ocp header Office of Community Partnerships Newsletter  

August - September 2011, Issue 41

In This Issue

Morazan, El Salvador, Sister City Agreement Signed  


African Heritage News 


Back to School Fair  


Lily Qi Appointment  


Committee for  Ethnic Affairs Hosts Forum


Literacy Council Offers Free English Classes  


Community Service Week October 16 - 22    


World of Montgomery Festival October 16


Recreation Programs Fall Guide Now Available  


Why You Should Serve  


Community Announcements  




















 TopSeptember 11 Anniversary  

Public Ceremony  

Friday, September 9th  

Courthouse Square

"As we approach the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we should all take a moment to remember and honor all of the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks," said County Executive Isiah Leggett. "Eleven Montgomery County residents lost their lives in the attack on the Pentagon, and I ask all of our residents to join me to reflect on those lives that were cut tragically short by that senseless act of hatred."

The public is invited to attend a "September 11 Community Remembrance" ceremony on Friday, September 9 at 12:30 PM in Courthouse Square Park in Rockville.  The ceremony is planned as a time for remembrance and tribute to the victims, their families, emergency responders and members of the military.

County Council President Valerie Ervin and City of Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio, will also participate in the program that will include remarks by a family member of one of the Montgomery County victims.  Musical selections by the Montgomery County Police Gospel Choir will complete the program.  Members of Montgomery County's Fire and Rescue Services (MCFRS) and the Montgomery County and City of Rockville Police will also participate.  The MCFRS Pipe and Drum Corps will perform.

For more information about the memorial park or the ceremony, call Judy Stiles in the Department of Recreation, at 240-777-6875.

Interfaith Prayer Service

In addition, an interfaith prayer service will be held on Sunday, September 11 at 3:00 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockville, located at 100 Welsh Park Drive.  The service is open to the public and to all faith groups, churches, mosques, synagogues and temples, as well as secular groups.  For more information about the interfaith prayer service, call Rev. Lynn Strauss at 301-762-7666.

  MorazanMorazan, El Salvador: Montgomery County's First Sister City

Bruce Adams

Director, Office of Community Partnerships


It was really exciting to be in San Francisco Gotera, Morazán, El Salvador on Tuesday morning July 26, 2011 to watch our County Executive Ike Leggett join Morazán Governor Miguel Ventura in signing Montgomery County's first Sister City agreement in front of nearly 800 people, including United States Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte. A diverse group of nearly 70 people from our County paid their own way to join in this celebration and begin building relationships with our new sister city.


El Savador

With the Granados family in Guatajiagua


Kojo Nnamdi's tagline for his WAMU radio show is "connecting your neighborhood with the world." I've always liked that. Montgomery County's Sister Cities program is "connecting Montgomery County to the world." Soon after he took office, County Executive Leggett asked me to start a Sister Cities program. The City of Rockville has had a Sister City in Germany for more than 50 years, ever since President Eisenhower suggested the program as a means of building positive relations after World War II. County Executive Leggett asked Bill Hudnut, a well-traveled public citizen who has served as Mayor of both Indianapolis and the Town of Chevy Chase, to establish an independent community-based nonprofit board.


In just these first few years, we have found the Sister Cities program to be a wonderful way of establishing greater understanding of the cultures of the people who have come to Montgomery County from across the globe. Through the Sister Cities program, we have built our strongest bonds ever to the people of El Salvador, the number one country of origin of Montgomery County's immigrant population. My thanks to Montgomery County Habitat for Humanity, Mover Moms, Hungry for Music, DC United, LEDC, and the other groups and individuals that stepped up and helped make our first official Sister City trip so outstanding. But what was most impressive to me was the opportunity to work with Evelyn Gonzalez, Jorge and Neftali Granados, Neftali Benitez, and other Montgomery County residents who were born in El Salvador and give back to their native country through a strong network of hometown associations.


