New Beginnings


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A Message from Jayne Park, IMPACT's New Executive Director

Dear Friends:

I am enormously grateful and honored to be writing to you as IMPACT’s new Executive Director. I joined IMPACT’s network more than 10 years ago, when I partnered with Frankie Blackburn to convene and facilitate a space for nonprofit leaders of color to come together for mutual support and exchange. That was my first opportunity to personally experience the transformative power of IMPACT’s work, and since then I have been on an active journey to deepen my own understanding and practices around transformational social change. I look forward to building upon the legacy of Frankie Blackburn, Ronnie Galvin, and all of the inspirational staff, network members, and board members who have made IMPACT what it is now.

IMPACT has been a community innovator in Montgomery County for 15 years – building neighborhood-based networks to create a more inter-connected community across lines of difference. Through a set of intentional practices developed over many years, IMPACT today is weaving together the social fabric that leads to individual and collective well-being, increased economic opportunities for struggling families, and a stronger sense of community in diverse neighborhoods across Montgomery County. We are doing this person-by-person, circle by circle, and neighborhood-by-neighborhood. A core focus of IMPACT’s work are Opportunity Circles. It is painstaking work – but it is vital to building a thriving multi-cultural community.

Our work matters because research and studies have shown that communities with less social capital and weakened social connections experience poor social outcomes – including high crime rates, low educational attainment, and high rates of teen pregnancy. It is also well-documented that weak social cohesion leads to poor health outcomes. IMPACT’s innovative network-building approach helps to build and strengthen social cohesion and connections, leading to more positive outcomes across all social and health indicators.

We cannot do this alone. We invite and need your help. Please consider ways you might contribute your gifts, skills and passions to the building of a thriving network, including the giving of a year-end financial gift.

I look forward to connecting with you in the days and weeks ahead – and wish you a season filled with much joy and peace.

Tuesday, 09 December 2014

This is What You Support

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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.

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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!

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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.

Tuesday, 09 December 2014

Gaithersburg Circle Explores English Language Learning by Hispanic Immigrants

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.


2nd Quarterly Wheaton Network Meeting

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On Wednesday, December 10th, 2014, IMPACT Silver Spring will be meeting with a number of organizations and political entities that serve the area of Wheaton for the second Wheaton Network Meeting. The purpose of the Wheaton Network Meetings is to explore collaboration between the organizations that optimizes resources and amplifies the reach of the network in order to have a greater impact on the areas of Wheaton and Bel Pre. This new approach is in response to past activities and events that were planned by individual organizations while other organizations would support through marginal roles. This was found to be counterproductive and less effective than larger activities that were intentionally created by all of the organizations. After the first Wheaton Network Meeting in October, the organizations that originally came together invited new organizations to join in the conversation to forge the work in Wheaton.

As we prepare for the second quarterly meeting, we look forward to the beginning of a great collaboration with the following nonprofits and governmental departments: Ana G. Méndez, Capital Area Campus; Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County; Catholic Charities; Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity; Latino Economic Development Center; The Literacy Council of Montgomery County; Manna Food Center; Mid-County Community Recreation Center; Montgomery College; Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services; Montgomery County Department of Recreation; Montgomery Housing Partnership; Montgomery Works; Office of Councilmember Nancy Navarro

Community Events
Annual Holiday Concert and Dinner
Friday, December 12, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Long Branch Community Recreation Center, 8700 Piney Branch Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20912 
For all ages. Choruses from area elementary schools will be performing all your favorite holiday songs. Enjoy a hot dinner and dessert, and get your children's picture taken with Santa! $5 per person for dinner, photos included.
Breakfast with Santa
Saturday, December 20, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
East County Community Center, 3310 Gateshead Manor Way, Silver Spring, MD 20904
Crafts - Door Prizes - Face Painting Grades K-5. Admission for children under 7 is $3.00, 8 and up is $5.00; cash at the door.All proceeds benefit Friends of Recreation. This event is sponsored by the East County Community Center and the East County Advisory Committee. Want to know more? Contact the Community Center at 240-777-8090.
Catholic Charities Holiday Fair
Monday, December 22, 12:00 - 6:30 p.m.
Catholic Charities, 12247 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902
Catholic Charities will be hosting a holiday fair to make residents aware of the various resources in the area and provide fun activities for children. This is an opportunity for residents to become aware of the services and resources in their community. The fair will take place on Monday, December 22, 2014 from 12-6:30 p.m.

 IMPACT Images

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Morris Buster from the Long Branch Recreation Center hosted the Long Branch Partners Meeting on December 4th.
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Partners from different organizations and government entities who work in the Long Branch area.





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