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Office of Community Partnerships - Community Engagement Cluster Newsletter  - February 2012, Issue 46

TopMontgomery County Libraries Celebrate Black History Month
Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) celebrate Black History Month in February with free programs highlighting traditional West African culture and dance.

Anansegromma of Ghana, featuring native Ghanaians Kofi Dennis and Kwame Ansah-Brew, will present a program of traditional music, storytelling and dance. The group performs "call and response" songs, games and drum rhythms on authentic instruments giving the audience first-hand exploration of West African cultural traditions.

Programs will be held according to the following schedule:

Saturday, February 11, 2:30 p.m. -- Marilyn J. Praisner Library, 14910 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville.  Call 240-773-9460.

Thursday, February 16, 6:30 p.m. -- Long Branch Library, 8800 Garland Ave., Silver Spring.  Call 240-777-0910.

To request ADA program accommodations, at least five work days in advance, or to receive more information about programs, call the library hosting the program; log on to; or call Ask-a-Librarian Language Line/Lnea en otros idiomas: 240-777-0001. TTY users call Maryland Relay at 7-1-1.
gilchristGilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity Welcome Centers
Everyone is welcome to come and visit the Wheaton and Germantown Gilchrist Centers.  Find out about Employment Resources, Health and Dental Clinics, Foreign Credential Transfer, Basic Computer Classes, Citizenship Classes and Application Assistance, and Free Legal Assistant.

欢迎   환영   Bienvenue  Bienvenidos  Cho Mừng  QuVị 

The Wheaton Center is located at 2424 Reedie Drive, Suite 202. Their number is 240-777-4940.

The Germantown Center is located at 12900 Middlebrook Rd. Suite 100. Their number is 240-777-6950.
Black_History_CelebrationBlack History Month Celebration

For more information please contact Rev Tim Warner at 240-777-2503 Or Daniel Koroma at 240-777-2584.
positionAfrican/Caribbean Liaison Position Open 
In recognition of the growing African and Caribbean populations in Montgomery County, we are pleased to be able to upgrade the staff support to these communities from a part-time Senior Fellow position to a one-half time merit-based community liaison position with benefits. The job will soon be posted on the Office of Human Resources website. Continued employment in this position beyond December 31, 2014 will be contingent upon action by the County Executive elected in November of 2014.
directorMessage From The Director:
Honoring Roscoe Nix and MLK;
Sister Cities Group Visits Ethiopia
Bruce Adams
Director, Office of Community Partnerships
On January 4, 2012, one of the architects of the modern Montgomery County died. Former NAACP leader and School Board Member Roscoe Nix was a mentor and role model for generations of Montgomery County political and community leaders. As County Executive Ike Leggett said at the memorial service, "Because of his work as a fearless and tireless community leader, Montgomery County is a better place to live, to raise a family, and to work. It is a more welcoming and compassionate place. It is a more just place." At the service, County Executive Leggett announced that he would establish the "Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Award" modeled after the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. The Volunteer Center and the Fund for Montgomery are organizing a Montgomery Serves award event for this April where the County Executive will present the very first of these awards posthumously to Roscoe Nix for his half century of service to Montgomery County.
On January 16, we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. with community service projects all across Montgomery County. With additional resources from the Fund for Montgomery, we were able to add a third major site at The Universities at Shady Grove to the traditional sites at the Silver Spring Civic Building and the Marriott Conference Center in North Bethesda. More than 4,000 people rolled up their sleeves and went to work in honor of Dr. King. Volunteers collected 42,611 pounds of non-perishable food items at the 28 Montgomery County Giant locations and the service event sites for the Manna Food Center. Molly Callaway of the Volunteer Center has a report and photos later in this newsletter.
Right after the MLK Day of Service celebrations, I had the privilege of travelling to Africa for the first time to explore a possible Sister Cities agreement with Gondar, Ethiopia. The County Executive's African Affairs Advisory Group led a rigorous selection process that involved hundreds of County residents who hailed from all across the continent. The final selection was perfect. Known as the "Camelot of Africa," Gondar is a spectacular mix of history, religion, and culture right at the intersection of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. African Liaison and Senior Fellow Daniel Koroma will produce a full report on the trip complete with photos for our March newsletter. We are planning now for a delegation to accompany County Executive Leggett in the fall for a formal Sister Cities signing. Plan to join us. (Note to taxpayers: As with our trips to El Salvador in 2010 and 2011, County employees travelling to our Sister Cities pay their own way and take vacation time.)

