Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people
can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
--Margaret Mead
APRIL 2016
In This Issue
Celebrate Earth Month by Helping the Environment

Earth Month Earth Day began on April 22, 1970, as a"teach-in" on environmental reform ideas. Today, it's morphed into an entire month of environmental awareness and activities aimed at improving our planet, including a multitude of volunteer opportunities.

Get in on the action locally! Organizations from across our region are coordinating environmental-focused volunteer activities throughout April (and some extend into May). These include everything from picking up litter along the Patuxent River and rebuilding park trails to planting vegetable beds in Spencerville and perennials in Wheaton. There are even volunteer opportunities that don't require garden gloves, such as helping at environmental festivals in Takoma Park, Wheaton, and Washington. Many of these activities are pre-approved for MCPS student service learning hours.

Visit our website for highlights of many more Earth Month volunteer activities scheduled throughout the community. You can also check out the April calendar for additional opportunities.
Helping Autistic Adults & Their Families Through 
Horses, Homes & Higher Education 

Madison House Autism Foundation Madison House Autism Foundation (MHAF) is dedicated to providing support, opportunities, and hope to autistic adults and their families. Working through community collaborations, the Rockville-based organization finds, develops, and promotes options that allow adults with autism to live as independently as possible, hold jobs, feel connected to their communities, and be participating members of our society.

In addition to serving as a resource for families seeking information on everything from higher education and living options to implications of legal guardianship, MHAF is developing Madison Fields, a 400-acre farm in Dickerson that serves as an inclusive community for adults with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities (as well as others who can benefit from its programs). The central project of the farm is Madison Fields Riding Center, a state-of-the-art facility for equestrian activities. Certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, the center serves riders with autism as well as cerebral palsy, developmental delays, Down's syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and PTSD. It currently features 10 horses, two ponies and seven miniature horses.

As MHAF's programming grows, so does its need for volunteers. In fact, its dedicated staff is big in expertise but small in size, and relies on volunteers for a variety of projects. The organization is currently recruiting interns and volunteers to assist with research initiatives, data collection and input, administrative duties, and special events such as art exhibits or its annual golf tournament. Email Stephen Robinson or call him at 240-246-7140 for more information.

It takes a village to conduct safe and successful therapeutic riding sessions so MHAF is also in need of volunteers at its Madison Fields equestrian center. Perfect for anyone who loves horses or wants to learn more about basic horsemanship, this volunteer opportunity includes training and is pre-approved for MCPS student service learning hours. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, attend a one-day orientation session, and be willing to commit to three hours per week for 10 weeks. Previous experience is not necessary. Email Michael Talbert or call 301-349-4007 to learn more.

Visit MHAF's website for more information about the lifespan challenges faced by autistic adults and their families and the many ways MHAF is serving this community, including Madison Fields.

Help Out at Festivals and More
Spring Into Service This Season
In addition to the many Earth Month volunteer activities mentioned at the top of this newsletter, there are numerous other ways to help throughout the community this month and beyond, including many local festivals in need of lots of volunteers. 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 and our newest listings for those posted most recently. Or use the red box on our home page or at the top of this email to search for more ongoing opportunities. 
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These opportunities are pre-approved to provide MCPS Student Service Learning (SSL) hours. Others may be eligible for SSL hours. Visit  the MCPS SSL website to learn more. 

Food Drive Volunteers: Saturday, April 9, 12 noon-4 pm, Rockville. Oversee collection of nonperishables at a food drive organized by Nourish Now, which distributes food to homeless shelters, food banks, and more. Volunteers must be able to lift at least 10 pounds. Minimum age: 12 with adult supervision. Email Tamica Hall or call 301-330-0222.

Ice Cream Scoopers: Tuesday, April 12, two- to four-hour shifts available 12 noon-8 pm, Georgetown and National Harbor. Serve customers on Ben & Jerry's Free Scoop Day on behalf of the Lupus Foundation's DC/MD/VA Chapter, which will have buckets out encouraging donations in exchange for the ice cream. Email Catherine Ianni or call 202-787-5393.

African American Health Day Volunteers: Saturday, April 16, 6 am-3:30 pm, Silver Spring. Register participants, monitor workshops, take photos, assist with crowd control, and handle other tasks at the African American Health Program's Community Day/5K. Minimum age: 16. Email Arlee Wallace or call 240-777-1451.

