The best way to find yourself 
is to lose yourself in the service of others
--Mahatma Gandhi
MARCH 2016
In This Issue
Spring Break Can Be a Service Break 
MCPS students are off for 11 straight days during their spring break later this month. That's plenty of time to relax, visit with friends, and make a difference through volunteering--and maybe even earn some needed student service learning hours in the process! 

Whether you'd like to work on a week-long project or can only commit to a couple of hours, and whether you're interested in the arts, the environment, social justice, or another issue, there's a volunteer opportunity waiting for you on our website. Here are a few. (Those pre-approved for SSL hours feature the graduation cap icon.)

SSL Icon Student Service Week: Monday, March 28-Friday, April 1, 9 am-5 pm, Ballou High School, Washington. Work on a variety of service projects with DC nonprofits, plus participate in a series of workshops and dialogues on socio-economic equality, gender identity, and other social justice issues. Organized by City Year Washington DC. Minimum age: 14. Must commit to attending the full week program. Email for an application. 

SSL Icon "Free the Trees" Days: Sundays, March 27 and April 3, 1-3 pm, Little Falls Park, Bethesda. Join the Little Falls Watershed Alliance in its work to remove invasive vines and non-native plants, which are suffocating the park's native trees and plants. Training and tools provided on site, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves and clippers. Email Sara Schneeberg or call 301-229-8776.

SSL Icon Interfaith Clothing Center Assistance: Shifts available Tuesdays through Saturdays, Rockville. Help organize donations, assist clients, greet donors, and help with other duties related to Interfaith Works's program that distributes clothing, household goods, baby products, toys, and books to low-income residents. Minimum age: 14. Supervision required for volunteers under 16. Complete this online application.

Senior Group Recreational Aide:  Shifts available weekdays, between 9 am and 5 pm, Gaithersburg. Share your performance talents, teach computer skills, or help make crafts for residents at the Housing Opportunities Commission home for senior citizens. Email Jean McCloskey or call 301-740-1414.

SSL Icon Art Camp Counselors: Thursday and Friday, March 24-25, 8 am-5:15 pm, and/or Monday, March 28-Friday, April 1, 8 am-5:15 pm, Rockville. Work with art instructors to help youth with spring-themed craft projects at VisArts' spring break camps. Complete this online applicationemail Diana Tsai, or call 301-315-8200 x104.

Find additional opportunities designated as spring break service here or check our March calendar for date-specific volunteer needs. You can also do a keyword search on a topic that interests you for a list of opportunities that may not be specific to spring break but still available during that week.
Charles E. Smith Life Communities: 
Making a Difference in the Lives of Older Adults
CESLC volunteer
Volunteer Christiana Nakhla, a student at Montgomery College, escorts Hebrew Home resident Paula Wolff to Hebrew classes at the nearby Jewish Community Center. Besides the reward of getting to know "Mrs. Paula," Christiana has learned some Hebrew through her volunteer work.
Charles E. Smith Life Communities has come a long way since its founding in 1910 as the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Washington. Today, the organization serves more than 1,100 older adults on a 38-acre campus in Rockville, where it provides independent and assisted living residences, long-term care at the Hebrew Home, post-acute rehabilitation services, and the new Eldersafe Center aimed at safeguarding victims of elder abuse. 

The nonprofit organization is open to all in the community, and is committed to fulfilling Jewish values by providing a continuum of quality services for older adults and ensuring the dignity of each individual. 

Volunteers play a vital role in accomplishing that mission. In fact, hundreds of volunteers visit the campus each year, including retirees, moms with kids, people exploring career paths, students fulfilling SSL requirements, community service day participants, and even pets. 

These critical helpers serve in a variety of volunteer capacities (many of which are pre-approved for MCPS Student Service Learning hours). Some escort residents to leisure and wellness programs (from bingo and rummy to yoga and brain fitness), religious services, and salon visits, or simply engage residents in the priceless gift of conversation. Others help develop and participate in special interest programs, from music and literature to current events, go on day trips with residents, or help the office staff with mailings and record keeping. The opportunities are limitless, and the schedule flexible, so anyone seeking to contribute their time and energy to a meaningful cause will find just the right niche.

Volunteers often say they get more out of the experience than the residents. They learn about the lives of a diverse and fascinating population, gain knowledge from their personal and professional experiences, and get a better understanding for the importance of companionship at any age. It's also a great way to give back.

"I'm blessed that I am able to serve in a way that I am able to serve, and to get the feedback that I get from the residents," says 88-year-old retiree, Everett Mattlin, who's been volunteering at the Hebrew Home for 15 years. "They do appreciate your coming here. They thank you--and you know it's sincere."

For more information, and to download a volunteer application, visit the Charles E. Smith Life Communities website.
March Toward Service This Month 
As we move from winter into spring, many of us are itching to get out of the house an do something! Why not get out and serve the community? 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!  

SSL Icon Environmental Summit Helpers: Saturday, March 5, 9 am-12 noon and/or 12 noon to 3 pm, Rockville. Help staff the H2O Summit, an event presented by the county's Department of Environmental Protection to teach residents about ways to make our water healthier. Volunteers will provide general help with keeping the event running smoothly and will receive training that day. Email Ana Arriaza or call 240-777-7778.

SSL Icon Medical Play Kit Assemblers: Saturday, March 5, 10 am-1 pm, Kensington. Work with the American Childhood Cancer Organization to put together medical play kits for children diagnosed with cancer. Lunch provided. Must be high school age or older. Email Liz Gross or call 855-858-2226.

