IMPACT Sports at the Mixify Tour

Paula Matallana on Friday, 24 July 2015.

A fun and healthy summer outing for IMPACT Sports families

IMG 1498resizeNearly 50 IMPACT Sports teens, parents, and siblings joined the American Beverage Association for the Mixify Tour in downtown DC on Wednesday, July 22nd. The event featured various activities for teens that encouraged them to think about how to maintain a healthy balance between what they eat, drink, and do.

The Rising Star Summer League Champion team, IMPACT MoCo Warriors, showed up in force and took full advantage of the fun activities that were available at the Mixify Tour. They played life size Jenga, corn hole, group tug-of-war, and enthusiastically participated in the free fitness demonstrations offered by instructors. Many of our soccer oriented teens and siblings carved out their own space to stay active by creating a 2 v 2 tournament during most of the event.

Overall, the event was a huge a success; the kids had an opportunity to get active during the day and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. On the bus ride back, we heard that the kids would like to do at least one more outing like this before the summer ends. Stay tuned for a trip to the National Zoo!

Many thanks to James and Meredith with the Mixify Tour for helping us to get there! 

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Bringing It All Together

Lanita Whitehurst on Monday, 08 June 2015.

Girl Scouts, Fitness, and a Sneaker Drive

Girl Scouts Gift Box Compressed

You could argue that the May 30th East County Family Reunion and Basketball Tournament, even with its face painters, balloon sculptor, 3 on 3 games of hoops, lacrosse clinic, fire truck, and myriad community resource providers, didn’t really get underway until the Girl Scouts arrived.

And what an arrival it was.  But, more about that shortly. 

While early bird volunteers set up tables, tents, basketball goals, and sound systems for the Reunion and Tournament happening outside the East County Community Center, Girl Scouts and their ever-dutiful parents prepared to kick-off a 45-minute FUN RUN.

Weeks earlier, the girls of Troop #3147 decided, as a part of their "Energy In & Energy Out" initiative, to focus on promoting community-wide fitness while also incorporating a service project. This decision set in motion some pretty epic connecting and collaborating. 

Troop leader Angela Cooper partnered with East County Community Circle (ECCC) member Sueann Young to organize the FUN RUN.  Sueann connected with Rashad Price and Brandon Ashe, organizers of the East County Family Reunion and Tournament (also ECCC members) to tie the FUN RUN to the ECCC event. 

Angela connected with Marchelle LeBlanc, Parent Community Coordinator at Greencastle Elementary School, to identify children who could benefit from a sneaker drive (the service project part of the initiative).  And lastly, Angela connected with Lisa Betts and Doris Chavez (both ECCC members and Greencastle PTA leaders) for help in getting permission to use the Greencastle grounds and spread the word about the project and event among school staff and families.  WHEW!

Dad and Girls CompressedThe Girl Scouts collected 19 pairs of new sneakers for children at Greencastle who participate in the Linkages to Learning “Healthy Weekend Food” program.  Most of the shoes have been delivered to their new owners.  Ms. LeBlanc shared that, “All of the girls were ecstatic and thankful for the sneakers.  This might be the only new pair of shoes some of the girls will receive this year.” 

Sueann, project coordinator for the Fit & Fun Family Club (an ECCC project) had this to say about working with the Girl Scouts:  “It was a great collaboration.  Our joint FUN RUN increased awareness around the need for fitness to be a goal for the whole family.”

Now, as for the dazzling Girl Scout arrival mentioned earlier... . The music was thumping, the tournament was underway, and there was already a line at the moon bounce.  In the haze of the 80 degree morning, you could see the green vests coming en masse, triumphantly conquering the last leg of the two-mile FUN RUN.  The girls, all braids, bows, badges, and buttons, arrived ready to set-up their information table.  When asked if they needed anything, one little girl politely replied, “Nope. We have all of our stuff.”  Those Girl Scouts—prepared as always.  

Fathers and Friends

Lanita Whitehurst on Monday, 13 April 2015. Posted in Circle Community

Creating an Asset Map of Youth Activities in East County

Father and Friends Compressed

It’s Saturday morning at 9:00 am.  East County Community Center staff have come in an hour early to make the building available for a meeting of the “Fathers and Friends” Steering  Committee.  

