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Supporting one another in a time of crisis

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Guest Blog Post: Aizat Oladapo on Door Knocking

Posted by chriswilhelm on March 23, 2012

On Wednesday March 21, I went door knocking with the IMPACT Silver Spring Long Branch Team in capacity of Contract Monitor for Montgomery County DHHS and eager to know what the hype was all about. It truly humbled me and got me thinking of some of the prejudgments folks make about residents living in the Silver Spring area of Long Branch.

We got to knock on 12 doors and spoke with four residents, leaving fliers for those we missed. They were all polite and willing to share their information with us.  This got me thinking who else have they shared this information with to no avail; with this exercise there was follow up for those who needed it.

They were from diverse backgrounds, Hispanic Haitian and African American; they liked basketball, electronics, music, art, one was in between jobs, another was just back from work, one was a mother waiting for her kids to return from school and the other was a baby sitter who was isolated by language; we found out that very few knew of TESS Center a block away and were willing to make an effort to attend the Neighbor’s exchange to learn about the resources in the area and the IMPACT program.

One gentleman who had some housing challenges said, ‘I had been praying this morning and now you are here.’

 As Contract monitor door knocking experience shows the need to look at different ways of reporting outcome measures for what agencies like IMPACT do.  Submission of qualitative narrative reporting, pictures, success stories are necessary to be able to justify the outcomes of such programs.

Personally it was an eye opener for me seeing first hand a different kind of engagement  where the agency goes to the people first as opposed to the people coming to the agency. It shows how personal yet social door knocking can be in an attempt to building a community from the inside out.

Aizat Oladapo

Program Manager, Community Action Agency

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Tuesdays Together!!!

Posted by nathalieglc on February 29, 2012

ImageTuesday together!
as always, the community came together to learn and help each other, we want to thank the people who are always ready to give English classes, and job club, giving it the tools to get a job and a better future for our children and family.

also celebrate those who came for first time, people who returned after a while.

 

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Tuesdays Together!!!

Posted by nathalieglc on February 16, 2012

Imagelast Tuesday was very special, one of our colleagues Rosa Pichardo spoke about the important things to get a job, the resources that the community has, trainings, workshops, education some tips that help us to start our own business.

the importance of being motivated and find ways to make money, while we wait for our dream job.

Image

also celebrate the birthday of our dear Debra! we greatly appreciate all the contributions made to the community  of together Tuesday.
we enjoyed a delicious cake and a special dinner celebrating also the Valentine’s Day.

 ImageDebra we love you !!! happy Birthday again!!! 🙂

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Neighbor Exchange in TESS Center January 20 & 24

Posted by katieschmahl on January 31, 2012

Neighbor Exchange January 20, 2012

Neighbor Exchange January 20, 2012

On January 20 & 24, 2012 took place in our well known Neighbor Exchange in TESS Center, an informative and living space that allows us to make friends, share opinions, make suggestions and even learn about different important topics such as the development this week is “taxes” . Our community had the opportunity to learn about tax preparation services provided by Montgomery County free through its VITA program volunteers. With this service the community can save thousands of dollars if we do as a lump sum pay people to declare their taxes.

At this meeting we come together from different nationalities. This time there were people from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, USA, Mexico, Argentina and others. All living together in a fraternal and looking for solutions and answers to common problems. How nice to live in a multicultural community, is not it!

El dia 20 y 24 de Enero de 2012 tuvo lugar en TESS Center nuestro ya conocido Encuentro de vecinos, un espacio informativo y de convivencia que nos permite hacer amigos,   compartir opiniones, dar sugerencias e incluso aprender acerca de diferentes temas muy importantes como el que se desarrollo esta semana  ” IMPUESTOS ” o taxes como nuestra querida comunidad les llama. Nuestra comunidad tuvo la oportunidad de conocer los servicios de preparación de impuestos gratuitos que brinda Montgomery County a través de su programa de voluntarios  VITA; Con este  servicio la comunidad puede ahorrar miles de dolares si hacemos una suma global de cuanto las personas pagan por declarar sus impuestos.

En este encuentro nos reunimos personas de diferentes nacionalidades, esta vez había personas de Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Perú, República Dominicana, Colombia, Ecuador, Etiopía, Estados Unidos de América, México, Argentina y otros, y todos conviviendo de manera fraterna y buscando soluciones y respuestas a problemas comunes. Que lindo es vivir en una comunidad multicultural, no creen!

Sharing ideas

Is say that one of the places where they make the best business, best friends and the most interesting conversations is at mealtime.

Dicen que uno de los lugares donde se hacen los mejores negocios, las mejores amistades y las mas interesantes conversaciones es a la hora de la comida.

Recibiendo información acerca del programa de voluntarios VITA los cuales de forma gratuita preparan las declaraciones de impuestos en diferentes partes del Condado.  En este circulo se evacuaron muchas dudas que tenia nuestra comunidad acerca de la preparación de sus impuestos.

