-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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Volunteer Together on MLK Day of Service 
MLK Day 2017
What are you doing on Monday, Jan. 15--the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service? Join thousands of other locals in honoring Dr. King's life and teachings by taking part in Montgomery County's MLK Day of Service 2018

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center and our partner agencies are hosting  a wide variety of family-friendly service projects at three locations that day: North Bethesda (1-3 pm), Silver Spring (10 am-12 noon), and  Gaithersburg (9-11 am). The North Bethesda site, the largest location, features not only service projects, but also a volunteer fair where you can learn about local nonprofits and government agencies and their volunteer needs. 

At all three sites, participants will have the chance to help with service projects addressing a range of issues and can choose from activities such as packaging food for the hungry, crafting costumes for kids in hospitals, making dog toys for area shelters, creating hand warmers for the homeless, and writing letters to seniors and troops. Students will be eligible to receive SSL hours for participating at any of the locations.

Several of the Volunteer Center's partner agencies are sponsoring additional volunteer activities throughout the MLK Day weekend. These include Manna Food Center, which needs volunteers to staff its food drives at Giant Food stores around the county, and Montgomery Parks, which is coordinating park cleanups and other volunteer activities. Visit our online calendar of volunteer opportunities to find more ways to serve that weekend--and beyond. 
Literacy Council of Montgomery County 
Volunteer Tutors Change Lives
Literacy Council volunteers
LCMC tutor Stevie listens as her student practices new skills
Approximately one in six adults in Montgomery County struggles with low English proficiency or low functional literacy. The Literacy Council of Montgomery County (LCMC) seeks to bridge that gap--and in the process, build a stronger, more skilled, and more connected community--by providing English as a Second Language (ESL) and basic literacy tutoring, as well as ESL classroom learning. 

LCMC is able to offer these life-changing programs thanks to a committed group of volunteers--the largest volunteer corps of any nonprofit organization in Montgomery County. Because the need for LCMC's services is vital and growing, the organization is always in urgent need of additional volunteers.

LCMC's greatest volunteer demand is for tutors to work one-on-one or in small groups with students learning English or basic reading and writing. LCMC matches volunteers and students based on hours of availability and geographic convenience. Matched pairs or groups then meet in mutually convenient public places--usually in study rooms at the county's public libraries. Tutors generally commit to volunteering two to four hours per week.

LCMC provides full training to ready a volunteer to work with individuals who speak no English; tutors do not require knowledge of another language. The organization also provides lesson books, skills books, and teacher's manuals for a full four years of curriculum, plus supplemental materials that can help teach skills beyond reading, speaking and writing. In addition, LCMC staff offers specialized training for tutors who face specific obstacles with students, and delivers regular workshops, newsletters, office hours, and continuing tutor education opportunities to ensure tutors always feel supported and effective.

Literacy tutoring can transform the lives of the Literacy Council's students, whose new skills frequently lead to better education, employment, and daily quality of life. The program can transform the lives of LCMC's tutors, as well. Volunteers regularly report that tutoring offers them a chance to learn about new cultures through their students, and many gush at having made friends who have changed their lives. Tutors have often attend the naturalization ceremonies when their students pass their US citizenship tests and graduation ceremonies when they go on to obtain their GEDs.

Volunteers also report that tutoring with LCMC has helped them develop deeper empathy and compassion for people struggling with communicating, and say their experiences with their students have made them better neighbors. And there's the reward of simply helping someone grow. "If I can, in some small way, help a person in my community become more independent through improving their literacy," notes volunteer Harry, "then that's for me."

To learn more about the Literacy Council and how to become a volunteer tutor, email Ashley France, call 301-610-0300 x206, or visit the  LCMC website
Start Your Year With Volunteer Service
Get 2018 off to a great beginning by volunteering for one or more of the many opportunities available in our area. Here are just a few of the hundreds of volunteer positions listed on the Volunteer Center's website. Check our calendar for more date-specific opportunities or use the search box at the top of this email  or the top of our home page to search for more ways to serve. 
SSL preapproved
These opportunities are preapproved to provide MCPS Student Service Learning (SSL) hours--but  they're not just for students! Other opportunities may be eligible for SSL hours; visit the MCPS SSL website to learn more.

SSL preapproved SPLASH & POOL PARTY HELP: Sunday, Jan. 7, 12-6 pm, Takoma Park. Assist with various pool and land activities at a community-wide party sponsored by  City of Takoma Park. Swimming experience not necessary. Email Alexis Blackwell or call 301-891-7100.

SSL preapproved EVENT PREP VOLUNTEERS: Friday, Jan. 12, 6-8 pm, Vienna, VA, and Saturday, Jan. 13, 2-6 pm, College Park. Help Project Management for Change prepare for its annual day of service event. Friday volunteers will stuff swag bags, load files on USB devices, make name tags, and similar prep work.  On Saturday, activities will include setting up tables, cables, computers, and other supplies. Volunteers also needed on event day, Monday, Jan. 15. 

SSL preapproved MLK DAY OF SERVICE PARTICIPANTS: Monday, Jan. 15, 9-11 am, Gaithersburg;10 am-12 noon, Silver Spring; and 1-3 pm, North Bethesda. Work on your choice of many hands-on projects designated for a wide range of organizations serving the community. At the North Bethesda location, also learn more about ways to help nonprofits at a large volunteer fair. Coordinated by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center. Call 240-777-2600 or email service days coordinators.

SSL preapproved MOVE MORE MONTGOMERY EVENT STAFF: Saturday, Jan. 20, 12-5 pm, Rockville. Assist Montgomery County Recreation's Wellness, Fitness, and Performance Institute with the kickoff event for its annual health challenge, featuring healthy food samples, information booths, guest speakers, and family friendly activities. Minimum age: 16. Email Joanne Roberts.