Gondar Sister Cities Chair Solomon Ayala visits with students from Tsadiku Yohannes Elementary School that he attended as a boy.
Teen_Summit_AidsAfrican American Teen Summit To Address HIV/AIDS Awareness
In observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day this year, The African American Health Program (AAHP) will host "MoCo's Teen Summit: Getting Real and Going In!"  This event will take place on Wednesday February 8th, 2012, 3:30pm-5:00pm, at the Gwendolyn Coffield Community and Recreation Center, 2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, Maryland.

The forum will offer teens, aged 13 to 17 years old, the opportunity to discuss openly the influential factors that lead to high-risk sexual behaviors with life-threatening consequences including HIV/AIDS, other sexual transmitted diseases (STD) and psychological distress - "getting real and going in." The event will be hosted by Antonio from 93.9 FM, WKYS FM-Radio One. This is a free event. For more information call Denise Dixon AAHP Outreach Specialist at 301-421-5459 or Xerxeser Kayode, AAHP Program Assistant at 301-421-5445. You can also visit AAHP's website

Thanks to Montgomery County's Department of Recreation, transportation will be available for students who attend Wheaton, Blair, and Springbrook high schools. Please help us spread the word to other teens in your community. 

In addition, we have started to tweet #MoCoGettingReal and posted the event on our Facebook pages. We would love for this to get viral on the social media networks so please feel free to do the same!

County Executive Ike Leggett gathers with children on Day of Service

Montgomery County celebrated another successful Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on January 16th! Over 4,000 volunteers participated in service projects all around Montgomery County.  42,611 lbs of non perishable food items were collected at the 28 Montgomery County Giant locations for Manna Food Center and the service event sites.
There were three signature service sites this year, Marriott Conference Center, The Universities at Shady Grove and the Silver Spring Civic Building. This year we had some exciting new projects. Volunteers wrote pen pal letters to children in Uganda and then were able to talk directly via computers using Skype at the Marriott site. It was a great opportunity for kids to talk to other kids across the globe and learn about their lives. Volunteers put book plates into 1,500 of Reading Tree's book, as well as an additional 500 that were donated by volunteers. These books are donated to Title 1 schools, local shelters, or are sold to support the literacy efforts of Reading Tree. Volunteers also painted beautiful watercolor pictures and decorations that will be displayed in the pediatric ward at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. Volunteers crocheted blankets for Project Linus, decorated cupcakes for Shepherd's Table, assembled 1,500 bag lunches for area shelters and soup kitchens with  Whole Foods, 500 Meals on Wheels Snow Day boxes were assembled, 80 fleece blankets were constructed for Montgomery Hospice, hundreds of cards were made for seniors and troops, and so much more!

Thanks to all the hard work from volunteers like you, Montgomery County was able to touch the lives of so many and truly make this a day ON, not a day off.
For photos and more information about the day, go to the Volunteer Center website,

Volunteers Make Valentine Cards
Volunteers Make Valentine's Cards
Lunar_CelebrationsMC Libraries Host Lunar New Year Celebrations 
Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) celebrate the Lunar New Year with a variety of free programs in February marking the New Year 4709. Lunar New Year, which starts with the new moon on the first day of the New Year and ends on the full moon 15 days later, began on January 23.