Auction Volunteers: Saturday, March 12, various shifts between 9:30 am and 11:30 pm, Washington. Set up, greet guests, monitor live and silent auctions, handle auction checkout, and/or clean up at the American Heart Association's annual Heart's Delight Wine Tasting & Auction fundraiser. Email Joellen Brassfield, call 703-248-1784, or complete the online volunteer registration form.

SSL Icon Farm Hands: Saturday and Sunday, March 19-20, 10 am-3 pm, McLean, Va. Prepare Claude Moore Colonial Farm for the spring season, helping with outdoor cleanup activities that may include clearing trash and fallen branches from pathways, moving and stacking firewood, raking, building brush fences, turning gardens, and cleaning animal areas. Picnic lunch provided. Email J-D Engle or call 703-509-9837.

SSL Icon Egg Hunt Event Volunteers: Saturday, March 26, 8:30 am-2 pm, Takoma Park. Help run this annual children's event sponsored by the city of Takoma Park. Volunteers will assist with games and activities, participants safety, information tables, setup/cleanup, and more. Email Michael Kurland or call 301-891-7285.

Scholarship Program Assistant: Help process scholarship applications, set up interviews, and produce event invitations and newsletters for the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program, which provides financial assistance that allows low-income county residents to attend college or technical school. Experience with Microsoft Office (including Publisher) is desirable. Requires a commitment of four to eight hours per week. The Rockville-based organization also seeks assistance with its web design and additional board members. Email Nancy Scull or call 301-922-5052.

Stewards of the Environment: As part of the Alice Ferguson Foundation's 28th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup (which runs March 26-May 8), pick up litter from any of hundreds of coordinated locations throughout the region--or lead a cleanup at your own site. Email Tim Murphy or call 301-292-5665

Crisis Hotline Support: Provide confidential, supportive listening as well as information and referrals to callers to the Montgomery County Hotline. The hotline, operated 24 hours per day by the Mental Health Association, is based in Rockville and offers telephone counseling as well as web-based chat and phone-based texting services. Minimum age: 18. Training provided. Email Emily Kamin or call 301-424-0656 x541.

SSL Icon English Tutors/Homework Helpers: Teach correct English pronunciation to adults in the Community Ministries of Rockville's Language Outreach Program and/or help their children with homework or play activities. Program runs at five locations in Rockville Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 pm or 7-9 pm, March through June and September through December. Information and orientation session set for Tuesday, March 8, 6 pm. Minimum age: 14. Email Andrea Kempner-Wink or call 301-637-0172.

Community Action Board Members: Serve as a voice for low-income residents, advising the Montgomery County Council and county executive on issues of importance to the low-income community. The Community Action Board, which also serves as the governing agency for the Community Action Agency and the Head Start program, is seeking private nonprofit representatives and low-income residents. The board meets at 7 pm on the fourth Tuesday of most months in Rockville. Email Leah Goldfine or call 240-777-1697.
Spring Cleaning? Here Are Some Donation Ideas

If that whiff of spring in the air has you motivated to do some de-cluttering and donate goods you just don't need anymore, the Volunteer Center has some resources that will help you find new homes for your items.

Our weekly Hotlink e-newsletter is sent to the 800-plus nonprofits and government agencies registered with us and features listings of items available for donation. Organizations that are interested in the donations contact the donor directly to arrange pickup and provide a receipt for tax purposes. Items appropriate for Hotlink include home and office furniture and equipment, medical devices, craft supplies, and the like, as long they are in good condition or better. We do not list clothing, books, televisions (except flat-screen units), or food. (Read on for ideas on those types of items.)

To submit your donations for inclusion, send us an email with 
  • a description of the items (including condition and, as appropriate, approximate size, color, and material),
  • city or town from where they'll be picked up, and
  • contact information (email and/or phone)
For items not accepted for Hotlink, or if you simply prefer to contact nonprofits directly, check out the Volunteer Center's compilation of local organizations that accept particular types of donations. The bottom of the page also includes information on recycling or disposing of items through county services, as well as online electronic trade-in programs.
Register Today for Montgomery Serves Awards Gala 

The 2016 Montgomery Serves Awards, our county's highest honor for service, will be presented at a ceremony attended by county and state dignitaries on Monday, May 2, 6:30-8:30 pm, at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. Join us that evening to help celebrate some of the superb volunteers in our region. 

Tickets are available at no charge, but advance registration is required. Register here.
Train to Be a Hospice Caregiver

Hospice Caring Inc. offers a free three-day training session for volunteers interested in becoming hospice caregivers and bereavement facilitators Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, March 8-10, 8:30 am-4 pm, in Gaithersburg. (Additional training sessions will be available in May, September, and November.)

Training will cover topics such as communication and active listening, understanding grief, cultural competency, and self-care.

Trained Hospice Caring volunteers provide companionship, home assistance, and/or transportation, or may facilitate adult bereavement support groups, school-based Good Grief Clubs, and health classes.

Click here for more information. To register, email Penny Gladhill or call 301-990-8904.
Council to Honor Service During Snow

Do you know someone who helped make your neighborhood safer during this past winter's snows? Nominate him or her for the Montgomery County Council's Golden Shovel Awards, which recognize individuals who have gone above and beyond in helping to clear ice and snow from county sidewalks. 

Nomination forms are available here and are due Friday, March 25. Awards will be presented at a council session in April.
Learn How Volunteering Can Be a Path to Paid Work

The Volunteer Center's pro bono consultant team will present its popular workshop on "Volunteering as a Strategy to Employment," Monday, April 4, 12:30-1:30 pm, as part of the 50+ Employment Expo at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. The expo, which runs 10 am-3 pm that day, features a variety of resources and educational sessions aimed at helping those over 50 find a new job. Admission is free.
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