Community Role Models 

Community Role Model Articles

Black Lives Matter in Our Community

Recently, Black Lives Matter has been trending in the news and media. I had a simple understanding of it, but I still wasn’t confident. I saw people get backlash for saying “all lives matter”, and I didn’t want to say anything inappropriate like that. So, in a desire to learn more and increase awareness of our local Black Lives Matter community, I interviewed Makeba Scott Hunter, a concerned mother and Black Lives Matter advocate from Herndon.

Grit and Humility

For some teenagers, turning 18 comes with going to college, getting a car, or perhaps getting a tattoo. We seldom worry about a place to live, our next meal, or being incarcerated. However, teens who age out of foster-care are faced with those issues every day. As a driven, aged-out foster care advocate, Tony Lodge understands the problems that come with a lack of resources for these teens and strives to better the conditions for underprivileged youth.

The Card Form of Community Service

Since the first release of the Red and Blue video games, Pokémon has become a universal form of entertainment for all ages, through their games, trading cards, and movies. Their brand has become synonymous with the old and the young, but when thinking of community service, playing the Pokémon TCG doesn’t usually come to mind. However, Ken Yung has managed to create a community where he can both relax and help out the community.

The First InteGIRL

Everyone wants to make a change. From picking up litter on the street, to building new houses for children in need, people are always looking for a way to leave their mark on the world. Joy Shi, an incoming freshman at Caltech, saw the accepting community of girls at a math competition and decided that it was her chance to make that change for the better. In 2018, during her junior year, she founded InteGIRLS, an all-girls math program with the mission “to foster and promote girls’ passion for problem-solving and ignite a sense of community for girls by creating team-based and community-building competitions and events.”

The Fight for Freedom

When many people hear the words “eating disorder,” they cringe and become hesitant. There’s a social stigma around the phrase that makes people uncomfortable to address the topic. But Christie Bettwy and Rock Recovery, a nonprofit dedicated to bridging the gap in eating disorder treatment and support, are trying to change that.

Capturing the Moment

“The timing just couldn’t have been better, because I had just started recording, and here he was speaking. It was such a profound speech, and I was so happy to be able to capture it,” Monique says. “That’s the process [of storytelling] that I absolutely love: when you’re really in tune with what you're doing, there’s magic that takes place. As long as you’re present, and you allow the situation, the environment to be, and you are an observer capturing it, your job is to let the story tell itself.”

The Importance of Local Journalism

Ana Faguy is a journalist for the Baltimore Sun with a focus on local government, specifically the Howard County government. She graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 2019 in Philadelphia and joined Baltimore Sun Media shortly after. Previously, she had reported for Maryland Matters and NBC News with Lester Holt.

This Moment of Reckoning

On September 11th, 2001, two planes hijacked by the extremist group al Qaeda flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Another plane collided against the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and a fourth crashed in a Pennsylvanian field. It was this pivotal event and its aftermath — one in which many people in a grieving America turned on anyone who looked Muslim or had brown skin — that helped light a spark in Carmel Delshad, now an editor and reporter at the WAMU.

We the People

Cynthia Burgett is a civics teacher at Rachel Carson Middle School, and, with the help of two students, she founded a We the People program within Carson, which later became a full-time class. We the People focuses on the Constitution and the country. Within each class of students, there are six teams known as units. Each unit focuses on a different subject material throughout the year; for instance, Unit 1 focuses on philosophy.

Curating Art Communities

Every Saturday, members of the Fairfax Art League meet up at the Old Town Hall in Fairfax City to discuss plans for future galleries, talk about their pieces, and work on artwork in workshops.

25 Years of Saving Lives

When John Morrison was 16, he joined the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (VVFD) as a licensed emergency medical technician (EMT). Since then, he has continued to volunteer for the VVFD and climbed the ranks to become the volunteer chief in 2010. We were able to speak with Chief Morrison on his volunteer work at the Vienna Fire Department, his work in various sectors and teams at the Fairfax County Fire Department, and how the fire service has changed as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

Make a Meal, Making a Difference

When people look at a plate of pasta, they usually just see a nice dinner. But, for the clients of Meals of Wheels, they see the time, the effort, the goodwill, and most importantly, the people behind their food. One of these people is Stephanie Archer-Smith, who has made it her job to support the mission of Meals on Wheels as the Executive Director in Central Maryland. Meals on Wheels is a nation-wide nonprofit organization

SAFE Food for All

At first glance, it may seem like SAFE Food Pantry is simply a normal food pantry in Howard County, Maryland. Unbeknownst to many, SAFE actually stands for Supplying Allergy-Friendly and Emergency meals, and this is exactly what this unique food pantry aims to do. Tiffany Holtzman is the founder and Executive Director of SAFE Food Pantry. In her role, Holtzman is in charge of the future and expansion of the organization. She works to find partnerships and build relationships to strengthen the non-profit and impact a wider audience.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Hero

Past the little coffee shop and the Giant where the locals go to pick up their weekly groceries, there is a gigantic line of people standing outside Swansfield Elementary. It is startling for a second until the reason becomes clear: Erika Strauss Chavarria’s Columbia Community Care. Strauss Chavarria, a high school Spanish teacher in Howard County, serves as a role model not only to her students but also to her community.

Exploring History Across Generations

Jamie Sawatzky is a history and civics teacher at Rocky Run Middle School. At this school, he teamed with his coworkers to found iWitness to History Day, a one-day program that brings small groups of students and eyewitnesses of a range of historical events together.

From Laws to Paws

A savior, an idol, and an animal whisperer—Mirah Horowitz, director of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and Kauai Humane Society, resembles the warrior archetype of a modern Wonder Woman. Her dedication to animal welfare earned her a spot as a distinguished member of the rescue community.

High Schoolers for Front Liners

During the COVID-19 pandemic, communities around the world continue to rally together to battle the crippling and deadly disease. One program called High Schoolers for Front Liners (HSFL), supports front line workers by donating masks. We were able to speak to Allison Moon, the founder of HSFL, on the origin and goals of her project.

A GIVEr of the Community

Amidst the current pandemic, the community spirit can sometimes get lost. As William Shakespeare once said, “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” One student has provided that beam of light against the gloomy shadow of current events. That student is Hasita Nalluri, who founded TJ GIVE, a club that carries out service projects for the wellbeing of the community.

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