VOLUNTEER NEWS AND OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE
Molly Callaway Retires
  • Molly Callaway, the face of the Montgomery County Volunteer Center for more than 25 years, retired last month. Kathleen Meaney Stobie, the Volunteer Center's AmeriCorps Seniors Program Director, will serve as Acting Manager until Molly's position is filled later this year.

"Molly has been instrumental in nurturing and growing the Volunteer Center into what it is today," says Diane Vu, Director, Office of Community Partnerships. "We will continue to build on her legacy."
SPOTLIGHT ORGANIZATION
After years of abuse, many domestic violence victims take a brave step: they come to local courts to seek legal protection. Too often, however, they experience inadequate safety measures, inappropriate demeanor by court staff, and insufficiently trained judges – and these impede their efforts to stop the violence.

Court Watch is determined to change that. Its cadre of volunteers collects data about what is happening in civil and criminal domestic violence courtrooms in Montgomery County, uses the data to advocate for systemic change in local courts, and shares promising new court practices. And it works. Today, because of Court Watch’s efforts, more survivors are protected from contact with their abusers in court; more children have safe, court-supervised visits with their non-custodial parent; and fewer abusers have access to guns. An investment here means justice – and safety—for thousands.

While most nonprofits provide direct services to domestic violence victims, since 2010, Court Watch has provided a unique niche in Montgomery County by facilitating change at the systemic level. These include sensible low-cost recommendations that result in improved judicial practices and protective orders with fewer gaps. The organization typically attracts intellectually curious and compassionate court monitors and data entry volunteers with respect for data collection and a penchant for social justice issues. Volunteers with an interest in the social sciences, law, public policy, data science, law enforcement, and criminology tend to be drawn to their mission although volunteers from diverse academic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds are valued for the different perspectives that they offer.

Becoming a Court Watch volunteer involves an investment in training and takes practice. Individuals who are interested in an ongoing commitment of several flexible weekday hours per month for the duration of at least a year make an ideal fit. The nonprofit may also choose to recruit one unpaid graduate school intern to work several hours per week on special projects for academic credit. No prior knowledge of the legal system is required. What matters is volunteers who enjoy learning and can serve as objective unbiased observers who wish to capture accurate data that could have a profound impact on the lives of future victims.

Volunteers interested in applying should carefully review the criteria outlined in any current opportunities posted on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center’s website and may submit an application. For more information contact Amy Kass, Volunteer Coordinator at (301) 279-9496, akass@courtwatchmontgomery.org.
 
FEATURED VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
Help Make it a Safe and Happy Halloween for Area Kids!
October is a time for the outdoors -- from fall clean-ups to Halloween celebrations. After more than a year of a pandemic, children are looking forward to the seasonal activities that make life feel a bit more normal. Beyond the seasonal activities, find hundreds of ways to serve, including the opportunities below, on the Volunteer Center website. To focus your volunteer interests, use the red search box at the top of this email or visit our All Opportunities page and select one or more search filters (hidden under the wrench symbol when viewing on a mobile device) and/or keywords to narrow the results.
HALLOWEEN FUN: Montgomery County Parks needs help for two shifts for its family-friendly event, Nightmare on Elm Street, on Saturday, October 30 at Elm Street Urban Park in Chevy Chase. Assist with lawn games, a scavenger hunt, and other needs. Learn more and sign up here.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY COSTUMES REQUIRED for volunteers helping greet and pass out materials for the Halloween Eye Spy Train ride at Wheaton Regional Park Saturdays and Sundays October 2-October 31. Two shifts a day. Volunteers can learn more here.
HALLOWEEN EVENT VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED for Monster Bash 2021 in Takoma Park. Volunteers will help with the set-up of the games and activities, judging the costume contest and takedown of the event. Learn about the details here.
Opportunities marked with the graduation cap icon meet the MCPS guidelines for 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.
NEWS & RESOURCES
MDOT Community Service: Donate a Bike
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation celebrates Community Service Month with a Donate Your Bike event to collect child and adult bikes on Friday, October 8 from 7 am to 2 pm outside the Council Office Building Garage, E. Jefferson and Monroe Streets in Rockville.

