June 2021
The Spotlight
Helena Diaz
Helena Diaz 2021
Helena Diaz is a 20-year-old volunteer with M-NCPPC. Helena has dedicated hundreds of hours volunteering with the department and others places around Prince George’s County. She says the best part about her time with us so far has been working with our staff and animals at nature centers. Her volunteer experience started out as just something to do, but she quickly began to enjoy her time spent.
Helena volunteers at the Mt Rainer Nature and Recreation Center. Working with animals is a service Helena finds most enjoyable. She says she chooses to volunteer because often times giving up your free time to support an organization is something a lot of people won’t do. “Sometimes people need help and there’s not that many people to do it,” said Helena. She's made friends during her time at the Mt Rainer Nature and Recreation Center, not just with the visitors and staff but also with the animals. Helena’s weekly task allow her to connect with the animals. 
Helena Diaz 2021
“I cleaned their cages, fed them, swept, mopped, set up area for kids to play,” said Helena.
 Helena takes pride in volunteering. When she isn’t volunteering with us, she says she likes to give her time to day centers for seniors.
“These adults can’t do it themselves and the nurses have their hands full handling the adults so I thought maybe take a load off the nurse’s shoulder.” It’s the smile on each senior’s face Helena says keeps her going. “It’s good seeing the adults having fun with the activities that were set up for them,” she said.
Although Helena hasn’t had much volunteer experience this year or last year, due to the pandemic, she says she is more than ready to jump back into it. Helena says she’ll even allow the Department to pick her next place of service for her. “I hope they pick a place that has to do with animals.”
News Flash
Show Your Pride
We celebrate Pride in June. Pride month is a federally recognized 30-day celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual and/or Ally) All month long people participate in parades, parties and gatherings to celebrate the progression of equality across the world in the LGBTQ+ community. Some use this month to come out to family and friends. For others it is a reminder to stand tall in who you are and to be proud. Since 1978 the rainbow flag has been the iconic symbol for Pride month. Each color of the flag is significant. Red stands for life, orange stands for healing, yellow is for sunlight, green is for nature, indigo is for harmony and serenity and violet is for spirit. Even if you do not identify as LGBTQ+, you can still celebrate Pride month by showing your support to the community and equal rights for all.
In the Loop
Celebrate Pride With M-NCPPC
We are hosting the “In The Life LGBTQ+ Pride Celebration” virtual showcase and drive thru Saturday June 26.This event will focus on celebrating Prince George’s County’s LGBTQ+ community and allies. The free event is open to all ages. See more information on the flyer below as well as registration details.
What Is Juneteenth?
June 19th is recognized as the day the last enslaved African Americans were freed in 1865. Juneteenth, also known as African American Emancipation Day originated in Galveston, Texas. The word is a combination of 19th and June. The official holiday is recognized across the country. We are hosting a Juneteenth festival to celebrate. This year you can join the party either virtually or in person in our hybrid festival. The festival will include a virtual art exhibition, a panel discussion “Finding the Path to Healing: Addressing Historical Trauma and the Black Experience.” There will also be music and workshops. 

Here’s a rundown of events:

  • June 14 – 19 (Virtual) - Art Exhibition: Andi Cullins (Fiber Artist) 
  • June 17, 7 – 8:30pm (Virtual) - Panel Discussion: Finding the Path to Healing - Addressing Historical Trauma and the Black Experience 
  • June 18, 5 – 7pm (IN PERSON) - Juneteenth Celebration Kits Handout Drive-through. Juneteenth celebration kits for individuals to take home and plan their own celebrations. Kits include games, activity books, and historical information on Juneteenth. Limit of 2 Kits per vehicle. Drive-through locations are Montpelier Arts Center, Ridgeley Rosenwald School, and Oxon Hill Manor.
  • June 19, 10am – 3pm (Virtual) - Footprints and Roots: Organized by the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Prince George’s County Chapter. Keynote Speaker is Professor Dale Green, School of Architecture and Planning (Historic Preservation), Morgan State University.
  • June 19, 1 – 3pm (Virtual) - Juneteenth DJ Battle. Livestream event will feature DJ 2Tone Jones and DJ Miss H.E.R. 
  • June 19, 1 – 3pm (IN PERSON) - Juneteenth Mini Celebrations. These small in-person celebrations will include music, history activities, and arts activities. Celebrations will include stepping workshops led by Step Afrika! and art activities led by Creative Suitland and Words Beats & Life. Venues are Montpelier Arts Center, Ridgeley Rosenwald School, and Oxon Hill Manor. 
Hope to see you there! To learn more and register, click here!
Tackling Covid-19 In Prince George's County
The County is currently in Phase 3 of reopening. The Executive Order to lift the mask mandate went into effect May 28, 2021. Fully vaccinated individuals can resume normal activities without wearing a mask. People of Prince George’s County should still be cautious when out in public in order to keep themselves safe as well as others. The county is asking that residents continue washing their hands often and wear face coverings on public transportation, in all schools, childcare settings, and health care settings. If not already vaccinated, the county encourages people to go get vaccinated against COVID-19. Appointments are available here mypgc.us/COVIDVaccine as well as walks-ups at County Health Department clinics.

Please see more information from Prince George’s County's Phase 3 reopening below:

All capacity and distancing restrictions have been lifted for all indoor and outdoor venues in Prince George’s County. These establishments may resume normal operations.
All people’s ages five years and older are still required to wear a mask on any public transportation and in all schools, childcare settings, and health care settings. Masks are also required inside any State or County-operated Courthouse located in Prince George’s County as well as inside of the Department of Corrections. 
We strongly encourage unvaccinated individuals to continue wearing a mask until they are fully vaccinated and to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Individuals that choose to continue wearing a mask are free to do so. Please be respectful of fellow community members who continue to wear a mask, and please also be respectful of people’s personal space. Businesses that wish to keep a mask mandate in place are free to do so. Please be respectful of those establishments with policies still in place.
Student Service-Learning
The Maryland State Department of Education board has waived the Student Service-Learning hours requirement for this year's graduating seniors. As of now, next year's graduating seniors are still expected to meet the Student Service- Learning hours required to graduate from Prince George's County Public Schools.
You can still 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.