Conservation Corps Marks Earth Day with Cleanup at Local Park

In celebration of Earth Day, Montgomery County Conservation Corps members participated in a cleanup at Jessup Blair Park in Silver Spring. In addition to helping clean up the park, several participants also shared poster presentations on conservation topics.

The Collaboration Council funds the Latin American Youth Center to run Conservation Corps, a Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection program, which provides a comprehensive approach to working with youth ages 17-24. Participants gain opportunities to earn their GED and hands-on experience while completing projects in regional parks designed around conservation principles.

Watch a video to hear from youth and staff at the cleanup and learn more about the Conservation Corps.

Climate Change: Local Voices & Positive Approaches

Montgomery County Climate Stories Ambassadors are community leaders encouraging their fellow residents to contribute their “grain of sand,” forging the collective impact necessary to address the climate crisis.

Last month, the Ambassadors hosted Our Grain of Sand: Climate Stories Film Festival at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. You can watch the festival's three short films, along with videos of panel discussions with Ambassadors and leaders from community-based organizations, at the Montgomery County Climate Action Portal.

Sé el cambio (Be the Change), produced by The Latino Health Initiative, was one of three short films featured at the the Grain of Sand: Climate Stories Film Festival.

For another perspective on climate change that embraces possibility rather than despair, we recommend the March 15 opinion piece in The Washington Post by Rebecca Solnit: What if climate change meant not doom – but abundance? Solnit posits that "we need a large-scale change in perspective. To reframe climate change as an opportunity – a chance to rethink who we are and what we desire." Read the full opinion piece here.

The Collaboration Council is fiscal sponsor and co-convener of the Community Justice Academy (CJA) and Community Justice Fund a transformative effort co-created by community-facing organizations and the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The effort was initiated in response to the County's Climate Action Plan process, and its shortcomings in equitably incorporating the lived experiences, perspectives, and voices of communities most impacted by climate and racial injustice.  

The purpose of the CJA, which is led by Senior Fellow of Innovation Jayne Park, is to shift power equitably between local government and frontline communities to advance real, just solutions that directly impact everyday people’s lives. The CJA aims to co-create an anti-racist, climate change-ready region where everyone has what they need to thrive, not just survive. The co-creation process involves community members, community-based organizations, and government staff working collaboratively through a power-sharing approach to address some of the most pressing challenges that sit at the intersection of racial and climate justice. 

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that those most impacted by climate change and racial inequities are positioned to help inform and shape the County's climate and other interconnected policies, programs, and initiatives. Stay tuned for updates on CJA priorities and action items.

Recognizing Black Maternal Health Week in Montgomery County

As the lead for reducing health disparities on the Health and Human Services Committee, Montgomery County Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles presented a proclamation recognizing Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW) on Tuesday, April 11.

We invite you to watch a short video about BMHW in Montgomery County, featuring Christin Statkiewicz, Nurse Case Manager at the African American Health Program, and footage from the Council’s BMHW Proclamation.

Check out the new Breastfeeding Resource Guide from the the National Healthy Start Association.

Public Health Program Manager Jade-Ann Rennie (on the left) kicked off BMHW by attending Baltimore Healthy Start's First Annual Leaders in Maternal Health Awards at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture.

Welcome, Danny!

We're excited to introduce new staff member Danilo (Danny) Quile, who has joined our team as infoMONTGOMERY Innovator and Database Administrator. Danny hails from Brazil, where he earned his B.S. in Computer Engineering in 2015. For the past decade, Danny has been working in information technology across different programs and companies to achieve organizational goals. He now resides in Montgomery County and recently completed an associate's degree in computer science from Montgomery College. 

Welcome to our Collab Corner. Each month, we ask Collaboration Council staff members to share a little about their personal interests or pastimes - things they've been doing to relax, recharge, learn something new, or just have fun.

Alycia Chuney

Project Director, MoCo ReConnect and Reengagement Programs

As someone born in Spring, this time of year is always my favorite. I love to reflect on new beginnings and watch the tree leaves bud and flowers bloom right before my eyes. The energy that radiates from people as they enjoy the warm weather and feel the sunshine is always palpable when sitting in parks or enjoying coffee on a patio.

During this time of year, I try my best to take a weekend trip camping in one the many beautiful parks in the DMV. Sleeping in tents on a cool night with no mosquitoes and no humidity makes for the best time. I would encourage everyone to take some time to literally stop and take in the wondrous environment around us as it flourishes! 

Mark Your Calendar: Things to Do in May

Join the Collaboration Council at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday, May 20 from10am to 6pm at Bohrer Park, where we'll be sharing information about The Basics.

The Basics campaign consists of five evidence-based parenting and caregiving principles that promote high-quality cognitive and social-emotional development among children 0-5.

We invite you to stop by our tent to learn more and for some fun learning activities for younger children, based on The Basics.

Here are more things to see and do connected to special months observed in May.


Harmonious Art Group 23rd Annual Exhibition

On exhibit through July 9, 2023

Activity Center at Bohrer Park

506 South Frederick Avenue

Gaithersburg, MD 20877

This annual exhibit showcases artwork by Asian American artists and highlights both Chinese brush painting and calligraphy. This year’s exhibit celebrates the Harmonious Art Group’s 30th Anniversary. Click here for more AAPI Month activities in Gaithersburg. 

Beckoning: A Playlist of AAPI Joy, Sorrow, Rage & Resistance

Produced in 2021 by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Listen to the playlist on Spotify, and learn about why and how the playlist was created and get background about each track in this Smithsonian Magazine article.


With Parks in Mind

Presented by Montgomery Parks in partnership with EveryMind

May 6, 2-4pm

Germantown Town Center Urban Park

19840 Century Boulevard

Germantown, MD 20874

Guests are invited to walk through a mindfulness chalk maze created by Chalk Riot to reflect and refresh and follow inspirational images along the paths to discover local mental health resources and joyful activities for the whole family. Activities include demo sessions for yoga, guided meditation, breathwork, vision boarding, journaling, and crafts. Learn more.


Smart Home - Smarter Care: Technology that Supports Aging in Place

Presented by Montgomery County Commission on Aging

May 4, 9am - 2:30pm

Activity Center at Bohrer Park 

506 South Frederick Avenue 

Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Learn about the technology applications and opportunities making a difference for older adults today, in areas like health and safety; communication and staying connected, and ease of living.

Register Here (or register to attend remotely via Zoom).

Thank you for your continued support of children, youth and families in Montgomery County.
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