"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"

County Executive Marc Elrich

October 3, 2023

Volume 182

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

LGBTQ+ 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.

Community Conversations

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, along with the County’s regional services offices and community partners, will host 10 Community Conversations from September through December to seek input on the Fiscal Year 2025 Operating Budget. Click here for more information.

Hispanic Heritage Month at Montgomery County Public Libraries

Author Tony Medina will join Montgomery County Public Libraries’ Contemporary Conversations Series on October 11 in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Learn more here.

Impact of Hispanic Businesses in Maryland

As part of National Hispanic Heritage Month, check out these Hispanic & Latino-led businesses in Maryland as well as a variety of resources to help your business succeed.

Resource Fair for Teens and Adults with Disabilities and Their Families

The Montgomery County Transition Work Group is sponsoring a Road to Independence Resource Fair for people with disabilities and their families: Sunday, November 5, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm at College Living Experience (CLE), 401 N. Washington St., Rockville, MD.  More information can be found here.

Gaithersburg Holiday Giving Program

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

Bike Donation Drive


Do you have an extra bicycle you no longer need?

On Friday, October 20, 2023, Montgomery County's Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will sponsor a bike collection drive during Community Service Month. Donated child/adult bikes and bike parts will be accepted from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm (no bike helmets, please), Click here for flyer.

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.

Grant Opportunity

The Chesapeake Bay Trust in partnership with the Montgomery County Government, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announces the Clean Water Montgomery Grant Program, an opportunity to support watershed restoration and outreach projects and programs throughout the County! View the full funding opportunity details 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 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.

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.

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

Staff Departures

The Gilchrist Center announces the departure of Program Managers Anna DeNicolo and Yunie Hong. Anna DeNicolo managed the center’s English (ESOL) classes and was responsible for the Wheaton site. Yunie Hong joined the team in 2018 and was responsible for managing the Upcounty site. They carried these programs through the pandemic and beyond, and went above and beyond in every aspect of the Gilchrist Center’s operations, impacting the lives of thousands of Montgomery County immigrants. READ MORE

Welcome New Program Manager, Cornelius Kuteesa

Cornelius Kuteesa is the new Program Manager for the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center's East County site. Cornelius brings an array of skills and talents with experience in mental health rehabilitation, homeless services, policy research, and knowledge of Montgomery County’s Continuum of Care. READ MORE

Legal Clinics

The Gilchrist Center once again partnered with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland to host legal clinics on September 23rd in Wheaton. Through this partnership, people with a case before the immigration court were able to attend one-on-one clinics with attorneys for legal consultations. Thanks to the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland for providing their services at the Gilchrist Center.

Immigration, CItizenship, and Legal Services

October 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 in-person orientation sessions:

  • Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 6:00 pm, Rockville Campus Mannakee Building (MK) Room 103
  • Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 9:00 am, Rockville Campus Mannakee Building (MK) Room 103

Classes will run for 10 weeks from January to March. For more details, please email

[email protected] or click here.

Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA)

Lunch and Learn - Money Matters: Credit Restoration, Debt, and Bankruptcy, Wednesday, October 4 from 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm

on Zoom. For more information and registration, click here.

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. Click here for more information.

KIND Trainings

Introductory Training - Representing Children in Immigration Matters

Thursday, October 19, 2023, 9:00 am-11:00 am

Please register here by October 13.

Quick Topics Training - Advanced Topics in State Court/Q + A

Wednesday, November 8, 2023, 12:00 pm -1:00 pm

Please register here by November 3.

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 Community Advisory Groups

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

African Affairs Advisory Group will meet on Thursday, October 12 at 7:00 pm. For more information please email [email protected].

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

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

Caribbean American Advisory Group will meet on Tuesday October 3, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. The meeting will be virtual. To learn more about CAAG or to attend the meeting, please contact Rodrigue Vital, Caribbean American Liaison, at [email protected].

Faith Advisory Group will meet on October 16 at 6:00 pm. This meeting will focus on mental health resources in Montgomery County, and will be virtual. For more information email [email protected].

Latin American Advisory Group will be hosting a Meet-and-Greet with elected officials on Thursday, October 26 at the Executive Office Building. The event aims to create connections among community partners, Montgomery County elected officials, and representatives from various Latin American consulates. For more information, please contact Jessy Mejia Terry, Latino Liaison, at [email protected].

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on n October 16 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Please contact Amena Johnson at [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. If you are interested in attending the meeting, please contact the Middle Eastern Liaison for more information.

Volunteer Center

October is Community Service Month

Join us as we celebrate the spirit of service in Montgomery County.

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is hosting a Community Service Fair on Saturday, October 14 at 10:00 am at Brookside Gardens. Learn about opportunities to volunteer with local organizations. To learn more, click here.

Visit to choose a date-specific volunteer project from the October Calendar or sort through one-time opportunities to serve this Community Service Month.

African Community

African Heritage Month Proclamation

Montgomery County’s Proclamation of African Heritage Month was presented on September 5 to pay tribute to the history, heritage, culture, ancestry, values, and contributions of the African community in Montgomery County. This year’s celebration marked the 15th Anniversary of African Heritage Mont. The African immigrant population accounts for 16% of the County’s foreign-born population and is one of the fastest growing immigrant groups within the County.

