By Theo Blair

Happy holidays, neighbor! Holiday cheer is definitely in the air at all of A Wider Circle’s locations. We have community celebrations coming up at our Ward 8 Hub; we’re collecting and sorting gifts at our admin building; at our satellite warehouse, volunteers are assembling furniture that’ll make it into a neighbor’s home in time for the holidays; and at our Center for Community Service, neighbors get to enjoy the festive spirit of our Winter Wonderland, where they can select toys and other gifts to bring home for their little ones.

And to continue the spirit of giving, we’ve got some great stories to share in this week’s edition of A Wider Community, including:

Getting to Know Our New Neighbor, Mohammad!

Earlier this year, our neighbor Mohammad bravely immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan, leaving behind his extended family, friends, and a fulfilling career in sustainable development.

Starting over in a new country was challenging. Despite his postgraduate degree and over a decade of experience, he encountered challenges in finding work and support for his family. Finally, he came across A Wider Circle and reached out to us.

Mohammad sought our help, and we connected him to the resources he needed for stability. After working with our career counselor, connecting with a volunteer with experience in his field, and receiving professional attire for interviews, Mohammad’s initiative paid off: in October, he secured a deputy program manager position at a sustainable development NGO!

Mohammad’s daughter shows interest in a dresser at their family’s furniture appointment.

Our support for Mohammad didn’t end after his job offer. Last month, his family stopped by our Center to receive much-needed furniture so they could continue settling into their new home. Mohammad wasn’t able to join — he was at the office working hard at his new career!

Every day, hundreds of neighbors contact A Wider Circle seeking help. Some are longtime locals, while others are new neighbors like Mohammad. Whether they need a bed to sleep in, help establishing a career, or anything in between, we know we can be there for our neighbors because of our generous community of supporters like you.

As the year comes to a close, we’re counting on your continued support so that in the new year we can continue to answer every call. And this month, thanks to a group of generous friends, all gifts will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000!

Help us continue to be there for neighbors like Mohammad — donate today and double your impact!

Here to Serve: Meet our Maryland Fellows!

In case you missed the news, we recently became a host site for Maryland’s new Service Year Option & Maryland Corps Program, which has connected us with four fantastic Fellows who are eager to serve their communities and learn!

Over the course of a year, these four Fellows — Noelle, Trey, Josiah, and Andrew — will be helping serve across our Volunteer, Essential Support, In-Kind Donations-Inventory, and In-Kind Donations-Scheduling teams, respectively.

Service members (from left to right) Noelle, Trey, Josiah, and Andrew.

Each of the fellows walked their own paths to join us for this service year, hearing about us through friends, neighbors, and connections. For example, Trey, who now serves on our Essential Support team, has volunteered with us in the past and is bringing his story full circle as he joins us for this service year!

When asked what they were looking forward to most about this service year, the group shared goals like going beyond their comfort zones, learning as much as possible, overcoming social anxiety, and growing stronger mentally and physically. Most of all, the entire group shared the common goal of wanting to do as much as they could to help their community and make the lives of their neighbors easier.

Trey & Noelle join President & CEO Amy Javaid, Secretary Paul Monteiro, and others to share their stories.

We’re so fortunate to have these incredibly talented, driven, and compassionate folks joining us for this year of service. In closing, they’d like to share some wisdom with you:

“Be kind, smile, aim to make someone else smile. It feels good to be good. Let your warmth be contagious, and never doubt yourself.” -Noelle

If you feel any spark of inspiration to do something, do it right now. Yes, now, I’m reaching through the fourth wall to talk to you, dear reader. Call or email an organization right now to see what you can do. If you don’t kindle the spark while it’s still here, it will die out in the blink of an eye. Anything you can offer would be greatly appreciated, no matter how small.” -Trey

Rounding out the circle

Upcoming events in the community:

Ways to get involved:

There are plenty of ways you can support the work of A Wider Circle right now!

Staff Recommendations:

This week’s recommendation comes to us from the Co-Manager of our In-Kind Donations team Will Evans! Will recommends It Was Just Another Day In America by Ryan David Ginsberg.

This collection of short stories and poems resonated with Will due to its central theme of recognizing injustice, suffering, and the need to work against the systems that allow these elements of society to take root.

Furniture Finds:

A new table, made with bamboo…
….passes through our showroom to the home of a neighbor near you!

A beautiful table with bamboo legs

That’s all for this week’s edition of A Wider Community! Be sure to check back in with us next week for more stories from our wider community!

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