“Fathers and Friends” is the brainchild of Linda Currie, a mom, busy professional, and member of the East County Community (ECC) Circle.  The project’s inspiration is an initiative called All Pro Dad and Linda’s own teen-aged son. 

"We want this project to help males in the community be stronger role models and increase the self-worth and self-esteem of our children,” Linda explains at the meeting’s outset.

Attendees at this first meeting include Lisa Betts and Dipo Aina (ECC Circle members), James Allrich (Banneker MS Principal), Chris Bradbury (delegate to the MCDCC), and Larry Edmonds (Paint Branch HS PTA President). 

The good ideas flow quickly and it doesn’t take long for the Committee to settle upon its first action step:  Create an asset map.  It was James’ suggestion that the Committee look to, “bridge with other organizations,” that sparks the idea. 

The Steering Committee will develop a map of all the school, faith-based, government, and private programs for youth in the area.  The geographic boundaries for the project will mirror those of the MCPS Northeast Consortium. 

“We don’t need to re-invent the wheel.  There are already a lot of good programs happening in this community,” Chris observes.   

A sub-committee will work on developing the asset mapping process with the full Committee meeting again in May.

“This asset map alone could be a valuable tool for families looking for local activities and resources,” Larry notes.  He adds, “Having a community group focused on the big picture of what’s available to families in this area is huge.”

Committee members see creating the map not only as a way to identify resources, but also any gaps and areas ripe for collaboration. 

Lisa offers that, "This asset map project can guide the work of this Committee and show us a way forward."

Before adjournment, Chris suggests some homework for Committee members:  “We need to hear from the youth we want to serve.  Every Thursday evening here at the Community Center, a group of about 20 teens meet as a part of the Street Outreach Network.   We should each try to stop by and listen in on a meeting.” 

Homework assignment accepted, the meeting wraps with Dipo’s words from earlier in the morning still playing in our heads:  “Community action is what we’re all made for.”


The Maydale Nature Center

Lanita Whitehurst on Monday, 23 March 2015.

Renewed Community Interest in Closed Site

Exterior Pic Maydale Center

Despite its current boarded up state, the cement building on the grounds of the Maydale Conservation Park still looks like the nature center it was for almost 30 years. Rustic wood paneling covers the walls, a massive brick fireplace takes up one whole side of the room, and an unscrolled map of the park dangles from the ceiling.      

The Maydale Nature Center closed in 2008, the result of budget cuts.  But the building was once a bustling place, housing MCPS nature programming that served some 4,000 students annually.  Today, the Center is unoccupied and deteriorating.

But, thanks to the efforts of community members like ECC Circle member Renee Katz, there is renewed interest in the site.  Renee’s testimony before the Recreation Advisory Board about the historical, social, and educational significance of the Center (spurred on by the earlier efforts of groups like The Friends of Maydale Nature Center), resulted in the MoCo Department of Parks organizing a March 20th building tour and stakeholder meeting.

Tammie Brian AnleuThe meeting brought together local teachers, Council staff, ECC Circle members, staff from the Department of Parks, the Director of the East County Regional Services Center, and the Chair of the Recreation Advisory Board to talk about the Center’s past and future. 

The meeting discussion included a brief history of the building, an explanation of the needed repairs and associated costs ($171,857), and an overview of existing Parks programming.   Eventually the conversation turned to options for revitalizing the Maydale Center.  While it was made clear that the Department of Parks has no funding for any new initiatives, one possibility is that the Montgomery County Parks Foundation could help with finding private funding for improvements. 

The issue of equity of access was raised, noting that Eastern Montgomery County is short on the types of services and amenities that are more abundantly available in other parts of the County.  Renee underscored the point by commenting that, “A vital Maydale Nature Center would bring nature experiences to the area's underserved populations.”

Ultimately, the one thing that everyone could agree on was the need to do better community outreach about existing seasonal activities in the Maydale Conservation Park surrounding the Nature Center.  John Nissel, Dept. Dir. of Operations for the Department of Parks said, “If there is a disconnect between our communication and the community, we want to fix it.” 

