On April 26th, I attended the IMPACT Silver Spring Gala. IMPACT is a group that works county wide to support network building and social services for disadvantaged populations. As one of the speakers commented, this morning we had “laughter, singing, and joyful tears” as community builders were giving awards in front of the audience of hundreds. I loved the concept of the awards representing “momentum” rather than “achievement,” because while momentum is certainly an achievement its a different concept. Awardees included Pyramid Atlantic’s Jose Dominguez, the El Rosal Sewing Cooperative, and the Lyttonsville Civic Association. Each has a marvelous and unique story and each is shaping the future of Montgomery County. In the picture with me is Maria Veras.
On Wednesday, I had the chance to participate in one of Montgomery County’s most innovative practices: the effort by our Department of Health and Human Services to work with local nonprofits in a campaign to go door-to-door, neighbor to neighbor to raise awareness about critical county services.
The campaign is in several target areas of the county; I joined the door-to-door effort in a low income area of Long Branch. The outreach was organized by the community group IMPACT Silver Spring.
One of the “connectors” joining us was a woman who lived in a nearby apartment and lost her home in a fire. The building owner did not provide any assistance to her or the other two families who lost their homes, but the county was there to help in a crisis. Now they are relocated in the same neighborhood to a different building. The mom was out there with us, meeting neighbors and sharing her story to raise awareness about our social safety net.
Saba, a ten year old who lives in the apartment building, joined up with us as we went door to door and talked to me about life in the building and the neighborhood. She said she wished there were more after-school activities, as she doesn’t have much to do in the afternoons. I saw a lot of kids with time on their hands.
I will be reviewing the budget and working to support more after school programs, something I have long believed in as a policy maker and a parent.
So thanks to the awesome team at IMPACT Silver Spring and HHS – you guys are true champions for building the community and quality of life that we want for all residents in this county!