Connecting Across Generations

Lanita Whitehurst on Thursday, 22 January 2015.

The East County Community Circle

EC1Senior citizens and teens from Briggs Chaney and surrounding communities met on January 20th for a Network-Building Luncheon at the East County Community Center. The seniors are all members of the Montgomery County Department of Recreation (MCDR) Senior Fit program; the teens are participants in the Montgomery County Health and Human Services (MCHHS) Street Outreach Network.

The Luncheon was a first step in a resident-led effort to build stronger local networks of exchange and support among older adults and their neighbors. The initiative is spearheaded by Sylvia Saunders, a member of the IMPACT-supported East County Community Circle. 

EC3The seniors chose to begin by connecting to area teens. They reached out to organizations with knowledge on aging-in-place issues and/or the ability to reach local young people.

Ten seniors and four teens met over sandwiches and pizza. They focused on relationship-building and identifying the assets and needs of those in the room. Having everyone name something they could offer as well as something that they need help with served to break down barriers and identify points of connection.

Big Shots from Unlikely Hands

Damian Popkin on Thursday, 22 January 2015.

Wheaton Sports' Winter Basketball Tournament

IMG 0117Easily the tallest player present, Samuel was selected last among the older players to join a team. Unfazed, the lean and lanky 8th grader jogged over to join them. As it turned out, his team would go on to battle their way into the championship in the 5 x 5 tournament at Arcola Elementary. This winter break event, hosted by IMPACT's Wheaton Sports program on December 27th, began as a drop-in basketball day. However, as the number of players in each division (3rd-4th, 5th-6th) began swelling with eager older siblings and their friends wanting to join the fun, it seemed clear a pick-up court environment wouldn't do. Ultimately, four tournament teams competed.

Enter Samuel: The teams battled back and forth, leaving Samuel's team up 8-7 with just 30 seconds to go. Fueled by motivation and a dwindling game clock, the other team drove up the court and pushed to score the tying point. After multiple wayward shots, a teammate snagged a rebound and quickly whipped it to Samuel. With a mere three seconds left, Samuel barely crossed the halfway line and sunk a buzzer-beating shot, giving a glorious finishing touch to a great day!

As the kids made their way off the court, parents and adults took over to play their own pick up ball. In all 35 kids and 10 adults participated in what will hopefully become a regular holiday event.

This is What You Support

Elizabeth McMeekin on Tuesday, 09 December 2014. Posted in Inside Impact

End of year giving

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IMPACT Silver Spring’s work through Opportunity Circles and sports teams focuses on creating opportunities for community members to realize their dreams. This week, we share two examples of this work in Briggs Chaney and Bel Pre. As you consider your year-end giving, these stories offer an illustration of how your financial support makes an impact in the community.

give to impact-east county copyresizeActivating Community Leadership Skills
Sueann Young, a Briggs Chaney resident and member of the East County Community Circle (ECCC), is not a runner herself, but she has seen the positive impact of running for her daughters, who participate in a running program at their school. “I believe in the power of running to lift a community,” said Sueann. Inspired by a vision of a large number of friends and neighbors running down Briggs Chaney Road, Sueann is activating her leadership within the ECCC to organize a community running group in her neighborhood.

It has not been easy. Finding accessible, free space to run indoors during the cold weather has proven to be a challenge. However, encouraged by ECCC group members and Lanita Whitehurst, IMPACT’s East County Network Builder, a group called the East County Running Club (who are inspired by the powerful question: Who Runs The World?) will begin running together this weekend. Their kickoff event is an indoor Christmas Countdown Run for families at 9:00am on Saturday (12/13/2014) at the East County Recreation Center. Are you feeling inspired? Come on out, and join in with others who are running the world this weekend!

give to impact-bball copyresizeActivating Youth
Through a relationship with Montgomery County Recreation, IMPACT Silver Spring will have the opportunity to host two 5th-8th grade teams in the County’s elite Rising Star program. This is a tremendous privilege, and will require skilled coaches to lead the teams. Enter Ron Samuels, a resident of Bel Pre, who has agreed to serve as a volunteer coach for one of those teams.

Ron is offering his time to activating youth in Bel Pre because he knows neighborhood parents are eager and anxious for their sons to be able to participate in this level of play. But often the costs are too high. Through IMPACT’s team, families will only pay 20% of the registration cost. He describes this opportunity as a “blessing for the Bel Pre community.” IMPACT is fortunate to have such a gifted and willing community member to coach this team of middle school boys. Games start during the first week in January; stay tuned to learn more about their progress.

Your support enables IMPACT to continue building community-based networks that support resident-led initiatives like these to thrive. You can make your end of year contribution to IMPACT electronically via our website or you can make out a check to IMPACT Silver Spring and send it to PO Box 8397, Silver Spring, MD 20907. If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth McMeekin.

Gaithersburg Circle Explores English Language Learning by Hispanic Immigrants

Virginia Berges on Tuesday, 09 December 2014. Posted in Circle Community

IMPACT's Work in Gaithersburg

Gaithersburg Meeting2The early December evening was cold and rainy. Nevertheless, a group of about 15 people met at the Christ the Servant Lutheran Church for a Round Table Discussion organized by IMPACT Silver Spring in Gaithersburg. The topic of the evening was the English-learning process experienced by long time Latino residents of the US, and available resources for people who are initiating the English learning process.

The participants were all immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, each with a unique story of struggle, survival, and triumph. Every story resonated with that of newer immigrants struggling to adapt, to learn, and to join mainstream America. Furthermore, participants embraced the Latino cultural identity and expressed the desire to master the English language. The IMPACT round table discussion was a success in spite of the foreboding weather.

IMPACT Participates in the Thanksgiving Parade

Paula Matallana on Tuesday, 25 November 2014. Posted in Inside Impact

Giving Thanks

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At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 22nd, IMPACT staff, network members, and drummers from Batala Washington DC gathered in the 6th floor of the Town Square parking garage on Ellsworth Drive. We had been waiting 45 minutes for the Thanksgiving Day parade to begin, carrying flags, banners, and drums while we tried to warm up our numb feet and hands. We didn’t know that it would take an extra hour for us to reach the bottom floor, and passed the time looking down at the passing parade floats and playing songs that filled the nearly empty garage. Finally, we came out into the sunshine and it was our time to march.

Our group was a small sample of our network, but radiated color and energy while showcasing the diversity of our members: Children, teenagers, and adults of different ethnicities and nationalities walking under IMPACT flags. Some women even wore traditional clothing from their home countries. With every step we took as we walked down Ellsworth Drive and Georgia Avenue, we heard many of the parade goers shout, “Go IMPACT,” as they waved and danced to the beat of Batala’s drums. We were connecting with each other as a small group and also with the crowd. This moment was a reminder that IMPACT isn't only made up of staff and Circle members, but the larger community that supports us.