The Mid-County Regional Service Center (RSC) serves a population of approximately 220,000 individuals and businesses in an area that extends from the Beltway to Howard County and includes such communities as Ashton, Aspen Hill, Brookeville, Capital View, Derwood, Forest Glen, Glenmont, Kemp Mill, Kensington, Layhill, Norbeck, Olney, Sandy Spring, Upper Rock Creek, and Wheaton.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Past Mid-County Information October 2014

  • RECRUITING VOTERS TO SERVE AT THE POLLS - Have you ever considered serving your community by working at the polls on Election Day? Montgomery County's Board of Elections is seeking registered voters to manage polling places and provide customer service as an Election Judge on Tuesday, November 4.  To apply online, or for more information, visit and select the Election Judges' link. For other election information, call 240-777-VOTE.
  • BILINGUAL VOTERS NEEDED TO SERVE AT THE POLLS - The Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking bilingual voters to work at early voting centers and at polling places on Election Day.  If you are interested in taking this leadership position in your community, please contact the Montgomery County Board of Elections at 240-777-8532, download an election judge questionnaire from our website at, or e-mail Dr. Gilberto Zelaya.  
  • MID-COUNTY REGIONAL CENTER announces New Website & Toolkit The Mid-County Regional Center is happy to announce an updated website with information for residents, businesses and organizations in Mid-County.  One new feature of the website is the creation of the new updated Mid -County Community Toolkit.The toolkit is meant to assist residents in working towards starting, improving, and growing civic associations, which are important forums for county residents to address matters within their communities.
  • ATTENTION ALL HOME OWNER ASSOCIATIONS - the Mid-County Regional Center is updating its contact information for all Home Owner Associations in Mid-County. Please call at 240-777-8104 or email her here to update your HOA's information. 
  • Libraries and Schools Partner With Ride On to Sell SmarTrip Cards; Kids Ride Free Expanded use this link for more information.
  • MONTGOMERY COUNTY TO HOLD VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES AT PUBLIC LIBRARIES: Saturday, September 6: Aspen Hill Library, 4407 Aspen Hill Rd, Kensington Park Library, 4201 Knowles Avenue, Kensington MD 
  • Montgomery County's Fall Guide for Recreation and Parks Programs Now Available. Use this link.
  • Excel Beyond the Bell Symposium: Promoting  Social Emotional Learning through Creative Connections for more information click here.
  • Nonprofit Leadership Boot Camp for more information click here.
  • Upcoming Fire Department Open Houses it's the perfect time to check your smoke alarms!  October is Fire Prevention Month and fire stations across Montgomery County will be hosting educational, family-oriented events and activities.  October 12th 12:00-4:00pm, Kensington Volunteer Fire Department, Station 5, 10620 Connecticut Ave., Kensington MD. 240-773-4705 
  • Upcoming Fire Department Open Houses October 5  1:00 - 4:00 pm Sandy Springs Volunteer Fire Department, 16911 Georgia Ave., Olney MD. 240-773-4740 
  • Zoning Code Training on October 7, Planning Department staff will host a training on the new zoning code. A presentation geared towards community members will be followed by a question and answer session.  For more information click here.  
  • County to Host Town Hall Meeting Regarding Bullying in Schools for more information please call 240-777-8450.
  • National Prescription Drug Take Back Day for more information  Click here 
  • Public Invited to Infant Mortality Forum For more information, contact Pat Keating at 301-754-7163 or by email.
  • National Voter Registration Day 2014 To check to see if you are registered and for more information click here.
  • The Gilchrist Center is pleased to announce its upcoming Job Search Workshop for more information please see flyer.
  • Residents Invited to Participate in Live Online Discussion with County Executive Ike Leggett for more information call 240-777-6507.
  • Ride On Invites the Public to Comment on its Revised Title VI Policies that Prohibit Discrimination for more information click here
  • Public Hearing Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment for September 11, at 8787 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910.  Click here for more information.
  • Public Forum Hosted by Human Trafficking Task Force Postponed.  For more information please call County Executive's office at 240-777-2522   
  • Department of Permitting Services Hosts International Green Construction Code (IgCC) Public Work Session Briefing on September 3, 2014.  Click here for more information.
  • Public hearing on the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan on Thursday, Sept. 4, at 8787 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910. Click here for more information.
  • Free College Prep Workshop To be Held at Davis Library On August 27 use this link or call Davis Library at 240-777-0922. 
  • Montgomery County Sister City Mission to India: Hyderabad,  Raipur,  Delhi,  Amritsar and Mumbai.  Click here for more information.
  • The Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee will be holding their next monthly meeting on October 14th at 6:30pm at the Mid-County Regional Center located at 2424 Reedie Drive, 1st floor conference room. 
  • October 9, - Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at Holiday Park Senior Center
  • October 7, - Montgomery County Hispanic Heritage Event and "Harvest of Empire" Film Screening, Executive Office Building Auditorium, Rockville. 
  • American Film Institute Latin American Film Festival-September 18-October 8th, 2014.  For more information click here.
  • Noyes Family Hoedown  to support the Noyes Children's Library Foundation.  For more information see website. 
  • Trucktoberfest: Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival.  Click here for more information
  • Sept. 20th Les Dames d'Escoffier guided gourmet walking tour of the Wheaton Business District
  • Join Montgomery Parks Staff and help Sligo Creek on Sunday, September 21st. 
  • Public Invited to Participate in  World Car Free Day Monday, September 22 for more information please visit website.
  • Maker Faire Coming to Silver Spring -Sunday, September 14 from noon to 5 p.m.  For more information click here
  • Montgomery County Friendship Picnic:   When: Sunday, September 14, 2014, Time: 1pm to 5pm, Where: Wheaton Regional Park

