Imagine what a harmonious world it could be 
if every single person shared a little of what he is good at doing
--Quincy Jones
In This Issue
Montgomery Serves Awards Call for Nominations
Volunteers Deserve Recognition!

Our county abounds with exceptional volunteers--and you probably know a few of them. Now's the time to recognize their service by nominating them for the 2016 Montgomery Serves Awards. This prestigious annual awards program, Montgomery County's highest honor for service, commends volunteers in the following categories:
  • Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award, for lifetime service by residents age 60 and up
  • Youth Achievement Award, for remarkable volunteers age 18 or younger
  • Corporate Award, for outstanding volunteerism by a corporation
  • Individual Community Service Award, for extraordinary volunteerism by an individual 
  • Group Community Service Award, for a group's noteworthy volunteer efforts 
Nomination forms and additional details are now available online. Deadline to submit nominations is Friday, Feb. 26, at 5 pm.

Award recipients will be honored at a gala ceremony attended by county and state dignitaries the evening of Monday, May 2, at Imagination Stage in Bethesda.
The National Center for Children and Families: 
Seeking to Preserve Childhood

The National Center for Children and Families is guided by the fundamental concept that every child deserves to experience the innocence and joy that is childhood. 
Every day for more than a century, NCCF has empowered community members and organizations to put this principle to work to serve the many youth in our community born into families that are unable to provide them with the adequate nurturing and unconditional commitment that a child needs to grow. 

Last year alone, NCCF's efforts served more than 40,000 local youth and families as they transitioned from homelessness into permanent housing, recovered from child abuse, tackled the traumatic effects of mental health disorders, and overcame the extreme economic barriers of intergenerational poverty.

Volunteers are the cement that holds together this work to preserve childhood. And with more than 25 programs in 12 locations, the ways to volunteer at NCCF are nearly limitless. Current needs include the following:
Often, NCCF volunteers give back as a family, which benefits the larger community, and also helps to strengthen families. When asked why her family volunteers at NCCF's Greentree Shelter, NCCF Board Member Julie Sweet notes that she wants her daughters to learn "there is beauty in all families, promise in all children, and individuals have the power to make a difference." Volunteers at NCCF make a difference each and every day.
Help Halt Hunger

During the winter holidays, many good hearts in our community rush to help feed those in need. But now that Thanksgiving and Christmas are already a memory, many local nonprofits that serve our most vulnerable residents are in serious need of help serving, delivering, and/or providing food to their clients.

Here's a look at some of the ways that you can help. (Those featuring the graduation cap icon are pre-approved for MCPS Student Service Learning [SSL] hours.)

SSL Icon Prepare Meals for Group Homes: Provide meals for residents at any or all of these three group homes and shelters operated by Interfaith Works: Carroll House Men's Transitional Shelter in Silver Spring, which needs pre-prepared breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the 32 homeless men it serves; Becky's House in Rockville, home to eight formerly homeless elderly women, who need help preparing dinners; and Watkins Mill in Gaithersburg, which needs volunteers to prepare meals on site for the eight disabled women who reside there. Email Yvonne Esipila, call 301-315-1097, or complete the online volunteer application.

SSL Icon Feed the Homeless Hot Meals: Donate fully prepared breakfast, lunch, or dinner for the residents of the Home Builders Care Assessment Center, a men's emergency shelter in Rockville operated by the
Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless. The shelter serves 200 individuals, but gratefully accepts meals in any quantity. If you're able, stay and serve the meal; for those escaping the frigid weather at this facility, being greeted with big smiles from caring community members who are volunteering to serve a meal can be just as warming as the meal itself. Email Naira Mardukhayeva or call 301-917-6658.

SSL Icon Provide Dinner for a Family Shelter: Prepare a well-balanced meal for 16 residents (six moms, two dads, and eight children) of Stepping Stones Shelter in Rockville. Dinners are needed Sundays through Thursdays, and allow the residents to come home to a hot meal and spend their evenings on important tasks like attending on-site educational workshops, meeting with case managers, and spending time with their children.  Email Sara Ritchie-Helmuth or call 301-251-0567.

