IMPACT Silver Spring and Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association Enter Into 5th Year of Partnership to Expand Youth Sports

Paula Matallana on Monday, 06 February 2017. Posted in Inside Impact


Jayne Park
IMPACT Silver Spring
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IMPACT Silver Spring and Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association Enter Into 5th Year of Partnership to Expand Youth Sports

SILVER SPRING, Md. – February 7, 2017 – Today the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association announced a $25,000 grant award to IMPACT Silver Spring to provide on-going and expanded sports opportunities to children and youth in low income neighborhoods in the greater Silver Spring area. Since 2011, IMPACT has been organizing soccer and basketball teams for elementary through high school age students in the Long Branch community. In 2014, IMPACT’s sports program expanded to include Wheaton – increasing the program’s geographic reach and the total number of low income families with access to sporting opportunities that they did not previously have.

“We appreciate the tremendous support the American Beverage Association’s Foundation has given to IMPACT over the past five years, which has enabled us to both meet the growing demand for sports activities in Long Branch and Wheaton, and continue the planned expansion of our sports programs to East County,” said Jayne Park, Executive Director of IMPACT Silver Spring.

IMPACT acquired the Long Branch Athletic Association (LBAA) in 2011, incorporating sports as an integral aspect of its work because IMPACT understands that improving the lives of children is an essential component of building vibrant communities. This is especially important in Montgomery County’s low-income neighborhoods, where few opportunities exist for youth to participate in affordable, geographically accessible, team-based sports.

Over the next year, IMPACT will offer expanded year-round soccer and basketball opportunities for youth in the Long Branch and Wheaton communities and will further pilot its programs in Briggs Chaney. Additional activities planned for this year include expanding the Wheaton Soccer League and exposure to new sports such as lacrosse, ultimate Frisbee, and flag football.

“We are thrilled with our partnership with IMPACT Silver Spring which demonstrates our commitment to promoting a healthy, balanced lifestyle among young people,” said Ellen Valentino, executive vice president, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association. “It is important to make sure children and their parents know that exercise and physical activity are the building blocks of living a vigorous, healthy life.”

The grant is jointly funded by the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America.

About IMPACT Silver Spring
IMPACT Silver Spring was founded in 1999 during the revitalization of downtown Silver Spring. The unique and specific focus of IMPACT’s work is to build and sustain community-based networks that ignite local inclusive economies and vibrant communities. IMPACT’s vision is a thriving multicultural community where everyone has a full and quality life because everyone is engaged, connected, and exercising individual and collective power.

About Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association
The Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association is the regional trade association for local soft drink bottlers and distributors including Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, PepsiCo, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, and Canada Dry Potomac Corp. These companies not only manufacture and distribute soft drinks in Maryland, but employ thousands of local residents.

About the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America
The American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America seeks to make a significant contribution to the health of local communities by providing grants to support charitable programs at community organizations that work to advance both the physical health of their local citizens and the environmental health of their communities. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) created and funded by America’s non-alcoholic beverage industry and is a reflection of the industry’s long-standing tradition of giving back to communities.”

IMPACT's Annual Meeting in Words and Pictures

Paula Matallana on Wednesday, 20 July 2016. Posted in Inside Impact

July 2016 Newsletter

The following content was originally distributed through IMPACT Silver Spring's July e-newsletter.

Message from the Senior Network Coach

Dear Friends:

Welcome to the July 2016 issue of the IMPACT Newsletter. This edition is devoted to sharing highlights from our first ever Annual Network Meeting held on June 8th. More than 90 network members and friends joined us for the event at the Silver Spring Civic Building. We know that one of the most important aspects of building and sustaining robust community-based networks is good communication and exchange of ideas among network members. Networks are more likely to thrive when information flows freely and people are learning from and sharing with each other.

At the Annual Meeting, during what we called “Network Action,” members of six IMPACT Circles shared their stories of collective action from the past year: the Gaithersburg Circle, the Micro-Entrepreneurs Circle, the Family Asset Building Circle, the East County Community Circle, the English Language Circle, and the Grandview Circle. The entire Annual Network Meeting was simultaneously interpreted in English and Spanish to encourage full inclusion and sharing.