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


    • Wheaton Community Survey on Youth Drinking-for survey please use this link
    • County Urges Preparedness for Summer Storm Season use this link
    • Holiday Schedule for Independence Day use this link for more information
    • Great Fines Read Off Program Returns to Montgomery County Public Libraries- use this link for more information 
    • New School Immunization Requirements for 2014-2015 School Year Announced  For more information on immunizations, call the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services' Immunization Program at 240-777-1050 or School Health Services at 240-777-1550.  For specific information, parents may contact their child's school health nurse.  
    • Proposal Writing Series July 16 at the Foundation Center or July 24 & 30 at Montgomery College 10:00 am - 1:00 pm each session. Cost of class $90. Click here for more information.
    • The Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee will be holding their next monthly meeting on July 8th at 6pm at the Mid-County Regional Center located at 2424 Reedie Drive, 1st floor conference room. 
    • The Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board will be holding their next monthly meeting on July 15th at 7pm at the Mid-County Regional Center located at 2424 Reedie Drive, 1st floor conference room.  

    The County Executive is looking for individuals to serve on boards and committees throughout the county.  Please click here to see what vacancies are available.


    County's Office of Human Rights Seeks Nominations for Hall of Fame: the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights (OHR) is currently accepting nominations for its Eighth Human Rights Hall of Fame. Nominations should be individuals - either living or deceased - whose ongoing work, service and contributions have positively impacted human and civil rights in the county.  This year's theme is "Advancing New Strategies for Human & Civil Rights."  The deadline for nominations is August 22.  For more information please visit their website.  

    Friday, February 8, 2013

    Well folks, I’m wrapping up the SNAP the Silence challenge today.  I almost made it to the end of the week keeping true to the challenge but I admit that I broke down last night after a rough day.  I suspect many of us break our budgets, diets, or commitments when dealing with difficult situations.  And that’s ok.  What matters is what we do afterwards, either picking up where we left of or maybe starting over.  For me, it’s important to share how grateful I am for the opportunity to participate in this challenge and to share what I learned along the way.  Here’s my summary:

    1. Planning your meals is key when living on a budget: I don’t just mean that Monday night is taco night and Tuesday is spaghetti night.  The budgeting I’m describing includes what I can make with the limited money I have every day or week.  This may result in every night being soup night or rice and beans night as whatever I make has to last several days. 
    1. Luxuries are truly luxuries: I never would have thought of a brownie as such but that is what did not make it into my budget.  Though most of us could use the help in weaning ourselves of sweets, it would be a choice.  Families with limited food budgets don’t have those same choices, making me realize the vast privileges I do have. 
    1. Healthy options are not always possible:  I did not get to blog about this topic this week but it was one that struck me from the moment that I made my purchases for food on Monday.  I was able to grab some healthy options that made my week not as bad as I originally expected but I certainly was not able to buy fresh vegetables either.  Jenna Umbriac nutrition coordinator for Manna Food drove this home for me at the press conference Monday morning.  She mentioned that they rarely get donations for fresh fruits and vegetables, let alone healthy donations of food.  She then asked us to consider what we like to eat and feed our families with when making donations to a food pantry.     
    1. Lastly, education is crucial: I realize that most of us do not always come across people in need of assistance.  We may hear about cases of need from the local paper or nonprofit but may not always get to experience the reality of it firsthand.  I urge you to learn more, ask questions and find out what you can do to make a difference in your own community.  
    Thank you for joining me on this challenge as a reader and maybe even a participant.  I hope you too can take the lessons I’ve shared to SNAP the Silence on poverty here in Montgomery County, MD.

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    The last two days, I've been met with mixed reactions as I explain why I'm doing the SNAP the Silence challenge.  Some are excited to hear that we are trying to raise awareness about the challenges of low-income families in Montgomery County.  Others seem to think that its disingenuous emphasizing that people don't live on $5/day.  They have stressed that the program is a Supplemental program, which is what the S in SNAP represents. So I've decided to do some investigation to demystify the word.