Early Risers Needed To Prepare Breakfast
Shepherd's Table has an ongoing need for volunteers to help prepare food but the organization is now particularly in need of volunteers who are early risers (7 am-8:45 am) to help with breakfast. They need volunteers to help with meal service events (breakfast, lunch, and dinner on weekdays; brunch and dinner on weekends). For people who would be more comfortable with fewer people around, there are opportunities to prep food alongside their professional chefs during the afternoon. Register or learn more here.
Consider Board Service for Lasting Impact

Another important way to serve as a volunteer is through board service which allows you to deepen your connection to one organization and bring your skills to a singular mission focus. There are a number of ways you can learn more about board service in Montgomery County.

One way to learn about these opportunities is to use the Montgomery County Volunteer Center website and use the "board member" filter to find currently listed board opportunities. (MCVC's 50+ Volunteer Service program can also be a resource.) Montgomery County also has more than 80 boards, committees, and commissions that utilize volunteers with specific skills and expertise. You can also learn about board member training and matching through Leadership Montgomery and Nonprofit Montgomery's BoardMatch program.
MCPS's New SSL Hub For Students & Families
MCPS has recently released a new SSL Hub for Students and Families -- a one-stop shop for accessing SSL forms, opportunities, guidelines, and more! We encourage anyone interested in learning more about the SSL program and its resources to check out the new MCPS SSL Hub. Student Service Learning is a requirement for high school graduation in Montgomery County. In the process of gaining those SSL hours, students can learn about the number of ways they can be of service to the community.

The school system has extended its temporarily established virtual SSL guidelines. This means students may continue to earn SSL hours for select virtual/remote service completed from home under the remote supervision of an approved nonprofit organization (or school sponsor) throughout this summer and until the end of the 2021-2022 school year. In addition, students may continue to engage in traditional MCPS SSL opportunities offered in a public space under the direct supervision of a nonprofit representative, at the discretion of the student’s parent/guardian.
 
Due to extenuating circumstances related to the pandemic, any unsubmitted SSL forms for service completed after June 1, 2019, will be accepted by schools’ SSL coordinators when students return to school in the fall. Please note that after the 2021-2022 school year, SSL forms will no longer be accepted from previous school years. A complete list of SSL coordinators may be found on the MCPS SSL webpage at www.mcps-ssl.org.
 
Any questions about the SSL program may be directed to the SSL dropbox at SSL@mcpsmd.org.

There are many SSL opportunities in our database and in this newsletter. These opportunities are identifiable with the blue graduation cap icon.
 
Watch the September/October Make a Difference
Make a Difference, a monthly County Cable Montgomery program, highlights the contributions of stellar county volunteers and organizations that work to better our community. It is hosted by MCVC volunteer Sandy Smith.

On the September/October show, Donna Kleffman from Montgomery County Public Schools talks about the Student Service Learning (SSL) hours required for high school graduation, including pandemic guidelines, and Brigette Bonsu, Montgomery Serves Youth Volunteer of the Year 2021, talks about student volunteerism.
Read our FY21 Impact Report
Like most of the Montgomery County government during the pandemic, the Montgomery County Volunteer Center (MCVC) has forged new partnerships to respond to community needs in new ways, where volunteers were most urgently needed.
We are grateful to all of our local nonprofits and volunteers for stepping up to serve. Our community is stronger for your generosity and hard work. Read how we responded here.
New Research on Millennial Volunteerism

Points of Light has a new report on millennial volunteering and the impact that COVID has had on that generation's relationship to philanthropy. Download the report here.
Do your part. Serve your community by getting vaccinated. Click here for more information.
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 with these activities.

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Montgomery County Volunteer Center
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