We hope that you will scroll through the entirety of this newsletter to enjoy some of the pictures from the evening, read a few of the insights shared by Circle members during “Network Action,” and to make note of upcoming IMPACT network events listed on our calendar. Thank you for your ongoing interest in and support of IMPACT’s work.


Lanita Whitehurst


2016 Annual Network Meeting in Words and Pictures

“Not everything is about leaders. Community work also just needs people there to help. It’s important for people to know that they don’t have to take on some huge role, they can just be a contributor—with their voice, their time, their talent. Encourage other people in your community, as we work to broaden our Circles, to remember that all aspects of being on a team are important."
–Tia Taylor, East County Community Circle

“So many people who come from different places arrive here wondering what to do and are intimidated by the language. There are always the questions of what to do, where to study, where to work. The purpose of the Gaithersburg Circle is to continue to enlarge the Circle and amplify the voices of others. We open the doors to those who want to be active in their community and share their gifts.”
- Myriam Vargas, Gaithersburg Circle

“I have seen how people work hard day after day while only being paid a pittance. There are some people who are not even paid the minimum wage. I saw this when I came to this country so I challenged myself to start my own business.”
- Selvyn Vasquez, Micro-Entrepreneurs Circle

“Some people say, ‘why not just keep your money in the bank’ instead of using the Ekub [an Ethiopian traditional financial cooperative]. But, I say no. There are many advantages associated with the Ekub. Because there is no interest with the Ekub, the psychological effect is very helpful because people know that they can get interest-free money when they need it.”
-Elias Abdullah, Family Asset Building Circle

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.

Knock 3000 Times

Lanita Whitehurst on Sunday, 06 March 2016.

Update from the Wheaton Network

Pic Wheaton Blog PostBounded by Veirs Mills Road, Georgia Avenue, and Randolph Road, the Wheaton North neighborhood boasts more than 3,000 houses.  IMPACT Network Builders Carmen Hernandez and Carolyn Lowery have plans to visit each and every one of those homes over the next couple of months to help grow IMPACT’s network in Wheaton.

Carmen and Carolyn are going door-to-door, meeting residents and inviting them to participate in community conversations with their neighbors.  The door-knocking and neighborhood dialogues are part of IMPACT’s ongoing network-building work in Wheaton.   This current effort builds upon the existing resident-led action circles (supported by IMPACT) already hard at work in the neighborhood by identifying ​ and engaging  additional residents who want to be a part of a ​connected community. 

Going door-to-door allows for deep community engagement—the kind that is essential to sparking resident action. Door knocking, done right, is both personal and communal.  Connection is at the individual level, but there is an invitation to be part of something bigger. 

“Door knocking is the moment when we get to see the human face of what we are always calling community,” Carmen explained when asked what she enjoys most about meeting residents on their front steps.

​Carmen and Carolyn have already knocked on some 90 doors and hosted the first community conversation last Tuesday at Catholic Charities in Wheaton.  While the group was small, the conversation was rich.

Neighbors talked about the things they love about North Wheaton: Its beautiful trees, helpful neighbors, convenient location, and abundant diversity.   And, recognizing the power of the space, they also shared things they hope to talk to more of their neighbors about during upcoming community conversations.

“I think if we could all come together and have a conversation like this one, where we really hear from each other, it would make a big difference,” remarked resident Jacqui Morrison.  That’s the idea.

Carmen and Carolyn will continue with their door-knocking over the weeks and months to come.  They plan to hold regular community conversations with an eye towards helping neighbors build more and stronger relationships; move into action collaboratively around the things they care about; and, for those residents who are interested, get training and support to serve as connectors in their community.   

​Only 2910 more more knocks to go!

The Neighborhood Economics Conference

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

Carlos Iglesias & Elizabeth McMeekin Share Their Experience

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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?