"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"

County Executive Marc Elrich

September 1, 2023

Volume 181

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.

Hate Bias Reporting Forum - September 19

The forum will provide community leaders and members of law enforcement with important information in response to the 2022 Hate Bias Report for the State of Maryland. Tuesday, September 19, 2023, from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm at Montgomery College, Germantown Campus. For additional details, view flyer here.

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. The first conversation will be from 7:00 pm-8:30 pm on Thursday, September 14, at the Mid-County Recreation Center in Layhill. Click here for more information.

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.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Vietnamese American Services, Inc (VAS) invites families and children to the Mid-Autumn Festival 2023 on September 24, 2023, 3:00 pm-6:00 pm. Enjoy children's entertainment, food, and games. Click here for details.

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.

Join the Montgomery County Food Council

The Montgomery County Food Council is now accepting applications for new Council and Board of Directors Members. Click here for more intormation.

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.

Hello to Fall!

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Back to School Fair

The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center participated in the Montgomery County Public Schools Back to School Fair on Saturday, August 26 in Wheaton. The Center joined hundreds of other organizations to share information about its programs with thousands of parents, children, and families prior to the beginning of classes.

The Gilchrist Center will continue its partnership with the Maryland Pro Bono Resource Center to host free legal consultations at the Gilchrist Center in Wheaton on September 23. These consultations help people who live in Maryland and have a case before the immigration court. Flyers are available in English and Spanishl

Don’t miss registration for computer classes on September 5, and for citizenship preparation classes on September 11. If you would like to receive notification reminders by text or email, please sign up for updates.

Immigration, CItizenship, and Legal Services

September 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, September 13, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. Rockville Campus Mannakee Building (MK) Room 103
  • Saturday, September 16, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. Rockville Campus Mannakee Building (MK) Room 103

Classes will run for 10 weeks from October to December. For more details, email [email protected], visit the website, or view this flyer.

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.

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, September 21, 2023, 9:00 am-11:00 am

Pease register by clicking here.

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 meets virtually every second Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm. In lieu of the September meeting, the group will host the African Heritage Month Celebration. For more information please email [email protected].

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

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will meet on September 19. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Yi Shen at [email protected].

Caribbean American Advisory Group will meet on September 12 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 September 18 at 6:00 pm. This meeting will focus on the Montgomery Goes Purple initiative and how the faith community can be more helpful in supporting those suffering from substance use. For more information email [email protected].

Latin American Advisory Group is planning a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration with elected officials in October, date is still TBD. LAAG will not be meeting until October. More details to follow next month. For more information, email Jessy Mejia Terry, Latino Liaison, at [email protected].

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on September 18 from 6:00 pm-7:30 pm on Zoom. Please contact Amena Johnson at [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group - For information about the September monthly meeting, please contact the Middle Eastern Liaison to RSVP.

Volunteer Center

October is Community Service Month

Montgomery County has been commemorating our community’s spirit of service since 1986 when we designated a single Community Service Day in October. Join residents across the area for Montgomery County’s annual celebration of volunteerism—Community Service Month, which begins on October 1, 2023. Choose a date-specific volunteer project from the October Calendar or sort through the hundreds of ongoing volunteer opportunities using the website search filters to find the volunteer activities that are most meaningful to you.

Become a Volunteer Advisor with the Montgomery County Volunteer Center

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center (MCVC) is looking for volunteers to support the 50+ Volunteer Network as advisors! Each week, advisors meet 1 on 1 with prospective volunteers to guide them through the process of discovering their ideal volunteer opportunity. For details, check out the listing on the website or email [email protected].

African Community

African Heritage Month

Montgomery County’s Proclamation of African Heritage Month is scheduled for September 5, 2023 at 6:30 pm. African Heritage Month pays tribute to the history, heritage, culture, ancestry, values, and contributions that continue to enrich our diverse County. This year’s celebration marks the 15th anniversary of African Heritage Month, Montgomery County was the first in the nation to proclaim the month of September as African Heritage Month. The African immigrant population accounts for the 16% of County’s foreign-born residents. For more details please see flyer.

Pan African Festival USA (PANAFEST-USA)

Pan African Festival USA (PANAFEST-USA) is a cultural festival held in Silver Spring annually to celebrate African heritage and showcase the rich and diverse cultures of African countries through live performances, arts, crafts, African cuisine, African fashion, and music. The event, scheduled for September 23 from noon to 10:00 pm, provides a unique opportunity to educate the broader community about African culture and foster collaboration within African diaspora communities. Join the celebration or participate as a vendor! For more information visit Click here to view flyer.

Asian Pacific American Community

August Events

The Happy Life Vietnamese Seniors Group celebrated their one year anniversary on August 3. State and County officials joined in the celebration.