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El Rosal Sewing co-op blossoms (and begins making money too!)

Posted by sebastianbrown on January 26, 2012

After a year of being together, El Rosal (rose bush) is now stronger than ever and looking toward the future. What started out as an unemployed women’s mutual support circle quickly expanded to offering themselves and other women like them introductory sewing courses. After several months of offering these drop in classes–made possible by Belen Bryant of the Carroll Ave YMCA Community Center who lent us meeting space–the core group had served nearly 40 women in the neighborhood for whom the weekly class was a much needed refuge from the daily  isolation of their lonely apartments.

However, with constant turnover of participants, it was difficult to know if they were really making progress toward their goal of honing their craft of sewing to the point that it could serve as a source of income. Especially when crisis hit several of the core members of the group, they felt added pressure to quickly prove the practical value of their new found hobby. In addition, the original teacher was so bogged down with her work at a sewing studio that her schedule rarely allowed her to join the group.  So, somewhat frustrated with how much energy they had put in and how little they had to show for it, they took a much deserved break over the summer.

Edelsa

Alicia

Yolanda

Victoria

Maria

But, all having kids at the same school and living within blocks of each other, they couldn’t help but stay in close communication. They continued to baby sit each other’s kids, see each other at weekly school-sponsored parent coffees and occasionally run into each other at IMPACT events for which they were paid to cater the meal or watch the participants’ kids. And then Chris Lancette and Won-ok Kim of Orion’s Attic founded the Flower Avenue Holiday Market in mid November and everything started to change…

Chris Lancette hugs Yolanda after delivering HUGE DONATION of 20 boxes/$2200 worth of sewing supplies salvaged from a house cleaning

Two of the members of the original sewing circle first got involved with the weekly market selling Mary Kay products they had lying around their house. After not making any sales the first two weeks, they got in touch with a man–with years of experience as a tailor–they met at an IMPACT Neighbors Exchange who had offered to instruct them on making house hold items. With the County bag tax around the corner, we agreed re-usable bags would be the perfect product to begin with. With his help, they made one in the basement of the Cyber Web Latino–their de facto workshop–and on a whim laid it on their table the following Saturday at the market. When two people saw the bags and liked them and what the group was doing so much that they ordered 8 more, the women knew they were on to something.

Yolanda and Alicia and Darwin and I at Flower Market

They spent the next week pumping out eight more bags, which they brought to the market and were asked to make 10 more. Knowing they needed additional and more experienced hands on machines  if they were to meet the demand, they invited back their original teacher to save the day–who had only weeks before quit her seamstress gig where hours were too long. Over the holidays they spent nearly 8 hours every day in their basement workshop experimenting making different bag designs and improving/organizing the space. They invited one additional neighbor and long time friend who had professional experience sewing in El Salvador and just like that, they were 5! The five women of El Rosal taking Long Branch and Silver Spring by storm!

The women now spend most of their time together in the basement work shop–which they are now paying $500 monthly to the owner of the Cyber Cafe. The other day LEDC even visited the ladies at the work shop to offer a three hour course on how to best strengthen and grow their micro-business.

Lourdes and Emily from LEDC discuss next steps for El Rosal with the ladies

The women are meeting weekly to plan for the upcoming week and divvy up any earnings from the previous week. They even made one loan of $525 to one member who’s husbands’ pay check had been delayed by a week and therefore she was left with no money to pay rent. Just as she said she would (and signed in a hand written agreement with the group), she paid the entire loan back within 10 days. The micro loan was just enough to allow her to avoid paying steep late charges on her rent that she might not have been able to afford.

Edelsa and Alicia presenting Ike his very own bag!

While mostly hard at work in the shop, on occasion they find time to hit the town with their product. Most notably, they showed up in force to Ike’s down-county budget hearing and presented him his very own reusable bag so that he could avoid paying the bag tax that he himself helped get passed.

They are currently looking forward to holding an open house launch party February 18 and then offering night courses the following week. They are always willing to meet and have you custom design your own bag or clothes or drop off an alteration project. Their prices are more than reasonable, their product is as local as you get, and their determination is greater than ever. Join the movement. Go Green. Go Local. GO LONG BRANCH!!!

Check out some of their products and call me at 814-506-4543 if interested in purchasing or with any questions about services offered.

A small, medium and large set--$30

Large grocery bag--$15

Large grocery bag--$15

Plastic bag holder to hang in kitchen--$5

Blender covers!--$10

Girl's summer dress--$25


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Tuesday’s togethers now has a job club!!!!!

Posted by nathalieglc on January 26, 2012

ImageExperience the wealth of diversity makes us strong. People from the Bronx New York, Peru, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador, Guatemala, Washington DC, El Salvador, Japan, Mexico, Isla San Francisco, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and more. We are all driven by the desire to make dreams come true.