Programs will be held according to the following schedule:
Saturday, February 11, 11 a.m., Silver Spring Library, 8901 Colesville Rd.
Author and Storyteller, Linda Fang presents "Tales of Ancient China and the Origins of Chinese New Year Traditions."  Sponsored by the Friends of the Library, Silver Spring Chapter.  Call 240-773-9420.
Saturday, February 11, 2 p.m., Quince Orchard Library, 15831 Quince Orchard Rd., Gaithersburg.
Li Ming Chinese School will perform traditional Chinese Lion Dance, Chinese arts, martial arts and Chinese yo-yo demonstrations. Call 240-777-0200.
Saturday, February 18, 3 p.m., Marilyn J. Praisner Library, 14910 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville.
Pianist Ly-Li Chang presents a "Musical Celebration of the Chinese New Year," featuring Chinese compositions for piano and voice. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library, Marilyn J. Praisner Chapter.  Call  240-773-9460.

Registration is not required.  Unless otherwise noted, programs are sponsored by the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Inc.

To request ADA program accommodations, at least five work days in advance, or to receive more information about programs, call the library hosting the program; log on to; or call Ask-a-Librarian Language Line/Lnea en otros idiomas: 240-777-0001. TTY users call Maryland Relay at 7-1-1.
Facebook_Adult_LiteracyMontgomery Coalition For Adult Literacy Asks You:
Is Your U.S. Representative a Friend of Adult English Literacy?
The Coalition wants to invite your U.S. Representative or his or her education staff to attend the upcoming House Adult Literacy Caucus Briefing on February 8, 2012, and is asking for your support in assembling legislators and staff by encouraging them to attend.  You can send a message direct from the Coalition's Facebook account by clicking  here, which is the National Coalition for Literacy Facebook page. 
Commission_AgingNeeds of Immigrant Seniors to be Discussed at
Commission on Aging's Stakeholder Meeting
Montgomery County has the largest share of Asians and Hispanics age 65+ in the state of Maryland. 58% of all Asian seniors and almost 57% of all Hispanic seniors live in Montgomery County.  The purpose of this forum is to solicit input and feedback, from the Stockholders, on the needs of Seniors in Diverse Communities. The information provided at this meeting will guide the Commission in advising the County Executive and County Council.

The goal of the Montgomery County Commission of Aging 2012 Annual Stakeholders meeting is to identify the best strategies to reach older adults in diverse communities.  Discussion topics will include current approaches and unmet needs and solutions.

The forum will take place on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 8:30 - 11:00 AM. at the Holiday Park Senior Center. 3950 Ferrara Street, Silver Spring, Maryland.  (Snow date: February 22, 2012.)

Please R.S.V.P to Tremayne Jones via email by 2/7/12:


MCPS_VolunteerMCPS Department of Family and Community Partnerships Volunteer Events
Montgomery County Public Schools will hold two events as part of its Department of Family and Community Partnerships.

In planning their Junior Achievement Middle School Financial Literacy Classes (6th grade) at Kingsview Middle School, 18909 Kingsview Road, Germantown, MD, MCPS is requesting parent or business volunteers to teach prepared financial literacy curriculum.  Training materials and support are provided.  This informational session will take  place on February 14, 2012, from 7:30 AM to 1:00 PM.  Refreshments will be served form 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM.

To participate as a volunteer in this program, please contact Ms. Chelsea Soneira, Director of Junior Achievement, at 301-681-4611, or Ms. Sarah Shah at 301-838-0471 or email her at

Springbrook High School will host High School Government Career Fair Day (10th grade) on March 14, 2012, from 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM.  Table Career Talks with displays and information especially concerning internships and summer programs (paid and unpaid) will be the focus of this event.  Please indicate your availability by February 29, 2012.

Springbrook is located at 201 Valleybrook Drive, Silver Spring MD 20904.  For more information contact Sheri Lowe, Internship Coordinator at 301-989-5700 or email her at:

Clean_WaterPublic Invited to County-Sponsored Clean Water Summit
The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection invites residents interested in the health of Montgomery County's streams to attend the second annual Community Clean Water Summit on March 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veteran's Plaza, One Veteran's Place, Great Hall, Room 1.   The goal of the summit is to help residents understand how their commonplace actions may contribute to stormwater pollution where they work, live and play.  Tools will be available to help attendees modify their behavior and motivate others to do the same.

