DuFief Elementary School, Cabin John Middle School and Mark Twain School were honored for their outstanding volunteer efforts at the second annual Marriott Spirit to Serve Community Service Awards.
At DuFief , the PTA formed a community service committee to involve students in the larger community and show that concern for community members is a vital part of the school's "Pillars of Character." Among the eight service events they sponsored was a teddy bear project in which students collected and donated 17 large bags of stuffed animals to children and adults living with AIDS through the Love and Action Project. Students and community members also worked with the Washington Area Gleaning Network to pick and process 21,000 pounds of pears, which were shipped to local homeless shelters.
At Cabin John Middle School, staff, teachers and parents work together to help involve all students in community service. Students hear in assemblies about needs from community agencies and select service projects. This year, the entire community got involved in conducting an in-school walkathon to support the Fannie Mae Foundation's Help the Homeless effort. In a Y2Care for Children project, the student body worked in teams at school to produce items such as baby quilts, sock puppets, surprise boxes and books on tape, which were then donated to seven different area agencies that serve children.
At Mark Twain School, which serves adolescents throughout the county who have emotional disturbances, the Sowing Seeds for the Twain Family Diversity Garden project engaged students, faculty, parents and business and community partners in an effort to grow a garden that will form the basis for a greenhouse business. The community participated in a car wash to raise funds for seeds, equipment and materials, and worked together to plan and plant the garden. They plan to share the fruits of the garden with nearby shelters and soup kitchens. Within the framework of the project, staff focused on providing opportunities and training that helped students increase empathy, think about discrimination and prejudice and build conflict resolution skills.
Marriott International, Inc., established the awards to recognize volunteers and schools who have made significant contributions to community-based organizations and government agencies serving Montgomery County. The awards are coordinated by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center in conjunction with Volunteer Partnership Montgomery.
In addition to the schools, five other outstanding volunteers/programs were honored at the April 24 event. Superintendent Jerry D. Weast was among those who participated in the awards ceremony and reception, along with county executive Doug Duncan, County Council president Blair Ewing and Steve Marriott of Marriott International, Inc.