s Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI), which is part of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, is now accepting applications for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Healthy Communities Fund grant program. The grant program offers $1.5 million in funding to support Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations in providing linguistically and culturally responsive services to the diverse community in Montgomery County.  Find more information here.

AAPI Heritage Month Celebrations

AAPI Heritage Month Celebration on May 21 at Seneca Valley High School. More than 1,000 community members attended.

Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC) Art Gallery hosted an art exhibit titled “Across Land, Across Water,” featuring six Vietnamese American artists.

Right: Celebration at the Kid Museum

Above: AAPI Heritage Month Celebration and Mother's Day Celebration held by the Taiwanese Benevolent Association of Greater Washington D.C. and the Global Federation of Chinese Business Women, Greater Washington, DC Chapter

Caribbean American Community

Caribbean Heritage Festival Draws Thousands

To celebrate Caribbean American heritage, several events and activities were held during June that showcased Caribbean cultures and individuals. On Sunday June 11, more than three thousand people assembled at Veterans Plaza in Silver Spring to participate in the Caribbean American Festival, which is becoming a major summer attraction in the County. County Executive Marc Elrich attended the festival for the first time. OCP Director Diane Vu, Communication and Outreach Manager Shawn Ellis, and the Caribbean American Liaison were present to engage with the community and provide information about Covid 19 and the dangers of fentanyl.  

Councilmember Sayles Hosts Celebration

On June 13, Councilmember Laurie Anne Sayles, the first Caribbean American elected to the Montgomery County Council, hosted a luncheon and proclamation to recognize Caribbean American Heritage Month.

Later that day, the County Executive’s Caribbean American Advisory Group, in collaboration with OCP’s Caribbean Liaison, presented a show at the Executive Office Building cafeteria that entertained over one hundred guests, including County Councilmembers, Caribbean born Maryland Delegate Gabriel Acevedo, representatives of City of Rockville Police Department, and former Caribbean diplomats.

Latin American Community

June Meeting on Homelessness Prevention

The Latin American Advisory Group met in June to focus on homelessness prevention and programs and resources available for those who may find themselves without a home or are imminently close to homelessness. The conversation was led by Ilana Branda, Acting Chief for the Office of Homelessness Prevention at HHS. The topics covered included the eviction process, services available related to different aspects of eviction or homelessness, the process of going to court, and the County’s goals to preserve affordable housing. For more details, please contact [email protected].

Bienvenidos Resource Fair

On Saturday, June 10, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Bienvenidos Initiative, which assists newcomer families settle in the County, held the Bienvenidos Resource Fair at White Oak Middle School from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The fair included over 30 resource tables representing different County agencies, MCPS, and the network of community organizations that serve this population. Over 100 people attended.

The next Bienvenidos Resource Fair will take place on Saturday, September 9 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. A special presentation for Hispanic Heritage Month will be included, and elected and regional leaders will be invited. For more details, please reach out to [email protected]

Middle Eastern American Community

MEAAG June Meeting

MEAAG held its monthly public meeting on June 14 at the Rockville Memorial Library,. Participants reviewed and evaluated the Middle Eastern and Arab American Heritage Month celebrations held on March 11 and April 30 and discussed MEAAG’s upcoming community engagement activities. 

Mental Health Summit Report

The American Muslim Senior Society’s 2022-2023 Mental Health Summit Report is now available. The report, “Addressing the Mental Health Crisis Within Communities of Color: Raising Up Seniors and their Families,” is the result of three years of Countywide community dialogues, webinars, and townhall meetings with seniors and their families, ethnically and economically diverse community groups, service providers, County and community agencies, interfaith and community leaders, and policymakers. The report underscores the urgent need for a robust mental health action plan for the county’s diverse, older residents and their caregiving families and is the basis for a second, soon-to-be-announced, “Call to Action” summit in 2023.

Faith Community

July Holidays and Days of Interest

Tirgan, 7/1| Guru Purnima, 7/3 | Dharma Day, 7/3 | Independence Day, 7/4 | Martyrdom of the Báb, 7/10 | Islamic New Year, 7/18-7/19 | Ashura, 7/27-7/28

Upcoming Events

July 26 - The Religious Land Use Working Group will meet at at 2:00 pm. For more information please email [email protected].

July 26 - The Resettlement Working Group will meet at 7:00 pm. For more information please email [email protected].

June Activities

Above: Faith Liaison Kate Chance attended Solidarity in Response to Gun Violence Shootings hosted at People’s Community Baptist Church on June 1.

Faith Liaison Kate Chance attended a meeting on affordable housing and the faith community hosted by Silver Spring United Methodist Church on June 8.

Above: County Executive Marc Elrich and Faith Liaison Kate Chance attended an Eid Al Fitr celebration at the Muslim Community Center on June 28.

Faith Liaison Kate Chance attended an event on racial justice hosted by the Greater Washington Community Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington on June 29.

Montgomery Sister Cities

Sister Cities International (SCI) US-Africa Summit

County Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles led the Montgomery Sister Cities (MSC) delegation as they traveled 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 included staff from Montgomery College, Sister City members, and community members at large. The group participated in plenary meetings, met with the United States Consul General/U.S. Embassy, Cape Town elected officials, business participants, councilmembers from other U.S based Sister City memberships, and experienced outreach opportunities in support of the "500 in 5" initiative to establish 500 sister cities in Africa over the next five years. View highlights from the trip in a video produced by Montgomery College Television.

MSC presents Picnic and Game Night with Big Train Baseball

Montgomery Sisters Cities was featured at Shirley Povich Field on July 1 for Big Train Baseball. Participants enjoyed a picnic and watched an exciting performances representing Montgomery Sister City, the Taiji Friends Club of Greater Washington, and the Qipao (Cheongsam) Club of Northern Virginia.

Morazan Sister City 

The Morazan Sister City Committee met in late June to begin planning its annual fundraising gala, to be held on Friday, September 22 from 6:30 pm to midnight at the Silver Spring Civic Center. The gala will be held during Hispanic Heritage month, and special guests will include County officials. Promotion will begin next month. For more details, please contact [email protected].

Want to learn more about Montgomery Sister Cities? Please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] or learn more at