At the Summit, participants will learn about the challenges of improving water quality; how their habits impact local waters; initiatives happening in their communities to improve stream health and how they can become involved.  Participants will have the opportunity to become a part of the growing Clean Streams Movement and meet their local watershed groups, comprised of community members who are improving water quality in their local streams. Additionally, attendees will learn about County-sponsored programs such as RainScapes Rewards that provides financial incentives to stop stormwater pollution at its source.

Stormwater pollution can result from ordinary actions by residents who may not be aware that they are affecting the health of streams, such as littering or ignoring trash, over-fertilizing lawns and not picking up after pets.  

Stormwater is the only source of stream pollution that is increasing in impact in Montgomery County and the Chesapeake Bay.  To combat this problem, a Federal program has set stringent limits for stormwater pollution in Montgomery County streams.  Changing the behavior of individuals is essential to meeting the program's goals of reducing pollutants.  Protecting watersheds and preventing pollution will reduce cleanup costs for both neighborhoods and Montgomery County.  

Event partners include the City of Gaithersburg, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin and the Sea Grant of Maryland.

To register for the Summit, visit:  Donated door prizes include an REI tent and a sponsored rain barrel raffle from a local vendor.  Attendees must be registered and present to win.

For more information, contact Ryan Zerbe at or 240-777-7744.

Habitat_HumanityHabitat for Humanity
Offers Homeownership Information Sessions
Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, MD, Inc. continues to hold homeownership information sessions in February to find 19 buyers for their Maple Hill development in Gaithersburg. Even though you may already own your own home, you may know someone in your network of friends, family and colleagues who may be interested. We appreciate you passing along the information to those who may need it. Interested buyers must attend an information session to apply.

Please click below to register.

Wednesday, February 15th at 6:30 PM
Saturday, February 18th at 10:00 AM
Saturday, Februarry 18th at 1:00 PM

For more information, call 301-990-0014 x26.  Requirements for Habitat homeownership include a demonstrated housing need, ability to pay a monthly mortgage, legal permanent U.S. residency, lived or worked in Montgomery County for the past year, and a willingness to partner with Habitat throughout the homeownership process. Click here to review our detailed selection criteria.
Housing_Fair12th Annual Housing Fair and Financial Fitness: 
Sponsors and Exhibitors Invited.

The Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) invites housing providers, realtors, property managers, businesses, banks, credit unions, government agencies, community organizations and nonprofits to register as housing fair  sponsors and exhibitors at the 12th Annual Montgomery County Housing Fair and Financial Fitness Day.  The fair will take place on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bohrer Park Activity Center, Summit Hall Farm, 506 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg.
Sponsors receive recognition for their organization depending on the level of sponsorship.  Some examples include special recognition on local radio and TV shows; inclusion in the housing fair program; the display of their logos on Ride On buses; and publicity posters distributed in both English and Spanish at schools, bus stops and other locations throughout the county.  Sponsors will receive prime booth space at the fair for displaying their promotional materials.   The exhibit fee amount is tailored to the type of organization:  businesses and banks; credit unions; government and education groups; and 501(c)3 nonprofits.  Exhibitors are encouraged to register before April 6 to receive a reduced rate.  Last year more than 90 sponsors and exhibitors participated and more than 1,000 people attended.
This year the fair will offer loan modifications on site, as well as free foreclosure prevention counseling, free credit reports and analysis, guidance for people looking for affordable rental housing, information on avoiding housing scams, and information on the legal implications of housing problems, including the tax consequences of short sales.
"We are expecting hundreds of homeowners interested in refinancing their mortgages to attend, in addition to those in the market for rental housing," said Myriam Torrico, DHCA administrator of Community Programs.  "Information on new federal and state programs offering foreclosure prevention assistance will be provided as well as information on what we are doing at the local level to help residents stay in their homes."