The County Executive's African Affairs Advisory Group accepted the challenge of trying to identify a single city in a single country in the vast continent of Africa. After involving more than two hundred residents in an impressive outreach process, the advisory group presented the board of Montgomery Sister Cities with a recommendation of Gondar, Ethiopia. Planning is underway for the County Executive to lead a delegation to Gondar in 2012. As with El Salvador, Ethiopia is the home of thousands of current County residents. And as with Salvadorans, few Ethiopians have been at the policy making and community building tables of our County. County Executive Leggett's commitment to learn about the people, culture, and economies of these countries is building trust and establishing connections we did not have before we launched our Sister Cities program.


For a preliminary report on our Sister City Visit to El Salvador: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/News/press/PR_details.asp?PrID=7804 


Montgomery Sister Cities, Inc. website: http://montgomerysistercities.org/ 


HeritageAfrican Heritage Events 

African Heritage Month Proclamation Ceremony, September 4, 2011, is the opening event with County, State, Federal Government Officials, and members of the Diplomatic Corps. The event is scheduled from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at the Silver Spring Civic Building; 1 Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring MD.  


Gala Celebration: 2011 is recognized as the "International Year for People of African Descent" and the community will honor leaders from various works of life for their contributions to the African Diaspora. The Gala will also celebrate the passing of Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) bill regarding the U.S. Senate's adoption of S. Con. Res. 26, recognizing 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. A similar resolution supported by Congressional Black Caucus and other Members was introduced in the House by Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Il.).


Contact: Daniel Koroma, 240-777-2584.  



PANAFEST Saturday, September 24, 2011
This is an outdoor event to attract the vibrant and active community in the Downtown Silver Spring-Ellsworth Street restaurant corridor. The festival will include live cultural performances by country representative groups, live performances by African artists, arts & craft exhibits, and a taste of exotic African cuisine.
Please visit the website
Contact: Email: panafest@accdf.org
Visit: www.panafestusa.org for more information  


MCPSMCPS Fourth Annual Back-to-School Fair:
Saturday August 27, 2011 

The 2011 Back-to-School Fair will be held on Saturday, August 27, from 12:00 to 3:00 PM at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville. Montgomery County Public Schools' Back-to-School Fair is a way to welcome students and families to a new school year, share information about school system programs, provide access to community resources and have fun at the same time.


This year marks the fourth annual Back-to-School Fair. About 12,000 students, parents and community members attended last year's fair to discover the many resources that MCPS and the community have to offer. Advance funds and donations from area businesses and organizations helped make the fair possible, provide backpacks and offer prizes to participants.


For more information, please go to: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/familycommunity/fair/faq.aspx 


LilyLily Qi Named Special Projects Manager  

Photo of Lily Qi

Lily Qi, who has been serving as the Asian and Middle Eastern Liaison, was recently appointed by County Executive Ike Leggett as Special Projects Manager to work on several Countywide initiatives including the biohealth industry growth strategy, international partnerships with Asian and Middle Eastern countries, and government cultural and lingusitic competency.


OCP Director Bruce Adams noted that "Hiring Lily was the first step in building the exceptional staff we now have at the Office of Community Partnerships. Lily's professionalism, commitment to community, and extraordinary energy made her the perfect person for the difficult job of serving and empowering our diverse Asian and Middle Eastern communities. And on top of those challenging jobs, Lily has set a national standard in her work to build Montgomery County's strong language access policies as part of a comprehensive approach to strengthening the cultural competence of our County government. We'll miss Lily at OCP, but we are delighted that the County Executive has recognized her great talents and energy, and we look forward to working closely with her in her new job."


The Office of Community Partnerships plans to fill the vacancy in the next several months.  In the interim, Lily will help with the transition and respond to community needs as much as possible.  For general County information and services, please call 311 or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/311 to request services or information.


CEACommittee for Ethnic Affairs Hosts Forum on "Days of Commemoration"  

Enas Elhanafi
Chair, Committee for Ethnic Affairs

Montgomery County's Committee for Ethnic Affairs (CEA), the County's Office of Community Partnerships and the Office of Councilmember George Leventhal hosted a community conversation on the County's "Days of Commemoration." The forum held at the Rockville Memorial Library, located at 21 Maryland Avenue, Rockville from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.


