November 2021
The Spotlight
10th Annual Good Neighbor Day
Good Neighbor Day 2021
November 13 was the10th annual Good Neighbor Day! We are very pleased to say that it was a success! Each year, 500+ volunteers come together to participate in beautification projects around the greater College Park area. Through teamwork, these projects keep the community beautiful and people unified. Good Neighbor Day started in 2011 as a Christmas in April event. The event has grown to be a tradition in greater College Park. Our very own Betty Hewlett, Chairman of M-NCPPC and the Prince George’s County Planning Board, was present at Good Neighbor Day again this year. She has participated in many previous years and says it's one of her favorite community gatherings. “Good Neighbor Day is a wonderful community tradition, collaboration and partnership that brings together the University of Maryland, the City of College Park, and The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Department of Parks and Recreation to clean and beautify the spaces that we share,” said Betty.
M-NCPPC Chairman Betty Hewlett (2nd from right) with Carlo Colella (Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of the University of Maryland), Darryll J. Pines (President of the University of Maryland), Gloria Aparicio Blackwell (Director of Community Engagement at University of Maryland) and Fazlul Kabir (Council Member of the City of College Park District 1) Good Neighbor Day 2021
Volunteers are from all walks of the community - from University of Maryland College Park staff and students to elected officials and longtime College Park residents. Some of those projects included removing invasive species from parks, neighborhood and community clean-ups and beautification projects at Prince George’s County Public Schools. University of Maryland College Park President Darryll Pines stepped in to help at High Point High School where volunteers painted the teachers’ lounge and also helped volunteers rake leaves at Hollywood Elementary School. This year featured the university’s Department of Transportation Services support for Fill-a-Bus food drive to support our neighbors in need.
Principal Carlos Johnson ( Hollywood Elementary School) and President Darryll Pines at Hollywood Elementary School
Good Neighbor Day volunteers played it safe by social distancing and protecting themselves using masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. There were virtual workshops and in-person workshops. It was a great day of learning during the virtual workshops. Information about African-American history, relationships, financial literacy and basic life skills were all shared via Zoom. The Good Neighbor Day Planning Committee, led by the university’s Office of Community Engagement, also took a few moments to recognize Chairman Hewlett for her many years of support to the event. Betty says it's the kind of team effort that happens on GND that keeps the neighborhood strong. “Community collaborations like Good Neighbor Day bring the community together and build a great foundation for future generations,” Betty added. This collaborative event is made possible thanks to our many business, government, and nonprofit partnerships.
STEAM is taking place the entire month of November in Prince George’s County. This fall’s STEAM festival is providing youth with engaging activities and programs that help build individual confidence and knowledge in subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. The goal is to educate the youth and help them become better students when problem solving and using critical thinking skills. For more information on upcoming STEAM events and to register click here!
Sticking To A Budget During The Holiday Season
Overspending during the holiday season is very common and something we may find ourselves doing unintentionally. From throwing lavish holiday parties to purchasing big price tagged items, if you are not careful, once the holiday season has passed you may find yourself in some big time financial debt. Here’s a guideline to help you stick to a budget while holiday shopping as well as keep track of your spending.

Start Saving Early!
The best thing you can do is get a head start. If you have a big family and a large friend group, start saving money earlier in the year. Take a few extra dollars out of every pay check to put aside for your holiday budget. Before you know it, you will already have your holiday funds before December. Saving money for the holidays early will take some stress off later.

Stick To A Budget!
Decide how much you are willing to spend this holiday season and stick to it. Going over your budget just defeats the purpose of creating a budget in the first place.

Take advantage of holiday sales!
Participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Don't like the holiday rush? You can participate in Cyber Monday from the comfort of your laptop or phone.

Compare prices!
Don’t limit yourself to just one store, try several stores and after that look online. Nowadays items seem to be cheaper when you order them online. If you don’t want to order online, find local stores that do price matching. Everyone wants your dollar, so make sure you’re spending wisely and not overpaying for products that can be purchased cheaper or price matched.

Consider regifting. Sometimes we get a lot of gifts and gift cards that we never get around to using. As long as it's still in good condition, it may be smarter to re-gift rather than going out and spending more money.

At the end of the day, the real takeaway is the holidays should not be about trying to outdo each other with the biggest and most expensive celebrations or gifts. Try to find the joy in having your friends, family and health.
Good Holiday Reads
The fall and winter months may be the best time to curl up under your favorite blanket in your rocking chair or sit in front of the fireplace and open up a book. As the snow falls and ice slicks the roads you can stay home and get a lost in a good read. Here’s some great fall/winter book suggestions from the Department of Parks and Recreation's Book Club coordinator Cynthia Kelly. See books and briefings below!

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
"Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?"

I Wish I Had A Red Dress by Pearl Cleage
"Joyce Mitchell was widowed far too young when her beloved husband, Mitch, died in a tragic accident five years ago. Since then she's kept her hands full and her mind and heart occupied by running The Sewing Circus, an all-girl group she founded to provide badly needed services like day care and job counseling to young women, many of whom are single mothers. More important, The Circus is a place for lively, wide-ranging, heart-to-heart discussions that will help members grow into what Joyce likes to call "twenty-first-century free women."

The Resolution by Michelle Lindo Rice
"When Geneva Samson’s fiancé breaks up with her via text message, she resolves she will not allow this heartbreak to discourage her. So, she posts a wanted ad on her social media page for a ‘stand-in’ to go with her on what would have been her honeymoon to Montego Bay, Jamaica, for the New Year. She never expected to become an overnight sensation. Geneva receives over 1,000 offers by men bearing the same name. When the ultimate bad boy of showbiz volunteers, will this good girl grant his request?"

Email book club coordinator Cynthia Kelly for more information on how to join.
See Santa Fly!
Watch Santa fly into the College Park Aviation Museum! Join us on December 4 to take pictures with Santa and create in-person crafts. Those who can’t stay will be given a craft bag kit to take and complete at home. There's a two picture limit with Santa and participation is by reservation only. Admission is $5 per person. For more information and registration email Hope to see you there!
Student Service-Learning
In 1992, Maryland became the first state in the nation to institute a requirement for all students to participate in service-learning before graduating from high school. It's not too soon to start earning hours. Sign up for student-service learning opportunities and record your hours here!
If you have questions about volunteering or student-service learning hours, contact
If you have any ideas for upcoming newsletter features, contact