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.

Asian Pacific American Community

September Events

County Executive Elrich attended the Confucius Day ceremony held by the Washington Metropolitan Confucius Memorial Ceremony Committee (WMCMCC). To learn more about Confucius Day, click here.

The Rockville Sister City Corporation in partnership with Taiwan Sister Cities held the 5th Annual Bubble Tea festival at Rockville Town Square. The event featured performances; vendors who sold food and bubble tea; and tables that provided information about Yilan City, Taiwan, Rockville's Sister City, .

The Coordination Council of Chinese American Associations (CCCAA) held a Mid-Autumn Festival (also known as Moon Festival and Mooncake Festival). The Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates the day when the moon is at its fullest and is also a harvest festival. Although the holiday is observed in different Asian countries, the main theme is family togetherness, giving thanks for the harvest and eating mooncakes. To learn more about Mid-Autumn Festival, please click here.

Caribbean American Community

Outreach to Haitian Newcomers

The Caribbean American Liaison and OCP’s Outreach Manager conducted an outreach event on August 27 for nearly 100 Haitian newcomers at Eglise de Dieu, a Haitian church in Burtonsville. The event was designed to address legal needs, provide employment and humanitarian services, and medical care. Service providers including AAHP, Rainbow Community Development, Central American Resource Center, HHS’s Babies Born Healthy Program offered services to the newly arrived Haitian individuals and families displaced from their Caribbean country due to unrest and gang activity. The outreach effort was repeated on September 30.

Latin American Community

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations Around the County

The County is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a diverse schedule of events and programming through October 15. A series of regional calendar of events are now available online at For a flyer, click here.

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations were launched on September 15 with the County Executive touring new Latino businesses and highlighting the community’s economic contributions. That evening, the first of the TGIF – Encore Concerts took place at the Marian Fryer Town Plaza in Wheaton. These concerts, held every Friday, feature a diversity of Latin rhythms and sounds, as well as a variety of Latin food, art, and artisanal drinks from small business vendors. Click here for TGIF flyer.

Hispanic Heritage Month also will include educational programming from Montgomery County Public Libraries and Montgomery College. All events are free and welcome the entire family. For more information, please contact Jessy Mejia Terry, [email protected]

Middle Eastern American Community

Voter Education

The Middle Eastern American Advisory Group met on September 27 via Zoom. The guest speaker, Gilberto Zelaya, PhD, Community Engagement/Public Relations Officer, Montgomery County Board of Elections, discussed voter registration and launched MEAAG's Voter Education Initiative for 2023-2024 in partnership with the Board of Elections.

Author Conversations

MEAAG and the Montgomery County Public Libraries' virtual branch will be launching its new series of free meet-the-author book talks. More information will be announced soon.

Middle Eastern American and Arab American Heritage Months Celebrations

OCP 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 at this public event, but no sales transactions are permitted. Please contact OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison for more information.

If you are interested in volunteering, learning more about the amazing Middle Eastern American and Arab American community and culture, and gaining hands-on experience in organizing community events, please contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison for more information. Volunteers will receive certificates of recognition and student volunteers are eligible to receive SSL credits.

Faith Community

October Holidays and Days of Interest

Mehregan, 10/2 | Shemini Atzeret, 10/6-10/7 | Simchat Torah, 10/7-10/8 | Indigenous Peoples' Day, 10/9 | Navaratri, 10/15-10/24 | Birth of the Báb, 10/16 | Birth of Bahá'u'lláh, 10/17 | Durga Puja/Ashtami (Hindu), 10/22 | Dussehra/Vijaya Dashami (Hindu), 10/23 |

Pavarana, 10/28 | Kathina, 10/28-11/27

Upcoming Events

The Office of Community Partnerships and the Upcounty Regional Service Center are hosting an event on Thursday, October 12 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm to connect faith and community leaders to local resources available in the County, and hear about their concerns. The meeting will feature speakers from a few County departments and will allow time for attendees to share their own experiences. Light food will be provided. Space is limited to 60 attendees, so only one individual per house of worship or organization, please. Register here.

The Office of Community Partnerships and the Silver Spring Regional Service Center are hosting a similar event on Tuesday, October 24 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Please register here.

The Religious Land Use Working Group will meet on October 25 at 2:00 pm. For more information, please email [email protected].

The Resettlement Working Group will meet on October 25 at 7:00 pm . For more information, please email [email protected].

September Activities

Please click here to view.

LGBTQ+ Advisory Group

2023 LGBTQ+ Survey Report

Montgomery County’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Group initiated an LGBTQ+ Community Survey in June and July 2022. The survey was designed to help County leadership establish a foundational understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ+ persons in Montgomery County that can inform and guide the County’s work in this community going forward, as well as provide a baseline with which to compare progress in the future. The 2023 LGBTQ+ Survey Report is available at

Montgomery Sister Cities

Morazan SIster City Gala

The Morazan Sister City hosted its Hispanic Heritage Month Gala on Friday, September 22 at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Over 150 people attended, supporting the Sister City Committee’s

fundraising goal and celebrating with live music, dinner, and networking. The County Executive's remarks focused on building a new phase of the Sister City relationship to support economic development and exchange. For more information, please email Jessy Mejia Terry.