February 2022
Rest In Peace
Devante "Biggie" Marcelis Woodley 
This month we honor the life of a volunteer who sadly passed away in early January. Devante "Biggie" Marcelis Woodley was born in Washington, D.C., attended Prince George’s County Public Schools, and received his high school diploma from Bladensburg High School. Biggie served as a long-term volunteer at Bladensburg Community Center and volunteered for two years with Safe Summer. Biggie was admired by many throughout the Department. Fellow volunteers describe him as kindhearted and friendly. His family says he was easy going and loving. He was respectful with a personality that could light up a room.
Family and friends shared that Devante enjoyed volunteering with Safe Summer and made it his mission to ensure the safety of the teens and keep them entertained. Biggie enjoyed watching wrestling, spending time with family and playing video games. Biggie’s father says one of Devante’s biggest dreams was to become an entertainer and travel the world. The Department sends its condolences to Biggie’s family, friends and the volunteering community as we heal from his untimely passing.
Little Known, Yet Significant Black History Figures
Baynard Rustin and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. August 1965
Barbara Jordan October 1976
Each February, we honor African-Americans who have shaped and changed the world for the better. Some of the most recognizable names are Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Harriet Tubman. It is also important to honor those who may not be as popular, but still made an huge impact in the world. This February we highlight civil rights activists Baynard Rustin and Barbara Jordan.
Baynard Rustin was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania March 17, 1912. He was considered one of the most influential organizers of the civil rights movements and a friend and close advisor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Rustin played a major role in Dr. King’s 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Rustin was appointed deputy director of the march that attracted more than 200,000 participants to march on the nation's capital. He was also an openly gay man, who fought for the rights of the LGBTQ community. Some believe Rustin's legacy may not be as popular as other civil rights leaders because he was openly gay, something that was condemned during that time in history. Even still, Rustin is remembered as an activist for the people. He was very visible in demonstrating and organizing non-violent protesting in the United States and around the world. Rustin died on August 24, 1987.
Barbara Jordan was born in Houston, Texas on February 26, 1936. She was a civil rights leader known for fighting for equal rights for African-Americans as well as women. Barbara was the first African-American elected to the Texas Senate in 1966, after Jim Crow re-disenfranchised African-American Texans in the 1880s. Barbara was more than a civil rights leader, she was also a lawyer, a teacher and a lawmaker. In 1972 Barbara became the first African-American woman from a Southern state to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. During her time in Congress, Barbara cosponsored a bill that would have given housewives Social Security benefits based on their domestic labor. She also supported the Equal Rights Amendment. Barbara was the first African-American, and the first woman to deliver a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention in 1976. Barbara died on January 17, 1996.
Be Kind, Spread Love
With Valentine's Day being this month, let the month of February also be a reminder to be kind to others and spread love. This month of love doesn't have to just be about romance. This is a time to also spread love to friends, family and associates. During these unprecedented times, we could all use a little extra love!
Looking Ahead
Women's History Month: Black Women In Aviation
Bessie Coleman,
First Minority Woman To Earn A Pilot License.
Bessie Coleman 1923
Willa Brown, First African American Woman To Earn Pilot License In The United States
Willa Brown 1942
Just ahead of Women's History Month this March, we highlight prominent women in African-American and women's history.
March has been recognized as Women’s History Month since 1987. It originally started in Santa Rosa, California as a weeklong celebration. It then grew into its own month. In this edition of The Volunteers' Corner we highlight two African-American aviators, Bessie Coleman and Willa Brown. Visit College Park Aviation Museum for more aviation history.
Bessie Coleman was born January 26, 1892 in Atlanta, Texas. She was an American pilot of African-American and Native American decent. Bessie became the very first minority woman to earn a pilot license. In the 1900's there were no aeronautical facilities that accepted minority women in America, so Bessie went to France to earn her license in 1921. When Bessie returned to the states she built her career as an airshow pilot. Bessie had plans to start an African-American flying school, but unfortunately died during a test flight in 1926.
Willa Brown was an African-American pilot born in Glasgow, Kentucky on January 22, 1906. In 1938, she was the first African-American woman to earn a pilot license in the United States. Willa was also the first African-American woman to serve as a Civil Air Patrol officer and the first African-American woman to run for United States Congress. She was the wife of Cornelius Coffey, also an African-American aviator. Together the couple founded the Coffey School of Aeronautics where they organized flight school for youth. Willa died July 18, 1992.
Happy Mardi Gras!
Happy Mardi Gras! Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", and is the last night of eating and feasting on rich, fatty foods before Lenten (Lent) sacrifices and fasting. Lenten season is the 40 days before Easter in the Christian religion. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on the Thursday before on Easter Sunday. Mardi Gras will be celebrated on Tuesday March 1, then Lent will be observed from March 2 to April 14. This year Easter Sunday is April 17.
Do you have an interest in saving lives and keeping your community safe? Are you at least 16 years old or older? Becoming a lifeguard may be the perfect new gig for you! Find out how to register for our Lifeguard Pre-Test and join a remarkable aquatics team. Last year lifeguards at the Wayne Curry Sports & Learning Complex were nominated for the American Red Cross Life Saving Award, after rescuing a senior who became unconscious while exercising in the pool. Click here for more information on how to join the team!
President's Volunteer Service Award
Are you eligible for the President's Volunteer Service Award? If you have provided 100+ hours (50+ hours for ages 13 to 15) of unpaid acts of volunteer service benefitting others within a 12-month period, you may be eligible to be nominated for the award. The award package includes a customized certificate, choice of the official pin, coin, or medallion and a congratulatory letter signed by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Contact Volunteer Services & Community Partnerships Manager Teresa Gardner-Williams at teresa.gardner-w@pgparks.com or 301-446-3321 if you would like more information.

Sign up for student-service learning opportunities and record your hours here!
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If you have questions about volunteering or student-service learning hours, contact jo-ann.martinez@pgparks.com.
If you have any ideas for upcoming newsletter features, contact andrea.braswell@pgparks.com.