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Montgomery County Community Service Day

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” — John F. Kennedy

Volunteers participated in activities ranging from food drives to environmental clean-ups to the painting of community centers on Montgomery County Community Service Day, held Saturday, October 27th.

Now in its 26th year, the Community Service Day is designed to promote volunteerism through diverse service opportunities that involve environmental protection, social services, or health initiatives. The Montgomery County Volunteer Centre reports that country residents cleaned parks, installed and distributed smoke alarms, and collected over 32,000 lbs of food for the Manna Food Center. They also staffed fall festivals, visited seniors, and distributed voter guides to prepare for Election Day.

According to the official press release for the Community Service Day, many of the initiatives related directly to County Executive Ike Leggett’s strategic priorities. To assist MoCo’s goal of creating “Healthy and Sustainable Communities”, volunteers joined A Wider Circle to collect furniture for low-income families, and cleaned the streams of Maryvale Park in Rockville. Volunteers also attended information sessions with Habitat for Humanity to learn how they could help with “Providing Affordable Housing in an Inclusive Community”.

Many MoCo students took advantage of the opportunity to serve their community, and get SSL hours and some fresh air at the same time. Poolesville students Niko Michaels and Holden Hegmann, both 17, dug drainage dips at Blockhouse Point Conservation Park in Potomac to redirect water off the trails to prevent erosion. Jim Corcoran, volunteer coordinator for Montgomery County Department of Parks, emphasized the importance of volunteers in ensuring the health of the parks. “The trail work is endless, so there’s lots and lots of work to be done…We rely heavily on volunteers for trail maintenance”, he said.

If you now regret missing the Community Service Day, never fear! Volunteer opportunities abound! Montgomery County continues its promotion of community service with the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday on January 21, 2013, and there are numerous Earth Day opportunities throughout April. If you can’t bear to wait that long, there are many worthy organizations in need of your help: Manna Food Center, A Wider Circle, Food & Friends, and Habitat for Humanity represent only a few of the infinite number of volunteer opportunities. If you have a whole new idea in mind, don’t feel limited! Plenty of opportunities exist for students to initiate their own projects to help the community. Check the Montgomery County Volunteer Centre at www.montgomeryserves.org for more information. It’s never too late to help out.

Article by Zoe Johnson, SAC Press Correspondent

Photo credit: Montgomery County Public Schools

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