The Coordination Council of Chinese American Association (CCCAA) held a Chinese Community Picnic at the Black Hill Regional Park, which drew hundreds of Chinese community members. 

The Indian community celebrated the 76th India Independence Day on August 15. Lt. Governor Aruna Miller (pictured at left), the first Indian-American individual to be sworn in as Lieutenant Governor in the state of Maryland, helped commemorate the event along with other elected officials. Independence Day marks the end of British rule in 1947, brought about by the Indian Independence Act and the establishment of a free and independent Indian nation.

Caribbean American Community

Welcoming New Haitian Migrants

In early August, the Caribbean Liaision called for an urgent meeting with several Haitian interfaith and community leaders with the goal of forming a working group to coordinate relief efforts for newly arrived Haitian migrants in Montgomery County. Among the migrants are individuals and families who received the US government’s Humanitarian Parole Visa. Another group of Haitians was allowed in the country after being processed at various points at US southern borders with Mexico by DHS and placed under the status of asylum seekers. Since the early August meeting, the Office of Community Partnerships (OCP), along with the Burtonsville based Haitian church, Eglise de Dieu de Silver Spring (led by Pastor Joseph Berluche), has launched a series of outreach efforts to educate, provide guidance and help dozens of Haitian migrants living in the County connect to medical, MCPS and legal resources.

Latin American Community

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations Around the County

This year, the County will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of entertaining and educational events that will highlight family and community progress. All events are free and open to the public. Click here to view a preliminary schedule of activities. A comprehensive calendar of Hispanic Heritage Month events in Montgomery County will be made available online at For more information, please contact Jessy Mejia Terry at [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Community

Mental Health Summit Report Now Available

The American Muslim Senior Society’s 2022-2023 Mental Health Summit Report is now available. On September 11, AMSS will organize a roundtable, “Addressing the Mental Health Crisis Within Communities of Color: Raising Up Seniors and their Families,” to discuss its report resulting from 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 conveys key issues of concern for older community members and recommendations for short- and long-term policy and practice solutions that emerged from the summit sessions. 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

September Holidays and Days of Interest

Labor Day, 9/4 | Krishna Janmashtami, 9/6 | Paryushan, 9/12– 9/20 | Rosh Hashanah, 9/15 – 9/17| First Installation of Adi Granth, 9/16 | Vishwakarma Puja, 9/17 |Ganesh Chaturthi, 9/18 | Yom Kippur, 9/24 – 9/25 | Mawlid al-Nabi, 9/26– 9/27 | Sukkot, 9/29 – 10/1 |Birth of Confucius, 9/29 | Pitru Paksh, 9/29 – 10/14

Upcoming Events

September 4 - The Montgomery County Interfaith 5K will begin at 8:00 am. This inclusive event is designed to bring together people of different backgrounds to meet, socialize and work together to better the entire community. The 2023 Montgomery County Interfaith 5K will continue to donate its proceeds to support the local Montgomery County community. This year's profits will benefit Gaithersburg Help and C-4. For more information click here.

September 7 - The Office of Community Partnerships and the Mid-County Regional Service Center are hosting an event on Thursday, September 7 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. The goal is to better connect faith and community leaders to resources available in the County, and hear about their concerns. There will be speakers from several departments and time to hear from attendees about their own experiences. While much of the discussion will focus on resources and related topics, there will also be time to talk about substance abuse and overdose, and will include a Narcan training. Lunch will be provided. Space is limited to 40 attendees, so only one attendee per house of worship or organization, please. Register here. Similar events will be hosted in October for the other regional service areas, dates pending.

September 10 - IFCW’s Interfaith Unity Walk will take place on Sunday, September 10 from 12:30 pm-5:30 pm.Register here for the Walk or visit the website for more information and continued updates.

September 19 - The Central Maryland Hate Bias Reporting Forum, 8:00 am. Find more information and register here.

September 27 - The Religious Land Use Working Group will meet at 2:00 pm. For more information please email [email protected].

September 27 - The Resettlement Working Group will meet at 7:00 pm. For more information please email [email protected].

August Activities

Please click here to view.

Montgomery Sister Cities

Multi-Cultural Humanitarian Event

Join Montgomery Sister Cities on September 17, 2023 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm for a Multi-Cultural Humanitarian event at the Silver Spring Civic Center Building's Great Hall. Engage and enjoy performances by MSC's five Sister City programs: Morazán, El Salvador; Gondar, Ethiopia; Xi'an, China; Hyderabad, India; and Daejeon, South Korea! This celebration of Montgomery County's diversity will feature hands-on activities, international music, authentic food samples, and lively dance performances. If interested in being a vendor, please contact [email protected].

Morazan Sister City 

The Morazan Sister City Committee is 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. 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