The time is always right 
to do what is right.
--Martin Luther King Jr.
In This Issue
MLK Day of Service 2017
Stand Together in Service

MLK Day 2016
Make Monday, Jan. 16--Martin Luther King Jr. Day--a day ON, not a day off, by participating in  Montgomery County's MLK Day of Service 2017.

Honor Dr. King's life and teachings by  signing up today to volunteer at one of the following project sites coordinated by  the Montgomery County Volunteer Center and its partner agencies. Each site will feature a variety of family-friendly service projects to choose from--everything from preparing food for the hungry and making blankets for hospice to creating cards for overseas troops and seniors. All activities are pre-approved by MCPS for student service learning hours.
Sorry, the Germantown site is now full.

Additional opportunities to volunteer throughout the service weekend are listed on the January Volunteer Center calendar, and several are highlighted below.  Help spread the word about all of these ways to help by signing on to the MLK Day 2017 Facebook event and by using the hashtag #MLKMontCo in social media posts.

Other MLK Day activities aimed at strengthening our community include a screening/interfaith panel discussion of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, 10 am-12 noon, in Spencerville, and a birthday tribute to Dr. King, 3:30 pm, at The Music Center at Strathmore. 

For more information about the MLK Day of Service, call 240-777-2600 or email us.
Charles W. Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center
Volunteers Help Welcome and Teach Immigrants

Gilchrist class
Volunteer Paula Rosenthal with graduates of the Gilchrist English level 4 class she teaches in Germantown
The Charles W. Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center , a Montgomery County government agency, serves as a testament the county's commitment to building one of the most welcoming communities in the world. By connecting immigrants with educational, economic, and civic resources, the center aims to strengthen the entire county by nurturing a thriving multicultural community where every resident feels welcome, participates civically, and contributes positively to the economy.

Immigrants--including those new to our area as well as longer-term county residents--rely on the center for a variety of resources. Some turn to the Gilchrist Center for information and referrals to programs and services offered by government agencies and community organizations, which the center provides through its website, multi-lingual publications, and in-person service centers in Wheaton, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, and Germantown. Others look to strengthen their life skills through the English and basic computer classes offered by the center. And still others work with the center to gain the knowledge needed to prepare for civic life and/or U.S. citizenship.

Much of this help is provided by volunteers who contribute their talents to the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center. In fact, volunteers teach all of the 40-plus English and computer classes the center offers throughout the year. Volunteers also assist with data entry, administrative support, outreach, and special projects. With the center now gearing up for its winter session classes, it is now recruiting basic computer skills instructors to teach the fundamentals of Microsoft Word, internet use, and email on Wednesday mornings in Gaithersburg or Monday or Tuesday evenings in the Briggs Chaney area. Training and curriculum are provided.

Many Gilchrist Center volunteers return session after session, year after year. Ask them why, and they point to rewards of making a difference in the lives of the enthusiastic immigrants they serve--plus making connections with neighbors from other countries. As one volunteer notes, "After receiving a visit from a previous student, I had no doubt that I had made a huge difference in her life, and that surely it was happening for others each year that I came back to teach these hard-working adults the English language. That is what keeps me coming back."

To learn more about the Gilchrist Center and ways to help it strengthen our multicultural community every day, visit the center's website, call 240-777-4940, or email Anna DeNicolo. The center can also connect you with other opportunities to help immigrants and refugees in our region.
Volunteering Is a Great New Year's Resolution!
Start your 2017 by giving back to our community. Here are just a few of the opportunities listed on the Volunteer Center's website. Check our calendar for more date-specific opportunities and our newest listings for those posted most recently. Or use the red box on our home page or at the top of this email to search for more opportunities. 
SSL Icon
T hese opportunities are pre-approved to provide MCPS Student Service Learning (SSL) hours. Others may be eligible for SSL hours.  
Visit  the MCPS SSL website to learn more.  

SSL Icon Soup Kitchen Helpers: Saturday, Jan. 7, 8 am-12:30 pm, Washington. Prepare food at DC Central Kitchen for individuals experiencing homelessness. Sponsored by Kerala Association of Greater Washington. Minimum age: 12. Sign up online, email Nirar Basheer, or call 202-230-7507.

Indoor Pool Party Assistants: Sunday, Jan. 8, 1-5 pm, Takoma Park. Set up for a splash and pool play party sponsored by the city of Takoma Park, help during the party, and assist with cleaning up. Email John Webster or call 301-891-7225.

MLK Outdoor Cleanup Volunteers: Saturday, Jan. 14, 10 am-12 noon, Bethesda. Join KindWorks in its adopt-a-road efforts. Pick up trash and recyclables along Sangamore Road and help pull invasive species. Minimum age: 12 (or accompanied by an adult).  Email Deb Lang or call 301-792-3708.

Food Drive Workers: Saturday & Sunday, Jan. 14-15, 11 am-2 pm and/or 2-5 pm, countywide. Encourage shoppers to participate and collect their contributions at food drives at 27 Giant locations across the county benefiting Manna Food Center. Collections will be held outdoors or indoors, at the discretion of each store manager. At least one adult supervisor  (over age 21) must be present at each location. Sign up online .