Deliver Food to Seniors in Need: Once a month, pick up food from the Nourish Now food bank in Rockville and deliver it to one or more local Holocaust survivors in this new program sponsored by the Jewish Social Service Agency in partnership with Nourish Now. This is a great opportunity for those with limited time to give, as it requires a commitment of only one to two hours per month. Email Elana Premack Sandler or call 301-610-8395.

Grocery Shop for Senior Citizens: Shop for a home-bound individual or escort a senior to the grocery store, assisting with reading product labels, reaching stock, handling carts, and putting away groceries. Clients of this Senior Connection program report that they eat more nutritious and better meals and believe their overall quality of life is improved thanks to the program. Email Mary Murphy or call 301-942-1049.

View this roundup on our website of more ways to volunteer to help alleviate hunger.
Show Your Love for Helping Others
February marks Valentine's Day and American Heart Month. What better time to demonstrate how much you love to volunteer? Here are just a few of the opportunities listed on the Volunteer Center's website. Check our calendar of events for more date-specific opportunities, our newest listings for those posted most recently, and use the red box on our home page or at the top of this email to search for more ongoing opportunities. 
SSL Icon
Denotes opportunities that are pre-approved to provide MCPS Student Service Learning (SSL) hours. Many are great opportunities for adults too!  

Blanket Makers: Friday, Feb. 5, drop in anytime between 10 am and 9 pm, Derwood. Knit, crochet, or quilt blankets as gifts for sick children in the hospital. Yarn and fabric provided, but donations of plain fabric and children's prints and of worsted-weight acrylic yarn gratefully accepted. Sponsored by the Montgomery County Association for Family & Community Education. Call Pat Kenney, 301-460-5451.

SSL Icon Open House Assistants: Saturday, Feb. 6, 8:30 am-4:30 pm, Silver Spring. Help out at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's all-day event featuring science- and weather-related interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and guest presentations. High school volunteers will assist staff at tables and booths, stamp visitor "passports," direct guests, handle crowd control, work photo booths, and more. Email Laura Gutierrez or call 301-427-8452.

SSL Icon Indoor Play Day Volunteers: Sunday, Feb. 14, 12 noon-5 pm, Takoma Park. Set up, clean up, and help run activities for the City of Takoma Park's afternoon of fun indoor play for children. Email John Webster or call 301-891-7225.

Theater Ushers: Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 25-27, 7-10 pm, and/or Sunday, Feb. 28, 12:30-3:30 pm, Rockville. Additional dates available in March. Greet patrons, take tickets, hand out programs, and assist older guests with walkers or wheelchairs at the Victorian Lyric Opera Company's upcoming productions of Robin Hood. Shift times include time before the show starts for an orientation. Email Carla Rountree or call 301-576-5672.

Dance Volunteers: Saturday, Feb. 27, 6-10 pm, Damascus. Help the Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum present its Daddy/Daughter Ball. Assistance is needed with setting up/decorating, taking tickets, handing out drinks and desserts, and cleaning up. Volunteers must be high school age or older and are asked to wear dark pants and a white dress shirt or polo shirt. See the full website description for details on obtaining SSL approval. Email Kymberli Petronio or call 240-449-0292. 

Spanish Translators: Assist tax preparers with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program at the Long Branch Library in Silver Spring. VITA volunteers prepare simple federal and state tax returns for low-income taxpayers on Thursdays, Feb. 4-April 14, 3-7 pm, and need translators to serve as language go-betweens for Spanish-speaking clients. Minimum age: 18. Volunteers must be legal U.S. residents and take a simple ethics test. Email Steven Swartz or call 301-460-3242.

