Community Service Month
Grab a Group and Plan a Collection Drive
It's Montgomery County's annual Community Service Month (and, through Oct. 10, Maryland's " Day to Serve")--an excellent time to rally your coworkers, neighbors, classmates, or other like-minded individuals to work together to collect specific types of items for nonprofits and government agencies that serve our community.

Several local organizations are recruiting groups (and individuals) to collect food for those in need, including Bethesda Cares, Women Who Care Ministries, Catholic Charities, and Interfaith Works. In addition, there are many opportunities to collect a variety of other needed goods. These include collecting toiletries and other hygiene items for Silver Spring Christian Reformed Church, cat food for the Montgomery County Community Cat Coalition, sports equipment for Leveling the Playing Field, and move-in kits for those transitioning out of homelessness for the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless.

Find additional collection drive needs by using the search filter on the Volunteer Center's website for opportunities that match the Collection Drive interest. Or, if you'd like to develop your own collection drive, reach out to organizations that serve a cause important to you to learn about items they may need. Search for organizations by using the Cause filter on our website to find those devoted to issues such as Basic Needs/Food/Shelter, Veterans/Military, or Animal Welfare.
Opportunities to Volunteer All Fall
With the weather cooling down this fall (we hope!), it's a perfect time to get out and volunteer. Here are just a few of the hundreds of volunteer positions you'll find on the Volunteer Center website. Check our online volunteer 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.
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.
PARK CLEANUP VOLUNTEERS: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 10 am-12 noon, Silver Spring. Help clean up Broad Acres Local Park, part of the Northwest Branch Watershed, on this school holiday project sponsored by Montgomery Parks. Minimum age: 14, or as young as 5 if accompanied by an adult. Sign up online, email Henry Coppola, or call 301-495-2476.
LIGHT THE NIGHT EVENT ASSISTANTS: Saturday, Oct. 12, 12 noon-4:30 pm and/or 4-11 pm, Rockville. (Additional opportunities in Reston on Friday, Oct. 18, and in DC on Saturday, Oct. 26.) Set up walk site and activities, distribute participant shirts, run kids' activities, and more for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's annual fundraising walk. Minimum age: 16. Sign up online, email Lindsay Angelis, or call 703-399-2916.
KIDS ACTIVITIES LEADERS: Saturday, Oct. 19, 9 am-12 noon and/or 12 noon-3 pm, Bethesda. Assist Suburban Nursery School with its Truck Touch event, featuring trucks for children to play in, plus activities such as face painting, pumpkin painting, and bounce houses. Event is held rain or shine. Minimum age: 12. Sign up online, email Lorelei Pisha, or call 703-772-7857.
ASSISTED LIVING VISITORS: Sunday, Oct. 20, 1-3 pm, Rockville. Learn effective strategies for communicating with older adults and plan interactive programs based on their interests and yours. Programs might include music, technology, or art. Sponsored by Link Generations. Volunteers should be between the ages of 12 and 18. Email Lori Marks or call 301-365-2218.
HALLOWEEN FOOD DRIVE VOLUNTEERS: Thursday, Oct. 31, 6-8:30 pm, Silver Spring. Assist Leaders Institute with its annual food drive/trick or treat event by helping with setting up props and other decorations, handing out candy, cleaning up, and more. Volunteer orientation takes place on Saturday, Oct. 26. Minimum age: 12. Email Stephanie Clark or call 301-655-9679.
FOOD DISTRIBUTION TEAM MEMBERS: Help operate Manna Food Center's new distribution market in Silver Spring, assisting participant shoppers, restocking/organizing shelves, and managing other tasks related to the daily upkeep of the market. Shifts available Tuesdays through Fridays and the first Saturday of every month. Minimum age: 16, or 14 when accompanied by a parent. Email Katie Sayago or call 301-424-1130.
2020 CENSUS AMBASSADORS: Help ensure that everyone in Montgomery County is accurately counted in the next census and that our communities get their fair share of federal funding for schools, health care, libraries, and social services. Ambassadors for 2020 Census for Montgomery County will conduct education and awareness outreach at festivals, fairs, and other events across the county. Training provided. Open to all ages, but those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult who has attended training. Sign up online, email Shawn Ellis, or call 240-777-2558.
HORSE ARENA VOLUNTEERS: Work with horses and participants at Circle of Hope Therapeutic Riding in Barnesville. Volunteers may groom and prepare horses for therapy sessions, set up obstacle courses for the sessions, assist participating children and adults with disabilities, and help maintain equipment. Training provided. Minimum age: 14. Email Lesley Shear or call 301-873-3383.
NONPROFIT RETAIL STORE CLERKS: Greet customers, organize merchandise, keep the store neat, and assist with other tasks at Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland's ReStores in Rockville and Silver Spring, which sell household goods and furniture at deep discounts. Minimum age: 16, or 14 if accompanied by an adult volunteer. Sign up online, email Sandra Limjuco or call 301-990-0014 x18.
ENRICHMENT PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS: Help adults with disabilities participate in enrichment programs held in Germantown on Sundays, 11 am-3 pm. Sponsored by Upcounty Community Resources. Volunteers must have experience working with adults with disabilities and be 16 or older. Email Jenn Lynn or call 240-614-0444.
Searching for SSL?
Public school students in Maryland are required to complete at least 75 hours of student service learning (SSL) between the summer after 5th grade and the end of 12th grade (or a reduced number of hours if they have been enrolled fewer years). Many of those hours can be completed through specific middle and high school courses, but most students will also need to participate in service learning activities beyond the school day.

Where do you find those activities? On the Volunteer Center website!
search filter image
Click the link to MCPS SSL in our red search box (or use the link above) to show a list of all volunteer opportunities that the school system has determined meet its student service learning guidelines. To narrow the list down (there are more than 450 currently posted), search by a keyword related to the type of activity you're interested in--such as hunger, animals, or sports--or filter by an interest area from the drop-down list. To further customize your search, you can add more filters (including age and distance from a particular zip code). Note: On mobile devices, click the wrench icon to view the keyword and filter options.

If you are searching through the Volunteer Center website in some other way, such as through the Calendar feature, you'll know that an opportunity meets MCPS requirements for SSL if it carries the graduation cap icon/banner on its description page.

When you find an opportunity that interests you, click the blue respond button to send a message of interest directly through the website. Or, to call or email the sponsoring organization directly, click the organization box to view more information about the nonprofit and to see contact information.

To earn credit for service activities that don't appear on the Volunteer Center website or don't carry the graduation cap icon, students can apply for individual approval in advance of their service by using MCPS Form 560-50. Learn more about the program and its requirements by visiting the MCPS SSL webpage or by contacting your school's SSL coordinator.
Interages Founder Honored
AARP Maryland has awarded its 2019 community service lifetime achievement honor to Austin Heyman, founder of JCA Heyman Interages Center, which champions volunteer activities that enable older adults and youth to learn from each other. Heyman has also served as Montgomery County's liaison to the senior community for more than a decade.

The Montgomery County Council will recognize Heyman at a special proclamation ceremony at the council building in Rockville on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 9:30 am.
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 work to better our community. This month's episode highlights two local programs that provide tax return assistance to low-to-moderate income residents: the Senior Corps RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Program (which provides special attention to those age 60 and up) and the Community Action Agency's VITA Program.
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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