A Wider Community: A Weekly Roundup from AWC!

By Theo Blair

Welcome to week three of A Wider Community, A Wider Circle’s ongoing blog exploring the goings-on in and around our circle!

This week, we’ve got three great stories to share:

Let’s get rolling!

Taking the lead in a new era of advocacy!

In 2022, we began exploring ways in which we could use our platform to advocate and elevate the voices of those who have experienced poverty. In early 2023, we launched our Advocacy program as well as our Social Justice Committee, which ensures seats at the table for those with lived experience, and this month the committee has nominated its first leaders!

A Wider Circle’s Social Justice Committee Leadership Circle from left to right: Sylvia, Alicea, Dareon, Ayanna, & Tenika

Pictured above are the new leaders of A Wider Circle’s Social Justice Committee:

Ayanna – Co-Chair
Alicea – Co-Chair
Sylvia – Secretary
Tenika – Membership Coordinator
Dareon – Activist Trainer & Movement Historian

A Wider Circle President & CEO Amy Javaid offers encouragement and congratulations to the new leaders.

The leadership group will be working to further the Social Justice Committee’s vision to not only engage but organize their neighborhoods to advocate for more affordable housing and a higher wage for our region.

Director of Advocacy Rachael Buck gifts new leaders with copies of Patricia S. Parker’s book “Ella Baker’s catalytic leadership“.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Social Justice Committee, their work, or how you can get involved, visit our Advocacy page or email us at advocacy@awidercircle.org

Big groups making a big difference in the second phase of AWC’s school supply drive!

Volunteering your time to ease the burdens carried by others is one of many compassionate ways to engage your community, and we are so privileged to have amazing volunteers who are a big part of what makes our work possible! Our Back to School Supply Drive has entered its next phase, and large groups of volunteers are the difference makers, helping us close in on our goal of preparing over 700 backpacks for local students!

Volunteer Team Manager, Anthony Washington & a group of volunteers from CareFirst kicked off our backpack assembly back in July.

“We are on our way to assembling at least 730 backpacks! To date, we have assembled 664 backpacks and have several packing sessions over the next several days!” Volunteer Team Manager, Anthony Washington shared in a recent update about the School Supply Drive.

Our School Supply Drive is just one of the many great activities we have that are a perfect way for larger groups to volunteer together and bond while making a major impact in our shared community! Recently, we’ve been joined by groups from CareFirst, The Association of Meeting Professionals, The Center for Strategic and International Studies, students from schools like Sidwell Friends looking to help out fellow students, and more!

One of the latest groups to come help assemble backpacks, The Association of Meeting Professionals (AMPs) posing with their hard work!

There’s never a bad time to gather a group of co-workers, neighbors, or friends and get involved! Groups can visit the volunteer section of our website and complete an interest form. From there, we will contact the group to confirm the day, time, and their preferred volunteer service experience.

If you can’t make it to our Center for Community Service, don’t fret! Groups can take part in virtual opportunities including hosting a non-perishable food drive, creating essential item care packages, and building oral care kits.

If you’ve joined us as part of a volunteer group in the past and are motivated to join us again, our Senior Volunteer Coordinator, Scott Buchan had this to share: “We love when volunteers want to get more involved in our work and welcome anyone who wants to engage with us!”

He continued: “You could become a Core volunteer and take leadership in any of the sections in the warehouse. We are looking for Core volunteers in various areas including electronics, toys, artwork, books, and our workshop. If you would like to work directly with donors and clients, we also have opportunities to work in our Professional Development Center, our Essential Support program, and administrative roles for checking in clients or answering questions, and scheduling donors.”

We regularly update our website with current volunteer opportunities. If you have any questions, please send us an email at volunteer@awidercircle.org.

Farewell to a frankly phenomenal fellow, Leo Frankel!

Saying “so long” can be tough even when you know it’s coming well in advance, and even though we knew from day one that day three sixty-five would be the end, we’re sad to see Leo Frankel, a valued member of our Essential Support team, go!

Leo rushes around AWC’s Center for Community Service, ensuring clients have everything they need to create comfortable new homes.

Leo joined A Wider Circle in the Fall of 2022 as an Essential Support Coordinator under a unique set of circumstances. As a member of the Avodah Service Corp, he took a gap year from his studies to immerse himself more deeply in the field of social justice and engage with his community in a meaningful manner. In the process, he became the first Avodah Service Corp fellow to serve with us!

When reflecting on how Leo was able to help advance the vision of A Wider Circle, Director of Essential Support, Allie Imhoff stated, “Leo brought a wealth of knowledge on Montgomery County resources. He has been a strong advocate for partnership and has participated in various partnership events held both in and out of AWC.” She added, “He brought a unique energy to the team that cannot be replicated.”

In parting our Manager of Essential Support, Gina Garza wanted to share some advice: “My advice to Leo would be to continue pursuing his passions, achieving his goals, and making connections with like-minded individuals and organizations in the community. Continue to use your ability to make others laugh to bring communities together. You have so much passion and love for this area. I’m sure that will take you far!”

The whole team at A Wider Circle offers their heartfelt thanks to Leo for his time and passion for our vision and wishes him the best of luck as he enters his graduate program!

A Wider Circle is always seeking new and creative ways to empower students to make a difference in their communities. We could not do the work we do without the support of interns and fellows. Young leaders (18 and up) are always welcome to check our website for internship opportunities! We are currently recruiting for the Fall semester.

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, Inventory Coordinator Paul Booz recommended the pop culture phenomenon from Epic Games, Fortnite! The level of collaborative effort you need with your squad while you pursue the common goal of getting a W reminds him of the unity of purpose everyone at A Wider Circle shares!

Furniture Finds:

A lively and lavish loveseat looking to light up a new living room!

That’s all for this week’s edition of A Wider Community. Be sure to check back in next week for more news from around our circle!

Join Our Circle

Sign up for email updates about our work, news, and events.