January 2022
The Spotlight: Kashvi Ramani
Kashvi Ramani 2021
Last year, dozens of young volunteers participated in a virtual opportunity to celebrate the life and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They created a collage or wrote an original poem relating the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to what we face as a nation today. Click here to see the collages and hear the youth recite their original poems. 

This January, we highlight volunteer participant Kashvi Ramani. Her original poem is entitled Fear. She says her poem was inspired by Dr. King's outlook on fear. He used fear as a motivator for people, not to shut down, but to be inspired to make change in the world around them. “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other,” Martin Luther King Jr. said. Kashvi shares, “I use it the same way in my life and how our world today neglects people of a certain background, such as people of color and specifically black people.”

Kashvi, who is Indian American, says she wants to influence the world just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did. “A lot of people of color, especially Indian Americans, are campaigning for representation on screen for people who look like us. But I want to be one of those people who don’t just donate to the cause but stick around and be the face of the cause,” said Kashvi. She was inspired after attending a Black Lives Matter rally. “It inspired me to write poetry based on his works and get inspired by the work he’s done.” “People like MLK don’t just donate one time or make an Instagram post supporting it. He is someone who persisted and created so many different efforts.”
It was Dr. King’s unwavering determination that keeps her motivated.
“He not only inspired his community, he inspired the world. He is still in history books today because of the impact he made on the world and that is something I want to emulate in my life as well,” said Kashvi.
Writing poetry was something she started after watching Slam Poetry. “Poetry became more-so of a motivator after I was accepted to the DC Slam team during COVID. 
Kashvi Ramani Poem "Fear" 2021
It’s her way of showing appreciation to Dr. King but also her contribution to fighting racism. “Speaking with your actions is something that MLK has always taught me,” said Kashvi. “MLK always remained constant as someone that has inspired great change and stayed true,” said Kashvi. Although she says being recognized for her poetry means other people are also impacted by what she has to say. “Writing for me has never been constrained to one genre. I have been writing songs since I can remember speaking. I have written scripts, which I hope to do professionally one day,” said Kashvi.
Although she says the recognition is great, it’s being a part of the change that she’ll continue working towards. “That’s always a great motivator to keep me going,” said Kashvi.
News Flash
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County announced most facilities, park maintenance operations and public events and programs will remain closed through January 30, 2022. Click here to read the full announcement.
Thanking Our Partners: The Allentown Parks and Recreation Council
This month, we start a new segment to highlight the volunteer service of a community partner organization. Throughout more than 60 distinguished years of service, the Allentown Parks and Recreation Council has been a community advocate, as well as a valuable partner-in-service to the Department of Parks and Recreation. As the Allentown Parks and Recreation Council prepares to dissolve this year, we celebrate its long history of dedicated service to the community.
The Allentown Parks and Recreation Council held monthly Community Meetings where residents could gather to discuss and organize around community concerns. Among many other notable achievements, the Allentown Parks and Recreation Council raised scholarship funds to support the higher education of Prince George’s County students majoring in parks and recreation-related fields, cultivating a lasting legacy of parks and recreation professionals who will go on to do similar work in their communities. The Council provided numerous fitness and sports training opportunities to County residents, such as Jazzercise and Zumba classes and basketball camps offered at various Prince George’s County public schools over the last 20 years. The Council has also contributed equipment and supplies to youth-centered programs run by the Department of Parks and Recreation, such as the spring Teen Cotillion and the Summer Playground programs. All of these efforts have supported the physical and emotional well-being of community members and provided invaluable mentorship and learning opportunities to Prince George’s County youth.
In August of 2021, the Allentown Parks and Recreation Council was recognized by The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism with the Governor’s Volunteer Service Certificate
Making 2022 Count
It’s the start of a brand-new year! Although we are still in a pandemic, it’s important to set goals and accomplishments for yourself. Whether it be fitness and health goals or academic and career goals, making a plan for success can be beneficial for you along the way. Here are a few ways to help kick off a great start to 2022.
Write down your goals
Jotting down your goals helps bring your vision to life. When you write information down with pen and paper, it narrows your focus and motivates you to get it done. Writing it down also helps you to remember your goals and track progress.
Create a vision board
Creating a vision board and displaying it in an area you see every day is an essential key to accomplishing your goals. Vision boards help you maintain focus on the specific area of your life you want to improve. Reviewing your vision board every day reminds you that it is possible. The secret to a good vision board is to make the color of the poster board what you would like to attract. If it’s money, create your vision board on a green poster board. If it’s love, create your vision board on a red or pink poster board. Use yellow to attract happiness, black for power and orange for friendship. Taking the time to make a vision board creates an emotional connection that motivates you to keep going.
Set realistic goals
Setting short term and long-term goals with an attainable timeline can help make your plans achievable. First, be specific about what you want and start with just a couple of goals at a time. Then set a timeline for when and how you will achieve these goals. Find a way to measure your goals. For example, if you want to lose weight, note how many times a month you will weigh yourself. If you want to start saving money, create a budget in Excel to follow.
Find an accountability partner
Having an accountability partner helps keep you on the right path with your goals. Not only will your partner keep you on track, you will be keeping them on track with their goals as well. Your accountability partner will help improve your productivity and eliminate distractions. Also, accountability partners can be great work-out buddies in the gym.
Most important to remember when setting goals - don’t overwhelm yourself or feel down if you don’t achieve your goals right away. Things take time! It’s more important to stay on track than to beat a timeline.
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States. Today, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, along with PAP smear screenings, have contributed to making cervical cancer the most preventable of all female cancers. Cervical cancer happens when a malignant tumor grows in a woman’s cervix. There may be no symptoms at all or symptoms may include irregular bleeding or pain. Treatment includes surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Use this month as an important time to talk about the HPV vaccine and how it can help save a life. Currently, about 79 million teens and people in their late teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates an additional 14 million will be infected each year. With that being said, the CDC recommends HPV vaccination. Let’s all work together to keep ourselves, as well as our community, safe.
In the Loop
Donate To Preserve A Landmark
A landmark in our community is in real need of a facelift and with your help, the Peace Cross can get the make-over it truly deserves. This Bladensburg landmark was designed and constructed in 1919 to honor the World War I servicemen who laid their lives on the line for the United States. Now, after more than a century, the Peace Cross is still standing but is in desperate need of repair! Click here for more information and to purchase a commemorative brick.
Share Your Ideas For A New Playground
We are reconstructing another playground in the community! Join us virtually on January 27 at 7 pm. Click here to RSVP.
Don't Forget To Follow Us On Social Media!
Follow Parks and Recreation on social media to stay on top of everything happening in your community and find out how to join in on the fun!
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 jo-ann.martinez@pgparks.com.
If you have any ideas for upcoming newsletter features, contact andrea.braswell@pgparks.com.