This year's annual housing fair has been moved from the fall to the spring in an effort to build on the momentum of the foreclosure prevention event that took place in October 2011.
The fair is organized by the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs in partnership with the Housing Fair Planning Committee, whose members include:  the cities of Gaithersburg, Rockville and Takoma Park; Asian American Homeownership Counseling; Housing and Community Initiatives, Inc.; Housing Initiative Partnership, Inc.; Housing Opportunities Commission; Latino Economic Development Corporation; Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development; Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services; Montgomery County Office of Human Rights; and the office of U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen.
To become a sponsor or exhibitor, contact Myriam Torrico at 240-777-3627 or email

Tax_PreparationsMontgomery County Libraries Offer Free Tax-Aide Prep Options For Seniors and Low to Moderate Income Residents
Did you know that the Montgomery County Public Libraries' website has just about everything you'll need to get started on your state and federal income tax preparation -- forms, assistance and the like? It's yet another way our library system contributes to the community.

This program provides free tax preparation by trained volunteers to low-to-moderate income Montgomery County residents with special attention to seniors 60+.  This program operates by appointment only through a central scheduling line at 240-777-3577, staffed by volunteers.  The scheduling office is open from 9:00 am - 3:30 pm Monday-Friday.  Most appointments through this program are during day time hours but there are some sites with Saturday hours and one site with evening hours.  Again, all these sites are by appointment only to better serve the clients.
More information about RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide is available on:

The other programs on MCPL's site are:
Community Action Agency's VITA program (Volunteers in Tax Assistance) for those making under $49,000 (confirm please what it says on the library site -- as it may be listed as $50K).They have 4 locations (listed on MCPL site) and are run by appointment only.

One other free tax preparation program available in Montgomery County is run by Community Tax Aid.  This program also has limits on income; they operate on a walk-in basis.  Those sites are also listed on MCPL.  They have a web page for more info.

FYI, the deadline for filing 2011 state and federal income tax forms has been extended to April 17, 2012.

ThanksgivingThanksgiving in February
Join Interfaith Works and dine out Tuesday, February 28, 2012 as we seek to raise awareness and funds to combat hunger. Over 70 participating restaurants in Montgomery County will contribute 10, 15, or 20% of their sales on this day to help support 11 hunger relief agencies in our community.
We would like to thank our generous sponsors for this year's Thanksgiving in February event: Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union, Comcast, Whole Foods Markets of Montgomery County, The Gazette, and Dan Daniels Pioneer Press.
All 5 locations of Whole Foods Markets of Montgomery County will host a special fundraiser on the day of the event, Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - donating 20% of all sandwich and wrap sales from their prepared foods department to Thanksgiving in February!
For more information about where to eat or the beneficiary agencies, please visit the website. If you would like brochures for your congregation, civic/community group, or corporate office, please contact D'ana Downing, Special Events & Communications Coordinator at 301-315-1101.
Philathropy_CatalogueApplications for 2012-2013 Philanthropy Catalogue Closing Soon
Applications to the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington are still open for 2012-13, but not for much longer! Check out the APPLY link for eligibility requirements, a description of the application process, and other important information. The Catalogue has helped raise over $15 million for featured nonprofits since 2003 and acceptance provides a valuable "stamp of approval." Applications are due by midnight on Monday, February 13th.

CLICK HERE to learn more:
Collaboration_CouncilMC Collaboration Council Seeks to Fill 2 Vacancies
The Montgomery County Collaboration Council is looking for community members to fill two vacancies on its Board of Directors.  If you are interested in helping guide and influence the development of partnerships and services that benefit the county's children, youth and families, please consider submitting you application to the County Executive's Office.   Current efforts are expanding quality out of school time programs;  helping keep eligible youth out of the juvenile justice system;  early childhood home visiting and helping children with intensive needs access needed services.  Details can be found at

The Collaboration Council is especially interested in having members who are community leaders from our culturally diverse groups as well as business and faith-based organizations.   For more information on submitting an application, go to
Deadline is February 10.
Free Film Screening by Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity and The Foundation of West Africa
An award-winning documentary film - Leh Wi Tok (Let Us Talk) - about the power of radio as a voice for the voiceless will be screened at Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity, Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD.

Leh Wi Tok runs for 40 minutes. It tells the story of brave citizens who used radio broadcasts to end war and build peace in Sierra Leone. The screening will be followed by a dialogue with Topher Hamblett, President, Foundation for West Africa & Mary Copp, Producer, Leh Wi Tok.

For more information visit or email


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