July 2021
The Spotlight
Edwina Gibbs
Riversdale House Museum
This month we are highlighting volunteer Edwina Gibbs. Edwina is a 74-year-old volunteer who enjoys sharing her free time when she can. Over the last four years, Edwina has given her services at M-NCPPC festivals and The Riversdale House Museum. She became a tour guide at The Riversdale House Museum after she learned that one of her friends volunteered there. “It was close to my house,” said Edwina. She says she was initially reluctant about spending her time at The Riversdale House Museum because of its history with enslavement. “Originally they didn’t know very much information about the enslaved population,” and instead the focus was on the family that fled Antwerp during the French Revolution. For her, it was the history of slavery that made the house unique.
Over time, as more information was discovered about the men, women, and children that were enslaved at Riversdale, the docents "were starting to tell more about the enslaved population,” she added. The stories being told during the house tours became a tourist attraction for Prince George’s County, and more is being uncovered everyday with new research and exhibitions centered around those enslaved at Riversdale. Although Edwina has not volunteered in over a year because of COVID-19 closures she says she’s had an incredible experience. “I liked the people I worked with, and I liked the people who came to the house,” said Edwina. One of her most memorable experiences was meeting the descendants of the original owners of the house. She plans to come back to The Riversdale House Museum, but in the meantime she’s enjoying making her own contributions to the community. “I’m going to continue picking up trash along the Anacostia with my dog and that’s actually something where I can see visible results,” she added.
News Flash
M-NCPPC Lifeguards Saving Lives
The safety of our patrons while utilizing our community facilities is so important and the lifeguards at The Wayne K Curry Sports and Learning Center proved just that. Just a few days after Mother’s Day this year, a local pastor named Trent Earl Jr. was exercising in the competition pool. It was around 9:30 am when his heart gave out, nearly ending his life in tragedy. Pastor Earl of Florida Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, DC sank to the bottom of the pool, unconscious and unresponsive. Lifeguard Miguel Vargas was sitting in the lifeguard chair and immediately recognized there was an emergency. That’s when Lifeguard Sidnee Minor quickly made a call on the two way radio for someone to call 911. Then she went to grab the AED (Automated External Defibrillator). Miguel and another lifeguard named Rob White entered the water to pull Pastor Earl out on a backboard. Fieldhouse staff member John Cabatbat, who is also an EMT, heard the radio call and dialed 911. John ran to aquatics to start CPR on the pastor. As Sidnee placed the AED pads on the Reverend's chest, lifeguard Marcus Brown maintained crowd control, telling everyone to exit the water and to stand back.

Lifeguards continued CPR until Prince George's County EMS arrived. The 67-year- old pastor says he is grateful to be alive and thankful for the quick response of the staff. Aquatics Manager Carol Braswell is very proud of her team. "Four hours of lifeguard safety drills and training is required for American Red Cross certified lifeguards each month and that day the training paid off," said Carol. Carol says the lifeguards did not miss a beat with their immediate response. "It was the guard’s teamwork that saved Pastor Earl’s life." added Carol. The aquatic manager says they were able to accurately perform what they have been taught during drills, without panicking or drawing a blank. The rescue team has been nominated for the American Red Cross Life Saving Award along with a nomination to the Department’s employee performance recognition program. Interested in becoming a lifeguard? M-NCPPC pools can use your help. Find out more information on how to join the team here.
In the Loop
Ready, Set, KABOOM!
A new play space for children is coming to Suitland and M-NCPPC wants to hear from you! The new play space will be funded by Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) and Pepco in partnership with KABOOM! and M-NCPPC. The current space at the Suitland Community Center is 20 years old, and in need of changes. KABOOM! will help design a place for children ages 2 to 12 to jump, play and slide. It’ll include a new multisport court, and additional site enhancements. The new design will be 100 percent based on the community’s input and creativity. Right now the project is still in the community engagement phase so you have time to share your ideas. We are asking the community to make your suggestions through our online survey  or in person. Construction is set to start in the fall and there will be opportunities for volunteering in person during Build Week. See dates and links below to get involved.

Kids’ Design Session

This meeting is for children to come and explore their creative side.

Adults’ Design Session 

Adults who attend this meeting will have the opportunity to sign up as a volunteer to be on the planning committee's Build Week.

Build Week

Tuesday, October 12 through Friday, October 15, 2021, 8 am – 4 pm

Stayed tuned for registration link.
Welcome Back Seniors!
As the country slowly reopens after the impact of COVID-19, we also are continuing to reopen our facilities. We are happy to announce that five of our senior activity center doors are now back open to the public. The Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center, Camp Springs Senior Activity Center, Gwendolyn Britt Senior Activity Center, John E Howard Senior Activity Center and the Southern Area Aquatic Recreation Complex have all reopened this month. Each center has a variety of classes for seniors to participate in. Classes include dance, Zumba, theater, music, art and so much more. Click here to get moving at one of our centers!
Honoring Nelson Mandela
Nelson Madela was a former South African president and civil rights leader in the 90’s. He was an advocate for equal rights who was known for fighting against racism. Mandela was also known for his charitable contributions to society and his peaceful demeanor. In 2009, South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma made a decision to recognize Nelson Mandela's birthday, July 18th as Nelson Madela Day. South Africans also recognize July as Nelson Mandela Month. His birthday and the month is now gaining popularity and being celebrated by some internationally. It was created to inspire people to embrace the benefits of democracy and value a just and equal society for all. They also use this month as a reminder to spread peace amongst your community and to be leader. Mandela passed away December 5, 2013 in his home in Houghton, Johannesburg surrounded by family.
Join Us For A Backyard Burner
M-NCPPC is hosting a Backyard Burner for X-treeme Teens Tuesday August 3
7 to 9pm. It’ll be a walk on the wild side! Activities include a glow-in-the dark nature hike, campfire s’mores, corn hole and basketball at dusk. Ages 10-18 are welcome. Call 301-218-6700 for more information.
Student Service-Learning
Did you know that the Excellence in Education Foundation for PGCPS, Inc. recognizes the importance of Prince George’s County Public School students being actively engaged in student service-learning and offers a scholarship for graduating seniors who best personify an ongoing commitment to “exemplary service-learning"? That's just one example of the benefits of student service-learning.

It's not too soon to start earning hours. Sign up for student-service learning opportunities and record your hours here!
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.