<——–Tuesdays Together Job Club

On Tuesday January 24 mutual support became as a practical effort to help others and others to find new tools, useful in the job search. In a combined effort of Impact Silver Spring, Catholic Charities and the Department of Health and Human Resources Montgomery County.Image

we must continue working together to create a better community, prepared to know their rights and duties.
Our English classes are another resource we offer totally free and we know a tool that is widely used in daily life.

Image

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Tuesdays Together Job Club

Posted by katieschmahl on January 26, 2012

Vivir la riqueza de la diversidad, nos hace fuertes. Personas procedentes del Bronx Nueva York, Perú, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Trinidad y Tobago, Ecuador, Guatemala, Washington DC, El Salvador, Japón, Mexico, Isla San Francisco, Bárbados, Puerto Rico, República Dominicana y más. A todos nos mueve el deseo de hacer realidad  los sueños.

Tuesdays Together Job Club

El Martes 24 de Enero la ayuda mutua se convirtió en un esfuerzo práctico de como ayudar a otros y otras a encontrar nuevas herramientas, útiles en la búsqueda de trabajo. En un esfuerzo combinado de Impact Silver Spring, Catholic Charities y el Departamento de Salud y Recursos Humanos del Condado de Montgomery County.

“El único sueño que no se alcanza es por el que no se lucha”

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Tuesdays together!! we are all the fruit of one tree and the leaves of one branch.”

Posted by nathalieglc on January 19, 2012

we are all the fruit of one tree and the leaves of one branch.”Noelleis back in town!!Image
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In our increasingly diverse and interdependent world, one of the greatest challenges is finding ways that people of different races, cultures, faiths and points of view can work together on common concerns. Unless we improve our ability to bridge differences, we may not be able to find adequate, workable solutions to the problems that threaten our future.
 
 one thing we learned this Tuesday’s together!!
 we are leaves of one branch, a community that work together is a strong and capable to archive any goal, the power of human connection is very important no matter the race, culture ,country,religion, and sex, even the language is not a obstacle to stop a community that work together for the same goal.
as Debra always says ” we are a family, no matter how hard the situation is, we are not going to let that situation break our spirit”.
 ImageImage
 
people in Tuesday’s together come always to charge batteries, for words of motivation, learn something new , searching for HOPE!!! to start every day all over again, we can do it!!!
and if this week it wasn’t  your week, try again maybe the next one is yours, but you have to believe!!

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Neighbors Exchange Dec 09,2011

Posted by katieschmahl on December 23, 2011

Neigbors Exchange Dec 09/2011

The meeting that took place on December 9 of this year in the TESS Center facility was of great importance to the residents of the area. At the meeting,  Community Connectors from the Department of Health and Human Services shared valuable information.

The main issue addressed at the Neighbors Exchange was access to food resources. Connectors and residents discussed food stamps (how to qualify for this program and what requirements are necessary). They also addressed the issue of other emergency food programs such as Manna Food and others that are very close to Long Branch and accessible to anyone with the need for food.

The main objective of these meetings is to increase awareness of resources and provide space for neighbors to connect with each other. Residents  who make new connections and friends can communicate and transmit information  to others who might be unaware of these county programs that are very useful tools in these difficult times.

español.

El encuentro de vecinos que se llevo a cabo el día 09 de Diciembre del presente año en la instalaciones del Centro TESS, fue de mucha importancia para los vecinos del área, ya que  se compartió información muy valiosa que fue proporcionada por las conectoras del condado de Montgomery.

El tema principal que se abordo en el intercambio de vecinos fue el de Estampillas de comida ( stamp food) como calificar para este programa ? y que requisitos son necesarios. También se abordo el tema de otros programas de emergencia de alimentos como Manna Food y otros que están muy cerca de Long Branch  accesibles a cualquier persona que tenga la necesidad de alimentos.

El objetivo principal de estos intercambios de vecinos, es que se conozcan, que se hagan amigos que se comuniquen y que transmitan la información que se les proporciona a otros que probablemente desconozcan de estos programas del condado que son herramientas muy útiles en estos tiempos difíciles.

Children enjoying the Neighbors Exchange.

Los niños disfrutando del intercambio de vecinos!!!

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Tuesdays Together Christmas party!!!!

Posted by nathalieglc on December 22, 2011

Christmas time to share and celebrate the joy of being together,that’s what we celebrate this Tuesday!!Image

we met as usual at Catholic Charities, we enjoyed the food and the company of all the community, everybody dance and thanks to all our coworkers that help the community every tuesday, for example to Rosa Pichado, Linda the montgomery county conflic resolution, Cindy, Faith, Stefanny from catholic charities, Norma, Debra,Rosa from Holly Cross Hospital, Marcia and jeniffer from english class.

ImageMaria , Rosa, Janice the montgomery county human reseach, Roxana our babysitting, Marcos for interpretation, Noelle and Carmen from impact and  all those anonymous people who always support us and make Tuesdays Together a place where the community can feel like family and found help when they need it most.

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