The original legislation for the Days of Commemoration was passed on March 28, 2006 (Bill No. 1-06: Days of Commemoration) and signed into law on July 7, 2006. This special law designates certain days of commemoration relating to the religious, ethnic, and cultural heritage of County residents.


This legislation was a major step in the County paying tribute to, and acknowledging, the constant changing race and ethnic composition of residents. The forum was an even greater step for county residents to help local government to expand its knowledge and appreciation of how diverse Montgomery County is.


Councilmember Leventhal and the Committee for Ethnic Affairs intent of re-visiting this legislation after five years, is to seek the public's input on how well this legislation is understood by the County and its residents.



From Left (Back Row): Rev. Kennedy Kwasi Odzafi (CEA member), J'amie D'Aguiar (CEA member), Naomi Bloch (CEA member), Jeffrey Lynch (CEA member), Erica Obebe (CEA member), Harry Iceland (CEA member), and Gayathri Aluvihare (CEA member); From Left (Front Row): Enas Elhanafi (CEA Chair), Councilmember George Leventhal, and Mumin Barre (Former CEA member)  


The purpose of the forum was to hear the thoughts of residents in regard to whether anything should be changed in the way holidays are currently recognized, and whether new holidays should be added to the county calendar. The forum also offered a good opportunity to ask questions about the days of commemoration.


The conversation was engaging about how to assess how effective this legislation has been and whether it can be improved, if any adjustments should be made to this law, if better public education was needed or if there might be interest in adding additional days to the County's current list of days of commemoration.


This program is part of a series under a pilot program developed by the Committee for Ethnic Affairs to encourage communication among the diverse ethnic communities of Montgomery County. CEA is composed of residents and its role is to bridge the cultural diversity of all ethnic groups in the county.


The CEA advises the County Executive and the County Council on public policy that relates to ethnic affairs and promotes maximum involvement of all ethnic groups in the county government and other county services and programs. The CEA also assists the county and its Office of Community Partnerships in organizing the World of Montgomery Festival, the county's annual ethnic heritage festival.


For more information on the initial Days of Commemoration legislation, go to:  






The CEA and Councilmember Leventhal's office continue to seek the thoughts of residents in regard to whether anything should be changed in the way holidays are currently recognized. They seek also opinions on whether new holidays should be added to the county calendar.  Please share your thoughts by contacting the Committee for Ethnic Affairs at partnerships@montgomerycountymd.gov.


For more information on the Committee for Ethnic Affairs, go to its Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/CEAMD for the latest updates or blog at http://committeeforethnicaffairs-md.blogspot.com/ 


LiteracyLiteracy Council of Montgomery County Offers Free English Classes for Adults  

Whether you need to polish your English language skills or start learning the English language from scratch, the Literacy Council of Montgomery County is the place to start.  The Council offers free English classes for adult residents mornings, afternoons and evenings at select locations.  Attending a 3-hour orientation session is required and students are admitted on a first-come, first served basis to these sessions.

The schedule of classes can be downloaded from the Council's website www.literacycouncilmcmd.org under Programs and Services

Please call (301) 610-0030 x215 for further information. 


ServiceMontgomery County Community Service Week

October 16-22  

Join Your Neighbors and Make a Difference 


Join 25,000 of your neighbors and make a difference in your community by joining a project looking for volunteers, planning a project to meet a need in your neighborhood, or volunteering at a local nonprofit.  You can also stop by our volunteer engagement expos and open houses during the week to learn more about ways to get involved throughout the year.  To register a project or to volunteer and find out more information about ways to get involved in the events that week, visit our website, www.montgomeryserves.org.    