SSL Icon "Choose Respect" Student Video Developers: Create an original public service announcement (PSA) video promoting awareness of dating abuse and domestic violence as part of a competition coordinated through the MCPS Department of Student Services. Students may earn up to 25 SSL hours for their work in advocating for healthy teen dating, and prizes will be awarded for the winning PSAs. Entrants must be supervised by a club, organization, or committee. Hurry! Deadline is Friday, Feb. 19. Email Kimberly Brooks.

Front Desk Administrator: Greet guests, answer phones, accept donations, send acknowledgement letters, assist with event planning, track data, and handle other administrative responsibilities for the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, Rockville. Hours are flexible, but volunteers must be willing to make an ongoing commitment of at least four hours per week during normal office hours. Minimum age: 18. Email Naira Mardukhayeva or call 301-917-6658.

Read-Aloud Readers: Share the joy and excitement of books by reading to at-risk children through The Reading Connection. A new session at the YMCA Community Center at Northwest Park Apartments in Silver Spring begins in mid-March, with orientations offered Feb. 11 and 25. Volunteers commit to participating once a month for at least one year and must undergo a background check. Email Stephanie Berman  or call 703-528-8317.
Volunteers Come Out in Force for MLK Day of Service

MLK 2016 MLK 2016 worry dolls MLK 2016 granny square
A huge thank you goes to the more than 4,000 volunteers who participated in Montgomery County's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. By making the day off into a day on, residents from across the county joined forces to honor Dr. King's legacy by serving others. 

Working together at three coordinated sites on Monday, Jan. 18, these volunteers tackled and completed a wide variety of projects, including packaging 100,000 meals for local families in need, creating children's blankets for Syrian refugees, making dog toys for animal shelters, assembling hygiene kits for homeless individuals, cutting shoe soles for children in Africa, preparing breakfasts and lunches for a men's shelter, and much, much more.

Cabot Celebrity
RSVP Volunteer Cruises to National Honor

Congratulations to Montgomery County volunteer Jane Barrett, one of 50 national winners of Cabot Creamery Cooperative's Community Celebrity Award. Jane was recognized for her service to local organizations such as JCA Heyman Interages, Brookside Gardens, Audubon Society, and RSVP SWAT (the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program's Seniors With Available Time). 

As part of her award, Jane was treated to a cruise to the eastern Caribbean in November. 

In Case of Snow ...

Snowzilla may be behind us, but winter sure isn't. Should we get more snow, you can volunteer to help your neighbors shovel out or sign up to get help with snow removal at the new Snowcrew website, which matches volunteers with needs through a GPS-based data base.

This grassroots neighbor-helping-neighbor site isn't coordinated by Montgomery County or the Volunteer Center, but the county is encouraging residents to give it a try. The more people that use it,  the greater the tool's value!  
Senior Volunteer Program Featured in Video Production

Did You Know #54
Did You Know--a Montgomery County Council television program that highlights departments, services, programs, and partners around the county--features our Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), housed in the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, in its current episode. It showcases RSVP volunteer efforts at Bone Builders, RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide, JCA Heyman Interages, and RSVP Yarners at Schweinhaut Senior Center.

Watch it online here or tune in to Comcast/RCN channel 6 or Verizon channel 30 this month on Sundays at 2 am or 8:30 pm; Tuesdays at 6:30 pm; Wednesdays or Thursdays at 2 pm; Fridays at 1:30 am or 9:30 pm; or Saturdays at 10:30 am.

RSVP is part of Senior Corps, a national service program for seniors age 55 and better.
Ready for Random Acts of Kindness Day?

Volunteers tend to make acts of kindness a way of life. But if you're looking for a special reason to be sure you do so, mark your calendar for Wednesday, Feb. 17, National Random Acts of Kindness Day. The Volunteer Center's volunteer listing is full of hundreds of ways to practice kindness; check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation ideas page for more.
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 these activities. 

Follow these links to subscribe to our other partner agencies' electronic publications:
Montgomery County Volunteer Center - Office of Community Partnerships |
12900 Middlebrook Road
Suite 1600
Germantown, MD 20874
 (240) 777-2600