Articles in Category: Circle Community

Support the Girls Running Club!

Kie McCrae on Friday, 18 September 2015. Posted in Circle Community

Mothers and Daughters Race Together in the Shape Diva Dash

diva dash 2The 12 passenger van handled well, although it was a bit like driving a bus. But for our needs, it was perfect. Together that morning, we laughed and had breakfast but you could tell nerves were a bit high. No one had ever participated in anything like this. One of the mothers told me that she didn’t feel well and probably would not run fast today. She just had a baby a few months ago, but I was thinking all along that it was nervousness.

I never told them that the course would have obstacles. I was saving that as a surprise, so I told them about it in the van for the first time and showed them the video. Everyone got really excited about it! It added something special to the event and became more of a personal challenge. Do it for you.

Once the race started, Jazmin, our team leader, began darting through the crowd immediately. I started pushing our faster kids and moms to go with her and they took off too. I was excited about our youngest runner because she is the one child whose mom didn’t run, but the fact that she was fast enough and strong enough to keep up with Jazmin made me (and her mom) extremely proud!

We had the hardest rain of the day! Entire sections of the course were un-walkable and definitely not runnable. One of the runners fell a thousand times while walking, so jogging wasn’t really an option for her. Her mother and I would never leave her behind, so we stayed together.

From stories exchanged later, I learned that one of the mothers, a very strong runner, decided then that she couldn’t wait for her daughter. She said, “I’m sorry baby, but I gotta go,” and left her with some of the other mothers. Their children were ahead with Jazmin. Somewhere around 1.5 miles, there was a lake to run through (I didn’t like that! Everyone else says that was there favorite part! Go figure).

The mud was glorious! It was so thick in places that shoes got stuck and came off. There was an area that I have affectionately nicknamed Bunker Hill because runner souls died there. People came up behind us, tried to just run over it, and found themselves chest deep in mud. I almost fell 4 times, 3 of those times were in the same stride! That’s probably what I loved about the run more than anything. Staying alive!

The ride back in the van was the best thing ever. I don’t know if you have ever played on a team, but travelling together is one of the strongest memories. You get to talk about the game. Relive the moments with people who were with you. Talk strategy. Laugh. Cry. Laugh more.

In the van, we were soaked! Dirty! Exhausted. Happy. We talked about every minute of it, the rain, the mud, the obstacles. Phones came out and everyone had different pictures and different angles of each other completing obstacles. Phone numbers were exchanged, text messages sent, stories compared. There was so much happiness in the van. Parents and kids shared stories and everyone laughed. At that moment, they weren’t strangers running in a club. That wasn’t so-and-so’s daughter. They were a team. They were equals. I had a very proud, quiet moment while we talked.

After the race, I was thinking long and hard about how to make sure that this group could continue to participate in races together. Most of these women love running and before this club, they ran alone or not at all. Some of them even hate running. Yet, there they were in the front and smiling and enjoying it as they pushed each other and patiently waited for one another over obstacles. When we are talking about building networks, that’s what a network looks like to me- teams of people pushing each other to be better, to get where they are going and helping each other to grow.

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.”


Community ChangeMakers

Paula Matallana on Monday, 23 February 2015. Posted in Circle Community

Network Member's Initiative to Lift Up Montgomery County Volunteers

Community ChangeMakers Banner

Volunteers are essential to the successful work of nonprofit organizations, but their efforts are hardly ever in publicized in the limelight. Holly Brooks wants to change this. Holly, who we consider to be a close member of IMPACT’s network, has created the Community ChangeMakers blog to honor volunteers working across Montgomery County.

When sharing the reason why she started the blog, Holly said, “I often see the leaders and EDs in the news, online, etc., but I don't always see the recognition of the day-in, day-out people. This is a way to celebrate unsung heroes and their individual contributions.” She hopes that the website will not only serve as a vehicle to share the amazing work of individual volunteers, but will also serve as a place where community members can network and share ideas with one another.

IMPACT Leads Workshops for GATOR Program

Elizabeth McMeekin on Wednesday, 04 February 2015. Posted in Circle Community

GATOR Workshops at Pembridge and Arcola

IMG 4800 resizeFor the second year in a row, IMPACT has partnered with Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) to support the Great Achievers Towards Outstanding Results (GATOR) program. The GATOR program is an educational initiative designed for families and children and takes place at the Pembridge Apartments and Arcola Elementary School.

One facet of the program includes providing workshops for parents that supports parents interest in their children’s development. IMPACT staff members offer workshops on a range of topics and also share information about community-based resources available through Montgomery County and area nonprofits.

A second facet of the program focuses specifically on children. In the spring, IMPACT’s Wheaton Sports program will lead after-school youth soccer activities at the two sites.

It is a privilege to support youth and their parents in the GATOR program!

Standing Together for Racial Justice

Elizabeth McMeekin on Thursday, 22 January 2015. Posted in Circle Community

IMPACT Stands with Christ Congregational Church

cccOn January 16th, the Black Lives Matter banner outside of Christ Congregational Church in Silver Spring was vandalized. In choosing how to respond, Pastor Matt Braddock and members of the church’s Racial Justice Circle* decided to display the banner inside the sanctuary for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. worship celebration. Pastor Braddock led the gathered community in a reflection and discussion about why changing Black Lives Matter to “all” lives matter dilutes the message about the church’s stand for racial justice.

The church’s Facebook page has been an important tool for community members to share and communicate with one another. In addition, two news teams (NBC4 and USA9) interviewed Pastor Braddock, providing an opportunity to convey widely the church’s commitment to racial justice. They invite others to join in the conversation, using the hashtag #alllivesdontmatteryet. This hashtag, “#alllivesdontmatteryet explains, very succinctly, why the wording on our banner matters to us,” say members of the church. “An act of vandalism will not deter the community from raising awareness and fighting for racial justice.”

*The CCC Racial Justice Circle is one of IMPACT Silver Spring’s Opportunity Circles.