SSL preapproved WAREHOUSE RENOVATION ASSISTANTS: Saturdays and Sundays, Jan. 20-21, 27-28, and Feb. 3-4, three-hours shifts begin at 10 am and 1 pm, Silver Spring. Help Leveling the Playing Field clean and paint its warehouse space. Email Maitlyn Healy or call 301-844-5622.

SSL preapproved SHELTER MEAL COOKS: Friday, Jan. 26, 11 am-1:30 pm, Gaithersburg. Prepare 200 weekend breakfasts for the men at the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless shelter. Ingredients and cooking tools supplied. No experience necessary. Coordinated by KindWorks. Email Deb Lang or call 301-792-3708.

SSL preapproved THEATER USHERS: Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 26-27 & Feb. 2-3, 7-9 pm, and Sundays, Jan. 28 & Feb. 4, 1-3 pm, Rockville. Greet patrons, scan tickets, hand out programs, and help visitors find their seats at Rockville Little Theatre's production of The Underpants. Volunteers also get to enjoy the show. Email Dean Fiala.

SSL preapproved MAPLE SUGAR EVENT ASSISTANTS: Saturdays and Sundays, Feb. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, and 24-25, 9 am-12:30 pm or 12:30-4 pm, Wheaton. Heat and serve warm pancakes with maple syrup to participants at Montgomery Parks's maple sugar tour and demonstration at Brookside Nature Center. Minimum age: 15. Adult tour guides also needed (Jan. 6 &20 training sessions required). Sign up online, email Lynn Vismara, or call 301-495-2504.

JOB COACHES: Help low-income/disadvantaged individuals with online job applications, resumes, cover letters, and other job search activities at CareerCatchers's Open Job Club, held every Wednesday, 11 am-1 pm, in Gaithersburg. Email Karen Shaines.

SSL preapproved GALLERY LIAISONS: Staff the information desk, lead tours, and provide other staff support for VisArts, which features three galleries in Rockville. Training provided. High school art students are especially welcome. Minimum age: 16. Email Rachel Martin or call 301-315-8200 x110.

PUPPY PARENTS : Help raise a future service dog for  Warrior Canine Connection , an organization that breeds, raises, and trains service dogs that it places with wounded warriors.  Information meeting : Tuesday, Jan. 9, 6-7:30 pm, in Boyds.  Email Cheryl Bingham  or call 540-809-2517. 

MENTOR PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS: Act as a facilitator, site coordinator, or mentor for the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office Truancy Prevention Program, which serves middle schoolers across the county with poor attendance records. Volunteers serve once a week for 10 weeks. Training provided. Minimum age: 18.  Email Yasmine Eleazar or call 240-777-7501.
Age 50+?
Put Your Skills to Work Improving Our Community
The Montgomery County Volunteer Center's new 50+ Volunteer Network connects skilled volunteers with nonprofit and government agencies that need assistance. This program is perfect for anyone who is at least 50 and wants to make a significant contribution of time and talent to the community, while still retaining a flexible schedule.

Through personal consultations, trained advisors will help participants find volunteer opportunities that fit their particular areas of interests, skills, and availability. Options may include:
  • Ongoing program management and support, such as editing a newsletter, providing administrative and client intake services, serving on a board of directors, or managing a program
  • Short-term consulting projects that use professional skills, like grant-writing, accounting, strategic planning, marketing, web design, or IT help
  • Direct services to clients in need, including mentoring at-risk students, teaching adult literacy, or providing career counseling to those in transition
For more information, visit the 50+ Volunteer Network online or email the program coordinators. You can also stop by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center table at our MLK Day of Service event on Monday, Jan. 15, 1-3 pm, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.
Montgomery Serves Awards Recognize Volunteers
Know any outstanding volunteers? Let others know about the difference they're making in our community--nominate them for one of the 2018 Montgomery Serves Awards. This prestigious annual awards program, Montgomery County's highest honor for service, recognizes volunteer efforts in the following categories:
  • Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award, for lifetime service by residents age 60 and up
  • Volunteer of the Year Award, for extraordinary volunteerism by an individual
  • Youth Achievement Award, for remarkable volunteers age 18 or younger
  • Group Community Service Award, for a group's noteworthy volunteer efforts
  • Corporate Volunteer Award, for outstanding community service by a business
Nomination forms are now available online and are due on Friday, Feb. 23, at 5 pm.

Award recipients will be honored at a gala ceremony the evening of Monday, April 30, at Imagination Stage in Bethesda.
Comcast Volunteer Video

New Video Highlights Volunteering in Montgomery County
Comcast Creative has released a short video offering an inspiring glimpse of volunteerism in Montgomery County, including footage and interviews with local volunteers, nonprofit leaders, and the Volunteer Center's own Molly Callaway. If you volunteer or care about service in this county, you'll love this media piece!
Watch the Ways to Make a Difference
Make a Difference , a monthly County Cable Montgomery program, highlights the contributions of stellar county volunteers and organizations that contribute positively to our community. This month's program highlights Montgomery County's MLK Day of Service, coming up Monday, Jan. 15. Watch it online here, beginning Jan. 4 .
Follow Us on Social Media and Get the Latest!
Learn about new and last-minute service opportunities, volunteer news, and information to inspire on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center Facebook page. If you haven't already done so, Like us to get the latest information in your Facebook feed. 

You can also stay connected through these links:
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The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is part of the Office of Community Partnerships, which works to strengthen the relationship between the Montgomery County government and the residents it serves, with special emphasis on underserved and emerging communities. Subscribe to the monthly OCP newsletter to keep up these activities.

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