Congratulations to County's Top Volunteers!
Montgomery County has named six individuals and organizations as recipients of the 2020 Montgomery Serves Awards, our county's highest honor for volunteerism. This year's honorees, selected from among hundreds of inspiring nominations, represent some of the key ways volunteers have served the community during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout their lifetimes.

"Volunteers have long played a critical role in Montgomery County, but their efforts were especially important this past year," said Molly Callaway, director of the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, in announcing the award recipients. "The volunteer response to the pandemic has been outstanding. Individuals and groups throughout the county have stepped up to help the community in countless ways—from donating food to assisting at testing sites to helping organizations with day-in and day-out needs. This amazing spirit of service is exemplified by the 2021 Montgomery Serves Awards honorees."
Volunteer of the Year Awards
honoring outstanding volunteer efforts during 2020
Theresa Testoni
Volunteer of the Year
Theresa Testoni, a Silver Spring resident with a long history of service, began volunteering at Rainbow Community Development as the pandemic hit. She helped the organization address food insecurity by preparing and delivering groceries, training volunteers, managing a pilot program, serving as a Spanish translator, organizing fundraisers, writing grants, and more. Not only a valued volunteer, Theresa is a leader who inspires others to get involved. Read more.
Brigitte Bonsu
Youth Volunteer of the Year
In 2020, Takoma Park resident Brigitte Bonsu demonstrated how small acts of kindness can make a big impact. As the pandemic hit, Brigitte sprang into action as a regular volunteer with two organizations, Small Things Matter and Community Bridges. Among these activities, the Montgomery Blair High School senior distributed food and books to needy families, organized a racial equity town hall, and created a “Books for Bedtime” program. Read more.
Montgomery County Muslim Foundation
Volunteer Group of the Year
As the impact of COVID-19 changed life, the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation—powered by more than 400 volunteers—intensified its efforts and adopted new and innovative ways to assist neighbors affected by the pandemic. The group's projects—including feeding the hungry and homeless, assisting refugees, and providing programming for seniors and youth—served neighbors in need, regardless of faith, race, or gender. Read more.
M Luis Construction
Business Volunteer of the Year
M Luis Construction, based in Silver Spring, is a woman- and minority-owned business that is one of the region’s leading asphalt manufacturing and construction services companies. In service to Warrior Canine Connection, a Boyds nonprofit that helps active-duty service members and veterans, M Luis laid asphalt and millings at the nonprofit's Healing Quarters. This donation has provided improved access for hundreds of veterans and their families. Read more.
Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award
recognizing exemplary lifetime service by those age 60 and up
Nancy Aldous
Nancy Aldous of Laytonsville has volunteered in Montgomery County for over 50 years, along the way advocating for libraries, drunk-driving laws, community planning, environmental protection, and assistance for low-income residents. Among the organizations she's served are the League of Women Voters, Damascus Help, the Library Advisory Board, The Dwelling Place, Red Wiggler Farm, the Sandy Spring Museum, and Community Reach of Montgomery County. Read more.
Delores Cole
For more than five decades, Delores Cole of Rockville has been making a difference through her church, sorority, citizen advocacy efforts, and educational outreach. Delores has taken a leadership role at Clinton AME Zion Church in the historic African American neighborhood of Lincoln Park, served on the county Board of Elections, was a founding member of the George B. Thomas Saturday School tutoring program, and tutored elementary school students. Read more.
Time to Get Out and Volunteer!
Between vaccinations, outdoor-friendly weather, and the relaxation of health precautions, the coming weeks look perfect for volunteering. Here are just a few of the hundreds of volunteer needs listed on the Volunteer Center website. To find more ways to serve, 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) to narrow the results.
VACCINE VIDEO CREATORS: Produce a 30 to 45 second video public service announcement explaining why residents should get the COVID-19 vaccination. Up to four students can team up to create a video, which may be selected by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services to run on the county's social media channels. Deadline to submit videos is Friday, June 4. Email Lynn Cook or call 301-351-1572.
MEAL SACK ASSEMBLERS: Help prepare 7,000 weekend meals distributed to local kids via Women Who Care Ministries. Volunteers serve in Montgomery Village on Wednesdays and Thursdays and can choose any two-hour time slot between 11 am and 5 pm. Email Sam Forkkio or call 301-828-6850.
VOLUNTEER DRIVERS: Provide a safe ride to older or disabled adults who need to travel for medical appointments, grocery shopping, worship services, or other important errands. Volunteers with the Jewish Council for the Aging's VillageRides program work directly with one or more participating neighborhood "Villages" (which are located across the county) and view and accept ride requests online. Minimum age: 18. Background screening and orientation required. Call 301-255-4212.
WEED WARRIORS: On Sunday, May 30, 10 am-12 noon, remove non-native, invasive plants in Mt. Vernon Park, near Richard Montgomery High School. Sponsored by the City of Rockville. Minimum age: 14 (or younger if accompanied by a parent). Additional Rockville cleanup opportunities available in June and July. Email Chuck Woolery or call 240-997-2209.
REFUGEE FAMILY MENTORS: Help a refugee family or individual adjust to life in the DC region, working with them on English acquisition, American cultural socialization, and integration into the local community. To do so, volunteers typically spend time with the refugees weekly, currently done virtually. Sponsored by the International Rescue Committee. Minimum age: 18. Sign up online, email Kyle Monsees, or call 301-562-8633 x 218.
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.
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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 features a look at how volunteers can get involved at EveryMind, which is dedicated to serving our community's mental wellness. The discussion highlights the organization's friendly visitor and representative payee volunteer programs, as well as its Hotline.
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