Articles in Category: Events

IMPACT Now! 2016

Jayne Park on Friday, 22 April 2016. Posted in Events

Reflection from IMPACT's Executive Director

thumb DSC 0472 1024Earlier this month, more than 200 community members gathered to help make our IMPACT Now! event a tremendous success! Many of the people gathered were loyal friends of IMPACT, but we were also excited to see many new faces. Some of us had participated in more than 20 different book groups that were held throughout the county in the weeks leading up to the event. And all of us were inspired and challenged by our keynote speaker, Peter Block, whose central message was around the importance of strengthening social fabric and reclaiming neighborliness.

Both in Peter’s remarks and his book Abundant Community, he shared several powerful ideas on how to strengthen our social fabric – which we at IMPACT believe is essential to a thriving multicultural community. One key idea is that “we need to come together in a different way, and shift and change our conversations. We need to stop focusing on deficiencies and needs, and focus instead on people’s gifts and possibilities.” Peter went further to say “there is no such thing as a poor person….the social capital and the woundedness of our culture will not get changed through charity or advice.”

At IMPACT, the kind of gift-orientation that Peter talks about is central to our work as network builders. Among our core values is to focus on people’s strengths and opportunities, and to create the kinds of gathering spaces that actively bring forward everyone’s gifts and talents. We create spaces where people can come together to build relationships that are mutual and reciprocal, because we believe that everyone has something to offer others, and something they need from others. Through our gift-centered approach, we are witnesses to an inspiring array of talents, skills, and actions that are being activated across our network by neighborhood residents.

The Neighborhood Economics Conference

Paula Matallana on Friday, 18 December 2015. Posted in Events

Carlos Iglesias & Elizabeth McMeekin Share Their Experience

neblue 300x89

My coworker, Carlos Iglesias, and I had the opportunity to attend the Neighborhood Economics conference in Cincinnati last month. Although I had traveled past Cincinnati many times on my way to visit family in Kentucky, this was my first chance to visit the city itself. From beginning to end, this was an incredible experience on many levels.

On a purely personal level, it was a great gift to learn that two friends of mine live in Cincinnati, where they had founded St. Lydia’s House. They offered us lodging while we were in town, giving us time to catch up and to learn about this amazing guest house for women with children in transition. We learned some of the history of the neighborhood through our conversations, and best of all, because we were within walking distance from Xavier University, we had the opportunity for an up-close view of the community during our trips back and forth.

People from all around the country and the world came together at this conference, offering an abundance of riches! Some brought with them deep experience working on local economic initiatives in cities like Detroit, MI; Allentown, PA; and New Orleans, LA; and of course Cincinnati, OH. Others represented the funding/philanthropic world that provides the vital social capital for many programs to operate. Through keynote addresses, and break-out sessions, we had the opportunity to hear stories from people engaged with organizations, businesses, cooperative incubators, and much more.

Break times provided meaningful opportunities to connect with other participants. For lunch on the first day, a Cincinnati-based participant organized an impromptu caravan to Community Blend, a worker-owned cooperative restaurant. As we ate we spoke with one young woman from Detroit. She is interested in starting a worker-owned cooperative that will prepare and sell a range of fermented foods and drinks. She shared that for her, “this is more than just starting a cool food business or creating jobs. Together, we’ll be building community.”

All in all, being together with the 100 or so participants, and hearing from the many different presenters provided both inspiration and confirmation that our work at IMPACT is connected to a much larger network of people and organizations around the country. In different contexts around the country and even the world, we are all involved in the elemental task of building community; believing in people and honoring their capacity; focusing on strengths and assets rather than needs and deficits. Ultimately, we believe that there is abundance in community.

La conferencia se llevó a cabo en la Universidad Xavier en Cincinnati, Ohio. Entramos al anfiteatro a eso de las 10:00 de la mañana, unas cien personas aproximadamente estábamos ahí. Yo estaba emocionado que iba a conocer a reconocidos teólogos, escritores, políticos y diferentes personalidades que expondrían en la conferencia. Debo de confesar que en lo primero que me fije en algunos de ellos fue en su cabello que era blanco y un poco despeinado, un estilo como de genios y pensadores.

