Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative

What We Do

  • We support early literacy through a program that teaches parents how to build their child’s vocabulary
  • We mentor elementary school children at two local schools
  • We mentor 6th graders through collaborative art making and conversation
  • We engage with high schoolers through Courageous Conversation workshops that tackle issues of discrimination and prejudice
  • We offer weekly conversation programs for adult English language learners who want to improve their speaking skills
  • We provide educational opportunities to GBCI volunteers and Asbury residents who want to learn about the issues and concerns of our Gaithersburg neighbors
  • We support our neighbors in their efforts to create a safe and secure community

Who We Are

The Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative (GBCI) is a collaboration of many community partners and individuals committed to supporting children and youth and working toward a just and equitable greater Gaithersburg community.

We have a dedicated Board of Directors, Program Director, and more than 100 volunteers who participate in our programs or help in various ways. We welcome new volunteers—both inside and outside of Asbury—all the time. And if you just want to stay informed, you can sign up for membership (no fee or commitment).

Our partners include:

  • City of Gaithersburg
  • Identity, Inc. (an agency serving Latino youth and families)
  • Montgomery County Public Schools
  • Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
  • Wesley Theological Seminary, Action in Montgomery
  • JCA Heyman Interages Center
  • American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  • Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL)
  • Numerous church congregations

How We Got Started

Inspired by a sermon by Marian Wright Edelman on the occasion of Martin Luther King’s birthday in 2011, Rev. Hal Garman, a retired United Methodist minister, wondered out loud what he could do as he and his wife drove the 25 miles back to their new retirement community, Asbury Methodist Village. Hal’s wife Jan said, “Why don’t you do something to help youth in Gaithersburg?” That spark ignited an multi-cultural, inter-generational project that has not stopped growing.

Volunteers are always welcome! If you’re interested in helping us to do more good with our intergenerational programs, please email Michele Bulatovic, Director, at mbulatovic@asbury.org.

In 2014, Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative was honored by LeadingAge national association for non-profit aging services organizations. Watch the video here.

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