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Let’s gather in Gaithersburg!

Posted by katieschmahl on December 10, 2009

What do you get when you put Gaithersburg residents, Resource Partners and network members in a room together?

A very successful Neighbors Exchange!

Over 40 residents from Executive Gardens, East Deer Park Gardens, Gaither House and Flowers Apartments came to meet their neighbors and connect with the many resources that are available in the community. After enjoying some delicious food from Antojitos, we all introduced ourselves and thanks to Alix, Jean-Paul, Ray and Ruth who helped with French and Spanish interpretation throughout the night, everyone was able to understand what was going on!

Then, we split up into 3 circles: one to talk about jobs, one about health care services, and one for emergency services. In the emergency services circle, we discussed things like where to go to apply for rental assistance, utility assistance, and food stamps (Neighborhood Service Center and City of Gaithersburg). Maureen Herndon (City of Gaithersburg) and Ruth Rivas (Family Services Inc) assured everyone that they would be happy to spend as long as it takes to meet everyones’ needs, they just have to stop in! The jobs circle was overwhelmingly popular and some of the stories we heard were from one woman who worked in retail but had been told by potential employers that she was overqualified for the positions. She needed help tailoring her resume to make her a better candidate and Hugh Bailey from Montgomery Works set up a meeting with her. Then we heard from one man who was a manager of a Latino market who needed employees and was able to connect with some people that were looking for employment! Dental care was the most pressing concern in the health care circle and three of the twelve residents shared that they have been managing their pain for weeks, unable to find affordable care.

After that, while  most people stayed in the jobs circle, everyone else stayed around to mingle with new friends and meet with the Resource Partners. A lot of people were interested in learning more about the Campaign and ways they could join to be more active in their community. It was obvious from the energy in the room that residents enjoyed the gathering and appreciated having a warm and supportive space where they could meet their neighbors and learn about community resources. We then made a decision to meet again in a week and spend more time to get to know one another and form a support network.

Stay tuned!


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