The Collaboration Council’s Community of Engagement strives to center the voices and perspectives of people in Montgomery County.

Community of Engagement activities include community forums, listening sessions, community-led trainings for nonprofits, and data collection for community advocacy. The Community of Engagement is a community-driven vehicle to advocate for change, providing pathways for residents to actualize their vision of a healthy, aligned, and affirming community.

Conversations at the Intersection 

On Nov. 4 and 18, 2023, and February 24, 2024, Racial Justice NOW! DMV held Town Halls at Bohrer Park Rec Center, White Oak Middle School, and Rockville Memorial Library addressing the school-to-prison pipeline for Black students in MCPS. These Town Halls were supported by the Collaboration Council as part of our community of engagement dialogue series.

The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the increased risk that students suspended, expelled, and arrested in schools face for entering the juvenile and adult justice systems. These community conversations featured a presentation by Dr. Elaine Bonner-Tompkins, Senior Legislative Analyst at the Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight, sharing findings from the recent OLO report about the school-to-prison pipeline, including findings that Black children are twice as likely to be suspended or referred to juvenile services compared to their share of student enrollment.

To learn more, we invite you to watch the RJN! Facebook Live stream from Nov. 18.

Our 2022-2023 community conversation series kicked off on December 14, 2022, with Dr. Rodney Glasgow of the Glasgow Group, who led an interactive workshop and conversation around identity development, implicit bias, and the lived experiences of our social selves. This conversation also focused on how our identities intersect with each other and shape how we act, react, and interact in the world. Participants explored what we can do to combat our biases, face our prejudices, and promote inclusion.

Dr. Rodney Glasgow: What is Implicit Bias?

On January 30, 2023, the series continued with a community conversation at the intersection of the issues of anti-semitism and anti-Black racism in our communities. Our panel featured Howard Feinstein, civil rights attorney and citizen-advocate; Dira Treadvance, Chief of Children Youth and Family Services, Montgomery County’s DHHS; and Andrew Friedson, Montgomery County Council Vice President.

On February 21, 2023, we welcomed back Dr. Glasgow, who facilitated an interactive workshop and conversation around how identity, intersectionality, and implicit bias show up in our lived experiences.

Advancing Youth Development

Advancing Youth Development (AYD) Training is an intensive four-day professional development opportunity for community youth workers who work directly with youth ages 10 to 24 in school and community settings in Montgomery County.

AYD Training gives participants the necessary tools and skills to understand youth culture. Participants learn how to help youth navigate and use resources, identify their own strengths, and define and achieve their goals. We are proud to have provided this nationally recognized training to hundreds of providers in the county.

Participants in the November 2023 AYD Training reflect on what the training meant to them.

Youth Action Board

The Youth Action Board (YAB) is a collaborative entity supported by Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (Services to End and Prevent Homelessness), the Collaboration Council, Montgomery County Interagency Commission on Homelessness, and the MoCo Reconnect Youth Drop-In Center and its partners.

The YAB consists of community members ages 17 to 24 who have a desire to impact the way their peers and future generations of young people experience homelessness in Montgomery County. These youth are viewed as experts who help hold government and nonprofits accountable for prioritizing the needs and wants of young people.

The YAB played a central role in developing and designing the MoCo ReConnect Youth Drop-in Center, which opened in June 2022. The Drop-in Center is a unique approach in Montgomery County as the only dedicated youth space specifically centering the needs of youth ages 16-24, particularly those impacted by housing insecurity and seeking alternative opportunities to traditional education pathways.

To learn more, visit the MoCo ReConnect program page.


Mentoring studies have proven the importance of quality mentoring relationships for young people. Having access to a mentor increases the likelihood that young people will enroll in college, volunteer with community organizations, and hold professional leadership positions. Research has also shown that mentoring programs that utilize best practices have a greater impact on the lives of young people compared with programs that don’t. In 2016, the Collaboration Council explored the status of mentoring in Montgomery County by commissioning a study on the state of mentoring.

Montgomery County Collaboration Council
1803 Research Blvd., Suite 208
Rockville, Maryland, 20850
(301) 610-0147

Data Sources: This study gathered data from semi-structured key informant interviews with representatives from mentoring programs and focus groups with representatives from funders, business leaders, and youth practitioners.

Findings: The study found the following ongoing needs, challenges, and opportunities in Montgomery County mentoring programs:

  • Codifying all mentoring program policies and procedures in a manual or guide
  • Developing and implementing a resource development strategy and increasing the overall level of program funding
  • Providing staff development opportunities and increasing staff size
  • Locating and using mentoring program training and technical assistance to support the development of mentoring programs
  • Creating community awareness of specific mentoring programs and the general benefits of mentoring
  • Using evaluation data for program improvement
  • Finding opportunities for collaboration among youth-serving organizations and mentoring programs

Upon completion of the interviews and analysis, the report recommended improvements to five distinct areas that would increase the impact of mentoring programs as they currently stand. These five recommendations were:

  1. Develop comprehensive mentoring program manuals or guides.
  2. Create, implement, and monitor resource development plans.
  3. Increase the amount of pre-match and post-match training provided to mentors.
  4. Provide consistent pre-match training to mentees and parents or guardians.
  5. Increase program capacity to collect, analyze, and use data for program improvement and to monitor the quality of the mentoring relationship.

Download the report: State of Mentoring in Montgomery County, Maryland