Durante los dos días de conferencia se tocaron temas de carácter económico y social desde un punto de vista teológico, científico y filosófico bajo un marco de la realidad actual. Luego participe en cuatro talleres, el primero bajo el tema: Descubre como las cooperativas ayudan a crear una economía que trabaja para todos. El segundo: Un nuevo liderazgo para una nueva economía. El tercero: Construyendo su comunidad y su economía y el cuarto: Cultivando un ecosistema de emprendedores para todos.

Ahora bien, les explicare con mis palabras que fue lo más importante para mí, y lo que ha quedado guardo en mi mente después de esta conferencia: He llegado a la obvia conclusión que vivo en un mundo con una economía globalizada, soy esclavo del consumismo y sus vicios, no estoy conforme con lo que tengo, trabajo para tener donde vivir, pagar mi carro, mis deudas, etc. Al igual que todos.

Paso con mis hijos muy poco tiempo y a veces llego a casa cuando ellos ya están dormidos, no conozco a mis vecinos. Vivo en un mundo de competencia en el cual jugamos a ver quién sabe hacer mejor las cosas, todo eso y mil cosas más me dan stress, depresión y un poco de infelicidad.

Es increíble la ceguera que nos embarga hasta el punto que necesitamos asistir grandes conferencias, y escuchar a expertos y analistas que nos expliquen las cosas más básicas y sencillas de la vida como por ejemplo vivir en comunidad, conocer a nuestros vecinos, la ayuda mutua, el respeto hacia los demás, etc. Los seres humanos somos seres sociables por definición, eso quiere decir que tenemos una cantidad de dones y talentos incluidos, es algo que traemos de paquete, no lo tenemos que comprar, pero no lo estamos utilizando.

Este es uno de los ejemplos de cómo las cosas más básicas, sencillas y valiosas a veces se convierten en las más difíciles.

Las frases y preguntas que más me marcaron y que te las puedes hacer a ti mismo son: “Dejemos de ser consumidores y seamos ciudadanos”.
¿Cuántos de tus vecinos conoces?
¿Cuantas personas cuidan de ti?


With thanks to the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation!

Elizabeth McMeekin on Monday, 13 October 2014. Posted in Events

Celebrating Eid al Adha

MC Muslim FoundationIn honor of the Muslim holy day, Eid al Adha (also known as the Festival of the Sacrifice), the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation partners with community based organizations to distribute donations of fresh beef to county residents.

For the third year in a row, IMPACT served as a partner to the Foundation, inviting members from its Opportunity Circles to participate in the meat distribution. On Saturday, October 11th, a group of 163 people gathered at IMPACT’s office for the distribution despite the chilly and damp weather. To stay warm and active, Carmen Hernandez, lead organizer of this event, invited participants to join in a Hello Circle. As people presented themselves to one another, we learned that there were people from Germantown, Wheaton, and Long Branch present, representing six different Opportunity Circles. 

GATORS close successful first year

on Friday, 13 June 2014. Posted in Inside Impact, Events

building community one child at a time

Arcola pictureLast week, the kids said goodbye to the GATOR club for the summer. The program, spearheaded by our friends at the Mongtomery Housing Partnership, was extremely successful in it's first and blast for Damian (our Wheaton Sports Coordinator) and me this Spring.

 MHP received a 5-year, $1.1 million grant from the Maryland State Department of Education to develop and operate two 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) in partnership with Arcola Elementary School in Wheaton. IMPACT led sports and parent engagement activities as part of the program during the Spring.

East County Family Reunion & Tournament

Paula Matallana on Tuesday, 03 June 2014. Posted in Events

"A Community United"

east county tablingFace painting, relay races, a moon bounce, and some intense basketball playing- that’s what awaited community members attending the May 31st East County Family Reunion and Tournament. The event was organized by IMPACT’s East County Parents Circle and HHS’ Street Outreach Network. The Reunion and Tournament were held on the grounds of the East County Community Center and were supported by the MC Department of Recreation and the East County Regional Services Center. 

Event organizers envisioned creating a community affair that would draw children, teens, and adults for food, fun, physical activity, and making connections. These goals were definitely met! 

Event goers and tournament participants were treated to food and drinks from Little Caesars Pizza and Chick-Fil-A. Carnival Day donated a mega moon bounce. More than 70 youth, from elementary school-aged to young adult, participated in the basketball tournament. And, representatives from local organizations and institutions were on-hand to share information, services, and goodie bags! Residents were able to connect with: the Greencastle Elementary School PTA, the African American Health Program, MobileMed, Montgomery County Public Libraries, One Montgomery, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.