SSL Icon Rockville Science Day 2016 Assistants: Sunday, April 24, 9 am-6 pm. Help the Rockville Science Center run this annual event that's expected to draw more than 4,000 visitors. Volunteers will set up, work with exhibitors, control the crowd, and clean up at the end of the program. Training provided. Register to volunteer online.

SSL Icon Paws in the Park Dog Fest Helpers: Sunday, April 24, various shifts available, 9 am-4:30 pm, Gaithersburg. Register participants, set up the trail, distribute literature, and assist with contests at this annual Montgomery County Humane Society fundraiser to end animal homelessness. Minimum age: 15. Email Kathy Dillon or call 240-252-2555.

SSL Icon Gaithersburg Book Festival Staff: Saturday, May 21, 10 am-6 pm. Help in author pavilions, assist with book signings, provide information to visitors, help in the children's village, and more at this annual event sponsored by the City of Gaithersburg. Volunteers must attend training on April 27, April 30, or May 5. Minimum age: 16 (or accompanied by a parent). Email Sheila Bouley or complete online volunteer registration form.

SSL IconFarmers Market Assistants: Join the Crossroads Community Food Network team to help the community improve access to healthy, fresh food while also gaining hands-on experience in working with a diverse population. Volunteers are needed for a variety of activities, including distributing produce, running children's programs, community outreach and special events, and market setup and cleanup. Market is in Takoma Park. Email Michelle Dudley or call 240-601-5532.

College Application/Test Prep Tutors: Help low- to moderate-income, first-generation college-bound students at Watkins Mill and other Montgomery County high schools served by CollegeTracks make their dreams of attending college a reality. Volunteers help students with the college search/application/financial aid process or serve as ACT test prep tutors. Minimum commitment of one day a week at lunch and/or after school throughout the school year. Training provided. Email Zenia Henderson or call 240-244-9783.

SSL Icon Library Board Student Rep: Gain experience in managing nonprofit organizations while providing student input on the county libraries. Current sophomores who are Montgomery County residents and attend high school in the county are eligible to apply to serve a two-year term on the board of trustees for the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County beginning this summer. The student rep attends quarterly board meetings and develops an independent project or program. Apply online by Friday, April 15. Two letters of reference required.

Administrative Interns: Assist on a variety of administrative and marketing tasks for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, the national military medical school. Internships available for high school students and additional administrative support volunteer positions available for middle and high school students. Email Althea Green Dixon or call 301-295-3198.

ESL Tutors/Cultural Assistants: Teach English language classes and American culture on behalf of Impact Silver Spring Tuesday or Wednesday evenings in the Long Branch community of Silver Spring. Prior ESL or adult education experience helpful but not as necessary as an open mind and desire to make a difference in the community. Volunteers must be willing to commit to helping three to four hours per week. Email Carlos Iglesias or call 240-650-2796.

SSL Icon Bicycle Camp Spotters: Help an individual with disabilities learn to ride a bike as part of the iCan Shine Bike Camp operated through the city of Takoma Park, June 27-July 1. Trained professionals lead the instruction, while volunteer spotters work with the same camper during the same 75-minute session every day for five days, running alongside the bike to provide encouragement and physical support as needed. Volunteers must be able to commit to a specific 90 minute time slot (15 minutes of training, plus 75 minutes of riding) each day of camp. Minimum age: 16. Register to volunteer online, email Lucy Neher, or call 301-891-7235.
Good Deeds Day Is Here

On Sunday, April 10, be the good you want to see in the world. Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the local community, and more than half a million volunteers from across the globe for Good Deeds Day. In the DC area, this annual international day of giving features service projects, fundraising activities, and food collection drives. Learn more and register here
Gala Honors Service to the Community

Celebrate the accomplishments and hear the inspiring stories of some of our county's most amazing volunteers and community leaders at the Montgomery Serves Awards ceremony, Monday, May 2, 6:30 pm, at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. The event is free, but reservations are required as seating is limited. Register here

