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APRIL 2022
Celebrating Our Volunteers
Pictured from left to right: Volunteers Aisha Ferguson, Renee Domogauer, C.P. Payne
This month we celebrate National Volunteer Week from April 17-23.
We are honoring those who give their time to us by showing our appreciation for what they give to our organization year round. The theme for National Volunteer Week is “Shining a light on the people and causes that inspire us to serve". The act of volunteering is proven to make healthier individuals and build stronger communities. There is something special about the people who give their service to the Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County. “Our volunteers have an eagerness to serve, they want to be there and it shows,” said Sports and Learning Center Aquatics Manager Carol Braswell. Aisha Ferguson, Sports and Learning Center Track and Field volunteer, agrees. “I feel like I came into a big family, everyone was already working together, they really brought me in,” said Aisha.

The Department offers a variety of opportunities from teaching exercise classes to assisting at historic museums. “Some things just simply won’t get done unless volunteers step up to do them,” said Renee Domogauer, Riversdale House Museum volunteer. The individuals who dedicate their time, know the role their service plays within our community. “Volunteers are the thing that keeps us going,” said Samantha Ferris, Riversdale House Museum Assistant Director.
C.P. Payne is a long-time volunteer who uses his time to help teach exercise classes and has been a volunteer with us for nearly 10 years. “My goal for 2022 is to continue with as much volunteering as I can,” says C.P. Some may ask why our volunteers are so willing to give so much of their time and effort. “At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished, it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better, it’s about what you’ve given back,” said Bladensburg Summer Playground volunteer Rashaun Henderson.
If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering click here!
The History of National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week was established by President Richard Nixon in 1974. It was created to honor and recognize people who give their time and service to companies, organizations and non-profits within their community. National Volunteer Week is also used to raise awareness about the benefits of volunteering, and to encourage people nationwide to get out and volunteer. "I urge all Americans to observe that week by seeking out an area in their community in which they can give to a needy individual, or a worthy cause by devoting a few hours, or more each week to volunteer service," said President Nixon. (April 20, 1974)

Since then, statics have shown, millions of Americans around the country have dedicated some part of their life to volunteering and service in their area.
Each year since the week was officially established, every U. S. President has issued a proclamation urging Americans to give their time to their community and outreach organizations. In 1991 during George H.W. Bush's State of the Union Address he said, "We can find meaning and reward by serving some higher purpose than ourselves, a shining purpose, the illumination of a Thousand Points of Light," "We all have something to give," he continued. 
10 Good Reasons To Volunteer
Volunteer Dana Majors and family, KABOOM! Playground Build Day 2021
  1. Volunteerism improves health by strengthening the body, improving mood, and lessening stress.
  2. Individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 are the most likely to volunteer their time according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  3. Those who volunteer regularly have a 27% better chance of gaining employment.
  4. 60% of hiring managers see the act of volunteerism as a valuable asset when making recruitment decisions according to a study performed by Career Builder.
  5. Volunteers under the age of 24 account for 22.6% of all volunteers.
  6. Benjamin Franklin started The Union Fire Company, in 1736, the first volunteer-run firehouse worldwide.
  7. Women currently volunteer more than men (by about 6% more) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  8. The idea of volunteering goes way back in history! Women used to volunteer their time during the American Civil War to sew supplies for the soldiers going off at war.
  9. Adults who took part in volunteering when they were younger are twice as likely of doing it in their adult lives than those who didn’t. 
  10. Most international volunteers come from the United States of America.

Montpelier Festival of Herbs, Teas and the Arts
Do you have a love for plants and artisan crafts? Well the annual Montpelier Festival of Herbs, Teas and the Arts is an event you don’t want to miss! Come and hear live music all while browsing through herbs, plants and vendors supplying materials for artisan crafts. At the festival you will have the opportunity to learn more about gardening or have a picnic on the grounds. So, be sure to save the date!

When: Saturday, April 30, 2022 10 am-4 pm
Where: Montpelier House Museum 9650 Muirkirk Rd, Laurel, MD 20708
The Department offers a variety of summer programs for children and teenagers to stay active and educated even while school is out. From gymnastics, to swimming, to science and engineering, let your child pick what their summer will look like. M-NCPPC’s wide selection of programs is sure to fit your child’s imagination, and give them a summer break to remember. The best part is you don’t have to choose just one. Schedule your child for as many summer day camp sessions as their heart desires. To register you must first set up a free Parks Direct account. Registration is now open. Click here if you're interested in registering your child for our summer camps!
Come out and learn the origins of Juneteenth , and why the holiday is such a good reason to celebrate! It’s the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, the last enslaved people learned of their freedom. The month of June and the nineteenth day were combined to form the word Juneteenth. The African American Emancipation Day, Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, then in 2021 Juneteenth became a federal holiday. Join us as we celebrate African American culture at this year’s Juneteenth festival on Saturday June 18. The festival will be held at Watkins Park Regional Park. Stay tuned to our social media for more information.
Community Partner Organization
University of Maryland Office of Community Engagement
The Office of Community Engagement connects the University of Maryland and the surrounding neighbors by creating mutually collaborative educational, business, government, and community partnerships. The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) has created the annual “Making a Difference" Awards Celebration to honor volunteers, champions, supporters, and partners for their hard work, goodwill, time, commitment, and energy in making a difference in the community! Awards are presented to campus and community partners who go above and beyond the call of duty to positively impact the community. Past recipients include Department of Parks and Recreation staff Antonia Bookbinder, MK Fitzsimons, Teresa Gardner-Williams, Anthony Nolan and Carlos Ocasio. 

Good Neighbor Day is a collaborative partnership between the University of Maryland, the City of College Park, and The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). The event brings together the College Park community to beautify shared spaces, educate and engage in sustainable practices, and take pride in Greater College Park. In 2022, Good Neighbor Day celebrated 10 years of service. The day included an expanded number of projects and a moment to celebrate the steadfast support of former M-NCPPC Chairman Betty Hewlett.
President's Volunteer Service Award
Are you eligible for the President's Volunteer Service Award? If you have provided 100+ hours (50+ hours for ages 13 to 15) of unpaid acts of volunteer service benefitting others within a 12-month period, you may be eligible to be nominated for the award. The award package includes a customized certificate, choice of the official pin, coin, or medallion and a congratulatory letter signed by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Contact Volunteer Services & Community Partnerships Manager Teresa Gardner-Williams at teresa.gardner-w@pgparks.com or 301-446-3321 if you would like more information.

Sign up for student-service learning opportunities and record your hours here!
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student-service learning hours, or have ideas for upcoming newsletter features, contact