Renee Lisa GuyOne suggested outreach tool is reinstituting the Friends of Maydale Newsletter to keep residents abreast of happenings at the Park.  Another idea is to do a better job of identifying and updating Department of Parks kiosks in the East County area. 

By the conclusion of the meeting, two things were decided:   Renee and John Nissel will meet again to develop action steps.  And members of the ECC Circle will work to ensure a big community turn out for Maydale Park’s  April 11th Spring is Here Hike

2015 Momentum Award Recipients

Paula Matallana on Wednesday, 18 March 2015. Posted in Inside Impact

Community Change Makers

Impact Silver Spring is proud to announce the 2015 Momentum Award recipients! Since 2007, the annual Momentum Awards have honored unsung heroes who exemplify the skill and will to build vibrant multicultural communities. Momentum Award winners activate their networks to create social, economic, and civic momentum throughout Montgomery County, reflecting Impact’s mission to build thriving multicultural communities and strong local economies through community-based networks.

This year, Impact Silver Spring is excited to announce a new award category called the Momentum Maker Award. This award honors an established leader who goes beyond doing “good work” by pushing past boundaries of limiting beliefs and assumptions to find innovative and enduring solutions to the complex problems of our time.

Award winners will be honored at IMPACT Now! on May 7th, 2015 at the Fillmore Silver Spring. Visit the IMPACT Now! registration page for more event information. 

After a rigorous and competitive process, an awards committee made up of diverse community members selected the following individuals as Impact's 2015 Momentum Award recipients:

Dr. Pollard

Momentum Maker: Dr. DeRionne Pollard

Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard is the winner of the Momentum Maker Award for her work as President of Montgomery College. Dr. Pollard consistently weighs in on matters related to education equity, particularly as it relates to learners of color. For example, she worked with MCPS and the Universities at Shady Grove to create ACES, a program that helps prepare high school students for college. Furthermore, Dr. Pollard has tasked the college with creating a new posture for community engagement to make the campus more open. Dr. Pollard was a member of Impact Silver Spring’s Board of Directors from 2011 to 2014.

Tamar Ruth

Social Momentum: Tamar Ruth

Tamar Ruth is the winner of the Social Momentum Award for her work as Assistant Principal at Greencastle Elementary School in the Briggs Chaney community in East County. By connecting diverse stakeholders, she has helped create new opportunities for students, such as academic and socio-emotional programs. Some of the institutional partnerships that Ms. Ruth has integrated into Greencastle Elementary School's programs include a reading-literacy tutoring program with the CommonWeal Foundation and a mentoring program for boys with the Institute for Building Men. Ms. Ruth works to improve network connections across the diverse school community, having been actively involved with the local NAACP, the East Count Community Circle, MCPS Equity Team, and the Advisory Board for the MCPS Office of Community Engagement and Partnership.

Megan Moriarty

Economic Momentum: Megan Moriarty

Megan Moriarty is the winner of the Economic Momentum Award for her work as the Owner and Manager of Fenton Street Market. Ms. Moriarty participated as a vendor in the market in 2009 and then acquired the company in 2011. In 2012, Ms. Moriarty led efforts to keep the market in downtown Silver Spring when increased costs threatened to force it to move from its Veterans Plaza location. She has created an active vendor network to help small business owners share information, grow their businesses, and build a sense of camaraderie, making Fenton Street Market unique within the usually competitive market world. Prior to Fenton Street Market, Ms. Moriarty was a staff member at Impact Silver Spring, where she worked to build community networks in Wheaton.

jessica weissCivic Momentum: Jessica Weiss

Jessica Weiss is the winner of the Civic Momentum Award for her work as the Founder and Executive Director of Growing SOUL, an organization that focuses on the creation of a just, interconnected, and sustainable food system for Montgomery Country. Her accomplishments include organizing panel discussions on the global food crisis for Silver Spring GreenFest and the Corporate Volunteer Council in 2014. Ms. Weiss's work also includes creating job training opportunities for the homeless. Frurthermore, Ms. Weiss has signed off on over 1,500 Student Service Learning hours, 350 apprentice hours, and 7,500 volunteer hours for the community-at-large. For the past four years, Ms. Weiss has ben doing all of her civic work as a volunteer.

Please join us in congratulating this year's Momentum Award Winners!