Community Development

A strong community offers a rich source of fulfillment and empowerment to all of its members. Strong communities are able to connect all of its members to the resources that fulfill human needs which promote health and well being.  Hence, CHEER’s mission is to give people the knowledge and ability to create healthy thriving communities, so that people can experience high quality of life through their own collective efforts.

The importance of the work in our catchment:  In working with the community we find many people who are not well connected to others or involved in their communities.  They lack the supports and connections to meet many of their needs.  Consequently, CHEER conducts outreach to people who are less connected.  We make them aware of resources and opportunities. We provide instruction on how to navigate the institutional systems that offer the services they need. We provide training and supports in civic participation and leadership.

Maple Tree Group

The Maple Tree Group is a group of residents from the Maple Avenue buildings in Takoma Park. The group was formed in Spring 2019 for the purposes of bringing together diverse groups, including Ethiopian and other residents, to learn together about community resources and to plan joint activities for their own enrichment and recreation.  Initially, our first planned activity was a community picnic (October 2019) that featured children's games, Ethiopian and other national foods, and national dress. There were about 80 people in attendance.

CHEER at Ethiopian Fest 2021


CONEXO, is a parent leaders group that CHEER helped to organize. They have been an independent and autonomous community group since 2019. They conduct community clean-ups, block parties, appreciation events, and more.  They have been part of the planning and execution process for many Long Branch activities. They have been involved in many advocacy opportunities. For example, community advocacy walks. Members of this group have been instrumental in extending care and service to individuals and families in need in their neighborhood.  If you would like to read more about CONEXO, please click here to check out CONEXO's spotlight feature from the Takoma Foundation.

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CONEXO members providing free food to the community at Energy in the Park 2021

CONEXO at Takoma Park's National Night Out 2021

A CONEXO member's child performing 

community advocacy with Montgomery County Councilmember

Evan Glass during a food distribution

Long Branch County Executive Forum 2022

On June 29th, CHEER helped host the Long Branch County Executive Forum. We had around 120 participants show up to the forum to support Long Branch by assessing our current candidates. Seven community members came together to come up with seven questions to ask the candidates. They were not shy or hesitant about their participation! We received a lot of postive feedback on social media regarding the good turnout and community engagement. According to a couple of the candidates, this was the biggest candidates' forum they've been to so far! We were very happy to help provide a space for our community to engage with our current candidates to be able to better assess who they would like to represent Long Branch. 

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Community Clean Up 2021

Our community members showed up and showed out with our Empowerment and Leadership Development Team for our community clean up around New Hampshire Estates Elementary School!

We are so grateful for our community members who are so dedicated to helping make Long Branch and Takoma Park more healthy and thriving communities!


If you have any other questions about this program, please contact Vanesa Pinto at