Congratulations to this year's honorees, who represent just a fraction of the many ways Montgomery County residents serve the community:
  • Gene Counihan (Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award for lifetime service by residents age 60 and up) has spent decades of his life in service to a wide variety of Montgomery County organizations dedicated to everything from the arts to business to cultural understanding. Considered one of the "founding fathers" of the Universities at Shady Grove, he has also been a mentor to countless students, activists, community leaders, and political candidates.
  • Sarah Gotbaum (Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award for lifetime service by residents age 60 and up) has devoted her life to issues related to women, equality, and aging, including founding the Montgomery County chapter of the Older Women's League, where she advocated for policies and programs to improve the lives of seniors in the region. Today, in her 90s, she continues to volunteer to better the lives of those around her.
  • Jan Jablonski (individual community service award), co-founder of the Noyes Children's Library Foundation, oversaw a plan to renovate the 123-year-old library building to incorporate universal design features that will make it not only ADA-compliant, but also a model of true accessibility and inclusion, and in 2015 spearheaded a major campaign to raise the funds that are making the design a reality.
  • Najma Thomas (youth achievement award) is a Wheaton High School student who founded a STEM-based elementary school mentoring program in 2015.
  • Briana Henderson, Kesha Matthews, Debi Tipton, and Andrea Jolly (group community service award) together provided more than 2,800 hours of volunteer service to the Armand Center for Conflict Resolution last year, enabling the organization to provide a safe, affordable, and family-friendly environment for supervised visitation and monitored child custody exchange visits.
  • Early, Cassidy & Schilling (corporate service award) and its employees have built close ties with the Community Ministries of Rockville, working on a number of volunteer activities, including planning and implementing a complete renovation of the living room of a supportive housing program facility in 2015.
County Executive Ike Leggett will also present the Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Award to three individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Montgomery County over the course of their lives: 
  • Vivian Bass, executive director of the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes (JFGH), which supports more than 200 individuals with disabilities, regardless of faith or creed. She has worked to ensure the quality of life, independence, community inclusion, and dignity of people with disabilities for nearly four decades.
  • DeLawrence Beard, Montgomery County's first African American judge, has dedicated his life to providing fairness and justice for all and co-founded the J. Franklyn Bourne Bar Association to empower youth of color to pursue a legal education.
  • Gustavo Torres, who immigated to the United States from Colombia, became executive director of CASA in the early 1990s, and has since built the organization from a small group working out of a church basement to the largest Latino and immigrant service and advocacy organization in the Washington region.  
Forum Offers Ideas for Senior Volunteerism

Learn ways for seniors to volunteer and get involved in civic affairs at a county forum set for Friday, April 8, 9:30 am-12 noon, at the Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg. The event will also cover information on how to prevent senior scams and stop elder abuse, as well as a resource fair featuring a variety of organizations that provide services to seniors.

The forum--hosted by Montgomery County Councilmembers Sidney Katz and Roger Berliner--is aimed at providing members of the senior community with a better understanding of the services available to them and helping them live life to the fullest as they grow older. Speakers will include Kathleen Meany Stobie of the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, Eric Friedman of the county's Office of Consumer Protection, and John McCarthy, the state's attorney for Montgomery County. 

For more information, view the event flyer, call 240-777-7817, or email Linday Hoffman.
Senior Connection Wins Volunteer Transportation Award 

The Senior Connection has been named the National Volunteer Transportation Center's 2015 Grand Star for volunteer transportation service delivery, an honor that includes award of a new Toyota Prius. The Senior Connection provides escorted transportation, grocery shopping, bill payer services, and other supportive services designed to enable seniors to live well in the community. Its Senior Rides program relies on volunteer drivers to get seniors where they need to go, including medical appointments.

To volunteer, email the organization, call 301-962-0820, or complete the online application.
Ride On Offers Free Trips in Return for Food Donations

Donate nonperishable food for those who are hungry and get a free bus trip during Montgomery County Ride On's annual "Give and Ride" week, running April 24-30. 

Throughout the week, all Ride On buses will have food collection bags near their fare boxes. Passengers who deposit a food donation in the bag ride free. (Transfers and return trips require additional food donations for a free ride.)

All food collected will be donated to Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg.
Governor's Awards Recognize Service

The Maryland Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Governor's Service Awards, which recognize residents for their volunteer contributions to the state and its people. Nominations must be submitted online by Wednesday, June 1. 

There are 14 award categories, including lifetime achievement, youth service, individual service, and nonprofit volunteer program. Service must have been performed outside the context of the nominee's paid employment and those who have received a Governor's Service Award since 2011 are ineligible. Learn more here.
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