Homeless Resource Day Project Needs Volunteers on October 19th 


The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the City of Gaithersburg will host the first "Homeless Resource Day" on Wednesday, October 19, 2011.  This event will serve as a "one day, one stop" opportunity for individuals and families experiencing homelessness to access benefits, medical care, substance abuse and mental health counseling, as well as a variety of social services. Adult volunteers will be needed as escorts to help individual clients as they move through the various resources available. Volunteers are needed for two shifts, 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Find more information about the event, including fliers to distribute in your community, and the sign-up form for volunteers at  www.montgomeryserves.org.    


community service week



womfWorld of Montgomery Festival on Sunday October 16 

On Sunday, October 16, 2011, come to downtown Wheaton between noon and 5 p.m. to help celebrate the diversity and community service of Montgomery County at the World of Montgomery Festival. This free, outdoor event will feature international music and dance performances, food and craft vendors from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa

and a health fair.  An International Village, as the centerpiece of the festival, will showcase performances, demonstrations and exhibits related to the County's diverse array of cultural and ethnic communities.


The health fair will provide checkups, screenings, and promotions/activities for healthy living to all visitors.  Volunteer translators will be available to ensure good service for all visitors.  The festival will also serve as the kick-off event for Montgomery County Community Service Week, with volunteer opportunities to support the county available on event day and throughout the week. 


Applications for food and craft vendors are now being accepted, with preference given to vendors who are both unique and relevant to the diverse theme of the festival.  Limited exhibitor space is also available for nonprofit organizations and Montgomery County agencies.


For more information and to participate or volunteer visit the World of Montgomery Festival Website - www.worldofmontgomery.com or email Frank Page at fcpage@yahoo.com.   For more information on how to get involved with Community Service Week, visit www.montgomeryserves.org.    

 World of Montgomery Festival icon

GuideFall Guide for Recreation and Park Programs Now Available

The fall issue of the Montgomery County Guide for Recreation and Parks Programs is now available.  The Department will begin accepting registrations for its fall programs and classes on Monday, August 15.  Registration for swim lessons opens on August 17.  Residents are encouraged to register early as many programs fill up quickly.


Travel, sports leagues and classes are just some of the fall program offerings that are available through Montgomery County Recreation.   


Registration is offered in one of four ways:  by mail, fax, online or in person at the Recreation Department Administrative Offices located at 4010 Randolph Road, Silver Spring, MD 20902.


Print copies of the Guide are available at recreation centers, park facilities, government buildings and libraries.  Residents who prefer receiving the Guide in the mail can pay an annual subscription fee of $5 and receive a full year of five issues (Summer, Fall, Winter, Summer Camps and Spring). To view the Guide online, or to sign up for a subscription, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.  


For more information, call 240-777-6840.


ServeWhy You Should Serve on Boards, Committees and Commissions

By: Lily Qi
Special Projects Manager, Montgomery County


Like many busy professionals who live and work in this area, I used to commute to Washington, DC for my job and find it hard to get involved in the local community where I live.  So I applied to serve on the Montgomery County Commission for Women, and the Nominating Committee for Montgomery College's Board of Trustees.  I also enrolled in Leadership Montgomery to learn about the various aspects of the County and to get better connected with other community leaders.  These experiences not only gave me a deeper appreciation of the many treasures in our community, but also a much stronger sense of belonging to this place that I now call home.


Even without the Census data or official reports, anyone living in the capital region knows how dramatically more diverse we are now than just a generation ago.  In fact, Montgomery County today is half non-white and 1/3 foreign-born.  While such diversity has brought about a great deal of community vitality, social integration at the community level remains a challenge.


For the most part, the immigrant communities, regardless of our countries of origins, are organized along the lines of ethnicities, languages, and nationalities.  Even professional and trade groups such as the numerous chambers of commerce and technology-based associations are largely ethnic based.  Not to mention the abundant supply of in-language services in just about any areas you can think of and the plethora of performing arts groups with a dizzying array of shows year round catering to the specific ethnic communities.  If we don't make a conscientious effort to step out of our comfort zones, we can easily live our entire lives in our invisible ethnic enclaves without much meaningful interaction with the larger communities beyond our jobs or business activities.


