Momentum builds in June toward a busy community-oriented summer

June was a wonderful month of community making for the Kentlands and Lakelands. Kentlands Under the Lights community dinner and the Musica Viva Kentlands classical concert has given all of us an opportunity to come outside after all the rainy days we have been having and reacquaint ourselves with our neighbors and the sunshine. A special thank you to all the sponsors who-through their monetary and in-kind support-allow the Foundation’s volunteers to turn their ideas into entertaining and meaningful events for the community. Without the many businesses and individuals who support our programs, these events would not have occurred.

Many of us know that the three main objectives of the Foundation, in short, are to foster community, provide opportunities for volunteerism and be an educational resource on New Urbanism. In my many articles on volunteerism, I usually wrote about the need for adult volunteers. However, I’m a parent of a Montgomery County high school student, and our family is always on the search for Student Service Learning (SSL) hours. The Foundation can help. Kentlands Under the Lights and Musica Viva Kentlands used students to help set up, clean up and generally help during the events. In February, the Young Artist Awards needed student volunteers to help with the event, and all the volunteers earned SSL hours.

The next volunteer event is the 5k on September 1. Please go to RunSignUp to sign up to run or walk the race. You need to sign your children up for the Fun Run using the site, too. Finally, please use RunSignUp to volunteer. We need close to 100 volunteers to make the race an efficient event. (It was very difficult not to use “well run” in that sentence!) While we need adults to sign up, we also need students. There are bags to stuff, flyers to hand out, chairs to move, and people to organize. Best of all, students can earn SSL hours. Lastly, think about volunteering as a family. Water spots and the finish and starting lines need many volunteers. A family of volunteers can fill critical needs completely. Click here to sign up!

Looking back at May, the One Main Street Initiative held a series of events where the findings and conclusions of the last 6 months were shared with the Mayor and City Council, the Board of Trustees for the Kentlands Community Association, and interested residents of the Kentlands and Lakelands. Many of the findings focused on better ways to bring people from the shopping areas fronting Kentlands Boulevard to Main Street. Among the ideas to make the Main Street shopping area a vibrant destination included adding artwork to the rear of the buildings and placing archways in the connective passages from the parking area to the storefronts. Sometimes, physical changes, especially to the exterior of some stores, can be highly important in attracting more people to a business. This is why many businesses often seem to install modern storefronts and doors to encourage more people to come into the store. By contacting a business, like Industrial Door Company for example, stores can enquire about the best way to make their shop stand out, hopefully increasing their success. In addition to physical changes, a series of marketing events was suggested in order to make Main Street a destination for food, shopping, and entertainment. These marketing events are a great way for self-promotion that can help gain more visibility to these businesses, they may want to hand out goodie bags with personalized coffee mugs of their company name, or make custom cookies if they are a food shop, etc. either way, marketing can help immensely in circumstances like this. The Initiative is moving forward into its second phase. Please continue to look for updates from this ambitious Initiative.

As always, please come see me at the Foundation’s offices in the Carriage House on Kent Square Road. I am always there on Monday mornings from 9:30 to noon.