Happy New Year All!
2020 had plenty of unforeseen events, but we are ready to hit "go" for 2021. It’s been nearly a year since COVID-19 cancelled most gathering in person. So we will focus for now on staying connected virtually. This newsletter “The Volunteers’ Corner” will help you stay in the loop with what’s going on and volunteer services. We also want to hear ideas for upcoming newsletters. Enjoy!
The Spotlight
Volunteer Renee Domoguaer
Renee pictured in the Riversdale Garden (2007)
At M-NCPPC, we take pride in our accomplishments as well as all those who contribute to helping us reach them. This month, we highlight the outstanding service of one of the volunteers and how volunteering has made a great impact on our organization and her life. Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County has many opportunities for residents to serve in almost every division and facility throughout the organization. We match each person with an opportunity that best suits them, as well as the department, and we go from there.

This month we highlight Renee Domoguaer, a resident of College Park, who has been a volunteer with the Department of Parks and Recreation's Riversdale House Museum for ten years. “I had retired from my long years of teaching and I wanted an outlet for my energy- I have a lot of energy and I thought, I wonder if there’s a garden over there at Riversdale,” said Renee. Renee says for as long as she can remember she’s been volunteering in her community. From delivering books to homebound residents at her local library, to coordinating the annual plantings on the Trolley Trails in Calvert Hills. It was after she retired from her fulltime job, that she decided to join this opportunity at Parks and Recreation.

Renee is a volunteer Gardener/Student Tour Guide at Riversdale who truly enjoys her responsibilities. In fact, she was one of the first volunteer gardeners when the Riversdale garden first opened. Renee goes to Riversdale once a week in the morning and spends about three hours in the garden. She says, so far, she has been enjoying it. She does everything from harvesting, planting, pruning to cleaning. She has even stepped in and served as a tour guide, helping share pieces of Prince George’s County’s history with children visiting on school field trips.
Renee pictured showing students how to make 19th Century cupcakes (2008)
Renee says she sometimes recruits new helpers, and has had some memorable moments doing so. Giving time to the community is something Renee says she feels strongly about. “For someone who has the time and the energy and the interest, it’s just so much need,” said Renee. “Somethings just simply won’t get done unless volunteers step up to do them,” she said.
Renee pictured in the Riversdale Garden with Joe Mudd of M&D (2018)
And while, volunteering for Renee has been quite rewarding,
Riversdale staff say they are very fortunate to have her and the many community members who also give up their time. “She was always somebody that I could count on and rely on,” said Samantha Ferris, Riversdale Assistant Director. “Renee is a great example of someone who knows multiple facets at Riversdale,” said Samantha. “She’s someone who can really show the connections of how the gardens relate to the historic house,” said Samantha. Community members like Renee have been a huge help at the facility. “Volunteers are the thing that keeps us going,” said Samantha. “She is an example of how positive volunteering can be for someone else,” Samantha added. For Renee, she doesn’t plan on stopping her gardening anytime soon! “I’ve always felt welcome, I’ve always felt very much a part of it, and very much appreciated,” Renee said.
News Flash
The Legacy and Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Lives On
Each year we remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and this year will be no different. Although we still have a long way to go as a nation, we would not be where we are today without the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year Volunteer Services is celebrating through the arts. We will host a poetry composition and display artwork from volunteers. The poetry readings will take place in February and the student’s artwork will be revealed during this year’s Black History Month celebration. This showcase of artwork and poetry will be something you don’t want to miss. We'll have all the highlight's in next months newsletter.
COVID-19 on Your Mental Health 
Staying safe and protected from exposure to COVID-19 is one thing, but trying to maintain a level of sanity through it all is another. We offer solutions for anyone who may be feeling overwhelmed during these times. The Prince George’s County Health Department has resources available. See the flyer for more information on how to reach a professional. 
On the Look Out
Get Vaccinated for COVID-19 
Many people in Prince George’s County may be wondering when they will be able to get the new COVID-19 vaccine, but the vaccination roll out is still in very early stages. The vaccine distribution started January 18 and is currently in Phase 1B. See the chart for the phases and who will have access to the vaccine and when.
A Tennis Complex in Prince George’s County?
M-NCPPC is partnering with the Maryland Stadium Authority to conduct a survey about a proposed tennis complex. We’d like to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts!

In the Loop
Volunteers Matter
During these unprecedented times, many of our in person volunteering opportunities have come to a standstill. Even though COVID-19 has put a damper on pretty much everything, we’d like to remind you that your services are very much appreciated! Volunteering makes a huge difference in our community and in our organization. Your service not only support us, but research shows volunteering benefits you as well. It’s known to reduce stress, keep you active, mentally and physically, as well as keep you social. Your service has been a backbone to M-NCPPC and we look forward to seeing you again very soon!

Student Service Learning
M-NCPPC gives Prince George’s County students the opportunity to complete a meaningful volunteer service within their community as well as gain a great learning experience. Student Service Learning allows students to take what they have learned in the classroom, then apply it in real word scenarios. These hours spent volunteering within our organization are documented, and go towards each students graduation requirements.

Students only have to complete an application one time and can select more than one volunteer opportunity.
If you have questions about volunteering or student learning hours contact jo-ann.martinez@pgparks.com.
If you have any ideas for upcoming newsletter features contact andrea.braswell@pgparks.com.