As we move into 2017, thoughts turn to New Year’s resolutions, professional goals and projects that just didn’t get completed in 2016. We are blessed to live in a caring community, but the end of the holidays brings an end to the many holiday giving events. Giving Tuesday, Giving Trees, City of Gaithersburg Holiday Giving programs, and food drives all done for the year! However, just down the street from your home you will find a Foundation whose mission is to provide opportunities for volunteerism and community outreach year round.
All of our programs are volunteer led and staffed by extremely dedicated and talented people. Programs such as the Film Society, the Acoustic Jam and the new Digital Photography group bring the joy of music, art and culture to us year round. The annual Kentlands/Lakelands 5k alone is staffed by over 200 volunteers! Under the Lights will bring our third community dinner to Market Square in June, 2017, with attendance and volunteers growing each year. Programs such as Go Green, the Community Garden, Cub Scout pack 221 and our New Urbanism Retail initiative & lecture series all contribute to making Lakelands and Kentlands great places to live.
There are two programs under the KCF umbrella which truly stand out, however. These programs focus on reaching out to those in need of a helping hand, both in our local community and to the larger Gaithersburg/Montgomery County community. The longest running of these programs is KidServe, a service program founded in 2011 by Sooky McFadden and Sherry Dunda to create opportunities for their own kids to participate in local service projects. Since its founding, KidServe has reached out to a local women’s shelter, local nursing homes, the military, Shady Grove Pregnancy Center and many others. This fall was typically busy with a September food drive, a project in October to furnish an apartment for a single mom and daughter, and most recently a project to provide 30 backpacks complete with hand sewn neck gators as part of Montgomery County’s November Homeless Resource Day. KidServe volunteers range in age from 5 to 15, with an assist from willing parents, and they are setting a wonderful example for our entire community!
The second program of note is brand new but has been in the planning stage for two years, led by an innovative and dedicated steering committee. The Village at Kentlands is currently housed in the Kentlands Manor. It is a neighbors-helping-neighbors program to help residents aged 55 and older, and those with disabilities of any age, to live happier, safer lives in their own homes. The pilot program kicked off in November in Kentlands and will expand to Lakelands in 2017. As is typical of our neighborhoods, the program already has 30 trained and vetted volunteers and a waiting list for others eager to lend a helping hand.
Kudos to the wonderful leaders of both of these programs which provide outreach to those in need through volunteerism. KCF is always looking for more volunteers to staff our many programs. At present volunteers are needed for the Young Artists competition in February and the concert in March, along with volunteers to help with the Kentlands Day parade in early May. If volunteering is one of your New Year’s resolutions, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 301-880-9626.