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  • Taylor Dibbert

Stepping Up and Answering the Call

2020 has been an extremely difficult year. COVID-19 has hit Long Branch particularly hard. Thankfully, many community members have stepped up in a host of ways. Wendy and her son, Jefferson, are two individuals who have made meaningful contributions during this time.

Their family hails from El Salvador and arrived in the U.S. in 2014. Wendy first came across CHEER in 2018 and subsequently joined Conexo, a parent leaders’ group organized by CHEER.

Through Conexo, Wendy “learned new skills in planning and group decision making, and worked closely with others to organize community events like quarterly neighborhood clean ups, block parties, and since June she has been helping with the weekly neighborhood food distribution,” says Bruce Baker, CHEER’s Executive Director.

Wendy’s active participation in civic life doesn’t just help her family, the entire community benefits. Jefferson participates in weekly food distributions. What’s more, due to Wendy’s CHEER ties, Jefferson has been referred to a special college prep program. His community engagement is allowing him to build confidence and shaping him to be a future leader.

Fostering these types of community connections has never been more important and CHEER is well-positioned to build on its previous successes in this area. “We are looking for more ways to involve more people and making great communities and great neighborhoods,” notes Baker.

2021 will undoubtedly bring formidable challenges and we’re still in this together. CHEER will keep building resilient communities, but the organization needs your support.

Every bit is helpful and if you’re able to contribute please do so here:

This year has brought tremendous tragedy, pain, and suffering. And yet we’ve also witnessed the best of humanity – right in our own back yard. From food distributions to fundraising to the brave work of hospital staff and grocery store workers to the contributions of community members like Wendy and Jefferson, the Takoma Park and Long Branch communities have risen to the coronavirus challenge.

Let’s keep answering the call to serve, to support, and to give back in the coming year.


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