Park and Trail Cleanup Crews: Saturday, Sunday & Monday, Jan. 14-16, shifts available between 9 am and 3 pm, countywide. Remove invasive plants and pick up trash at streams, parks, and trails within Montgomery Parks. Or host your own volunteer project in one of the system's parks. Minimum age: 14 (or accompanied by an adult). Email Lynn Vismara or call 301-495-2504. 

Gym Painters: Monday, Jan. 16, 10 am-4 pm, Silver Spring. Refresh the paint at the Arc Montgomery County's child care center gym. Groups of volunteers particularly welcome. Email Deborah Mark or call 301-984-5777 x1245.

Weed Warriors: Monday, Jan. 16, 1-3 pm, Bethesda. Remove invasive vines and non-native plants from the Little Falls Stream Valley Park. Hand tools and gloves provided by project sponsor Little Falls Watershed Alliance. Minimum age: 14 (or accompanied by an adult). Email Sarah Morse or call 301-907-3298.

Outdoor Beautification Volunteers: Monday, Jan. 16, 8 am-5 pm, Takoma Park. Remove brush, clean up debris, and pick up litter around the city of Takoma Park. Email John Webster or call 301-891-7225.

Financial Literacy Instructors: Wednesday, Jan. 25, 8 am-3 pm, Gaithersburg. Teach 6th graders about budgeting, credit cards, debit cards, and insurance through fun activities and games. Sponsored by Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, which provides a pre-developed curriculum and volunteer training. Additional volunteer opportunities on Friday, Feb. 3, in Rockville, plus Wednesdays, Feb. 8 or 15, in Bethesda, and more dates and locations in the spring. Email Leesa Rugg or call 240-487-7546. 

Reading and Health Volunteers: Engage children in  literacy and health activities while they (and their parents) are sitting in  Department of Health and Human Services waiting rooms in Germantown, Rockville, and Silver Spring. Volunteers with the JCA Heyman Interages Center read with children, talk about shapes/colors/numbers, discuss healthy eating, draw/color, and more. All materials provided. Minimum age: 50. Requires at least a two-hour weekly commitment. Email Bonnie Leko-Shapiro or call 301-255-4239.

SSL Icon Animal Enrichment Assistants: Prepare and create items that enhance the lives of animals at the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center in Derwood. Stuff Kong toys, make busy buckets, create scent sticks, and so on. Minimum age: 18 or accompanied by an approved supervisor or staff member. Email Lea Ann Gross or call 240-773-5696.

Mentors: Work with an individual or group of individuals who can most benefit from your guidance. MentorPrize recruits mentors for a variety of local organizations that serve a broad range of constituencies--from at-risk youth to immigrants struggling to gain a foothold in the job market--and matches volunteers with opportunities that suit their interests. Email Leslie Adelman or call 301-346-1799.

Facility Organizers: Clean and organize Montgomery Station, Family Services Inc.'s day center in Gaithersburg for adults struggling with mental illness.  In just a few hours, a group of about 20 could clean out the facility's refrigerators, organize storage spaces, put together binders for the office, and even prepare lunch and enjoy a meal with clients.  Minimum age: 18. Email Mary Murphy or call 301-840-3183.
Volunteer Training Offers Special Skills 

Some volunteer positions count on specialized knowledge that can really only come from the organization that seeks those volunteers. And, thus, some organizations offer specialized training for potential volunteers. Here are two such upcoming volunteer learning opportunities:

Hospice Volunteer Training: Learn how to enhance the quality of life of individuals and families facing life-threatening or terminal illnesses. The Jewish Social Service Agency, a non-sectarian community agency, offers a 20-hour training session for prospective volunteers interested in making a difference in the life of a patient or family and willing to commit at least two hours a week as a volunteer for the organization's hospice or Transitions program. Next training session: begins Sunday, Jan. 22, 9 am-3 pm, in Rockville. Email Carrie Myatt or call 301-816-2611 at least five days in advance.

FrogWatch Volunteer Training: Study identification of frog and toad calls in preparation for serving as volunteer with the national FrogWatch program, which tracks data on these amphibians and the wetlands they inhabit. After attending a 90-minute training session sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, volunteers are asked to monitor a wetlands site for a three-minute period 30 minutes after sunset every week during the breeding season (February through August). Next session: Tuesday, Jan. 24, 6:30-8 pm, in Rockville. Email Ana Arriaza or call 240-777-7778.

Bone Builders Teacher Training: Learn and practice exercises designed to improve balance and increase bone density in preparation for leading free Bone Builder exercise classes for seniors throughout the county. Sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. Next session: Friday, Feb. 3, and Monday, Feb. 6, 8 am-5 pm, in Rockville. Email Phyllis Elperin or call 240-773-8268.
Know Any Amazing Volunteers? 

Of course you do! The real question is which ones you'll nominate for the 2017 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
  • Youth Achievement Award, for extraordinary volunteerism by residents 18 and under
  • Corporate Award, for outstanding volunteerism by a corporation
  • Community Service Awards, for extraordinary volunteerism by an individual or group
Nomination forms are now available online and are due on Friday, Feb. 24, at 5 pm.

Award recipients will be honored at a gala ceremony the evening of Monday, April 24, at Imagination Stage in Bethesda.
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 featured video explores the efforts of volunteers with EveryMind, including those who answer calls and texts for the organization's crisis hotline as well as those who help disabled, low-income residents manage their finances
Subscribe to Our Partner Newsletters

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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Montgomery County Volunteer Center