    To qualify for the SNAP program, a family of 4 needs to earn $30,000 gross according to the federal standards.  In return, they will receive $668/month to buy food for their family-which is approximately $20/day for the family or $5/day per person.  They may be able to utilize the rest of their income to buy food, but remember they still have to pay for housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, medical expenses, child care, toilet paper, etc.    

    So I suspect the word Supplemental means it’s not supplementing their food budget but rather, their income to ensure that they can eat. 

    We have a lot to learn about how our low-income families are living around us. Each day that I participate in this challenge, I’m forced to do more than just eat off $5/day.  I'm learning to research and explore what it really means to live with minimal means, leaving me face to face with numbers and stories that are uncomfortable to ignore.  And by doing so, I'm no longer the same.

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    At the press conference yesterday to kick-off the SNAP the Silence Challenge, Montgomery County Media caught this picture of me shopping for food. I certainly was feeling a bit overwhelmed at buying food as I had not really planned out my meals for the week.  Had I done so, I believe I would have been much more successful at ensuring I had balanced meals all 5 days of the SNAP challenge.  

    Luckily for me, I have an advantage in this challenge-I'm Puerto Rican. Traditionally, we eat a lot of rice and beans as the base of our meals.  Hence, this challenge has brought me back to my roots and enjoying some of my favorite foods.  For example, last night I took most of my roaster chicken and made a big pot of Puerto Rican chicken soup with rice, frozen butternut squash and spinach.  I think I made enough to last me the week and I still have not even touched my beans. So I think I should fare well the rest of the week assuming I don't grow too tired of leftovers.

    That said, there is one thing I overlooked while shopping-my sweettooth. I did buy some clementines and raisins for my oatmeal in the morning, but of course today I got a serious craving for a brownie.  In that moment, nothing else could satisfy me.  I got frustrated at myself for not planning better because had I done so, I may have been able to fit in some luxuries in my $25 food budget for the week.
    But maybe this is the point of this challenge.  There are no luxuries.  You have enough to sustain yourself without the extras that many of us take for granted. And we should all be grateful for what we can have.

    Monday, February 4, 2013

    SNAP the Silence

    Councilmember Ervin has organized what is called the SNAP the Silence challenge. Starting today, anyone interested can try to experience life on public nutrition assistance by eating $5 per day for five days.  I along with many others, have decided to take the challenge not to bring attention to myself but rather, to raise awareness of the struggle many low-income families face right here in our community.  

    According to the most recent Census, 12.4% of Wheatonites are living below the federal level of poverty.  The Census also states that the median household income for Wheaton is $74,000.  That might seem like a lot of money but the 2012 Self-Sufficiency Standard for Montgomery County states that a family of 4 needs a minimum of $70,000 to pay all of their bills--which turns out to be approximately $16.75/hour/adult.  So you can see where many families earning between $24,000 (the federal measure of poverty) and $70,000 might actually need help in getting all of their basic needs met.  

    This really hit home for me as I purchased my food this morning for the week.  I bought some oatmeal for breakfast, a chicken roaster along with some milk, clementines and frozen vegetables.  I had to leave out bread from my purchase to meet the $25 spending limit.  I don't have time to cook food tonight so I plan to eat a can of tuna with some clementines as I wait for my evening meetings.  

    Do you want to join the challenge?  You still have time.  My hope is that if you do, you too can begin understanding what your neighbor, colleague or closest friend might be experiencing.  And if you do, maybe together we can try to find solutions to this problem.

    Follow me on twitter at @anavanbalen as I talk through what I learn in this challenge.

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

    Mid-County's New Website!

    After a year of working here, I have finally focused some attention to my website.  There has been a great deal that has changed at the center and so, it made sense to simplify and highlight the key aspects of the work I do.

    Advisory Boards: I staff both the Mid-County Citizen's Advisory Board and the Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee.  Both groups are made up of business owners, nonprofit leaders and residents like you who are committed to strengthening our community.  Community members can share their ideas and concerns to either group as a way of getting your voice heard!

    Services at the Center: many people are unaware of the great resources that exist right in their backyard.  Check out what you can access through a visit to the Mid-County Regional Center.

    Downtown Wheaton: looking for some good food tonight?  A unique gift for your friend?  Downtown Wheaton has unique options for you to consider.  And if you ever need help while in Wheaton, contact the Clean & Safe Team--our red-shirt ambassadors that can help walk you to your car, jump-start your car and help you when you forget your keys in your car!

    Contact Us: let us know if you ever need help getting a question answered or assistance in finding the right government agency for your specific needs.  We are here to support you!