A great way to expand our horizon and integrate with the larger community is to serve on a local government or community nonprofit's board, committee or commission that oversees policy issues.  These are mostly volunteer positions designed for greater citizen involvement.  Montgomery County, for example, has over 80 boards, committees and commissions that oversee a broad range of issues and services with direct impact on our everyday lives, in addition to countless community nonprofit boards.  A list of all County boards and vacancy announcements can be found at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/boards.  You can find other jurisdictions' information on their respective web sites.


The benefits of serving on the boards, committees and commissions are manifold.  I can easily think of at least five good reasons why you should apply for one right away.


 1.  Expand your horizon and add an interesting dimension to your life.  At the very least, serving on the boards can open your eyes to many new resources and services that you or your community can take advantage of.  It's also a great way to develop a new area of interests or expertise that can come handy and even enhance your professional and personal portfolio.


 2.  Influence local government and policies.  From public libraries to consumer protection, from transportation to energy and air quality, you get to exert influence on a variety of local issues closely related to our daily lives.  You're already paying taxes, so why not weigh in on how the local government should work?


 3.  Connect with others in your neighborhood with similar interests.  You will work with some talented and passionate people in our community, including highly accomplished individuals in their professional fields and very engaged citizens who have done amazing things in our community.


 4.  Develop communication and leadership skills.  Whether it's an extension of your professional work or a new adventure, serving on the boards affords you the opportunity to verbally articulate your thoughts in meetings and learn proper ways to conduct meetings and address conflicts if you become the chairperson.  The beauty of learning these skills in a volunteer setting is that the risk of making mistakes is rather low to you.


 5.  Have a sense of belonging and ownership.  Few things in life foster the feeling of belonging better than working together with others.  Your will also develop a stronger sense of ownership when you find yourself paying attention to many local issues beyond the scope of your board.


Board positions require County Executive appointment and many are competitive.  To learn more about boards, committees and commissions in Montgomery County, please visit  www.montgomerycountymd.gov/boards.



 Lily Qi is Vice Chair of Maryland Governor's Commission on Asian American Affairs.  She can be reached at qulturematters@gmail.com.



AnnouncementsCommunity Announcements  

The Montgomery County Humane Society (MCHS), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization established in 1958, seeks energetic individuals with an ability to strengthen the organization for its Board of Directors for the 2012-2014 term.  MCHS handles nearly 9,000 animals per year through its operation of the Montgomery County Animal Shelter, and raises private funds to provide valuable supporting services such as foster care, volunteer recruitment and coordination, and education and outreach.  Individuals interested in helping MCHS expand its reach, network, and programs may submit a letter of application and resume to MCHS by Friday September 23, 2011.  We seek experience in strategic fundraising, capital campaigns, finance, law, and governance.  Applicants must be MCHS members in good standing.  To apply, or to receive more information, contact Lisa Corbett at 14645 Rothgeb Drive, Rockville, MD 20850; or email lcorbett@mchumane.org.  Or phone 240-773-5973.  For more information about MCHS, visit www.mchumane.org .


The Trawick Foundation seeks non-profit to share their office space, beginning October 1st, as part of their "Co-occupant program."  The Foundation, located in Bethesda, provides administrative office space and includes the use of a furnished office with a desktop computer and internet connection, a conference room for meetings, a work room with copier and fax machines and a shared kitchen.  The non-profit will also receive a quarterly grant to subsidize the rent.   For more information, contact Anne Cantrel, Executive Director, at acantrel@trawick.org.  Or phone 301-654-7030.  For more information about the Foundation visit www.trawick.org.


The Jewish Council for the Aging (JCA) will host a Volunteer Information Fair on September 8th from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM at 12320 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD 20852.  The Council matches volunteers who serve as mentors and tutors to Montgomery County Public School students.  For more information, contact Tricia Wilson at twilson@AccessJCA.org.  Or phone 301-255-4234.   



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