Montgomery Serves Awards 2021

Congratulations to the 2021 Montgomery Serves Awards honorees. These individuals, businesses, and groups have demonstrated remarkable commitment to service and volunteerism in our community, earning them Montgomery County's highest recognition for their contributions.

Youth Volunteer of the Year 

Recognizing outstanding volunteer service in 2020 by an individual age 18 or under 

 Brigitte Bonsu photoBrigitte Bonsu

Takoma Park resident Brigitte Bonsu is a senior at Montgomery Blair High School who has a great well of empathy and a strong desire to help others. Last year as the pandemic hit, Brigitte continued to reach out, connect, and serve as a volunteer with two organizations:  Small Things Matter and Community Bridges. 

Small Things Matter is founded on the idea that small acts of kindness can make a big impact. Their motto is “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” Brigitte has taken that motto to heart with her service in 2020.  

With the rising increase in food insecurity during the pandemic, Small Things Matters ramped up its Kokua Food distribution program, expanding from serving 300 families with fresh produce once a month to serving over 1,000 families two to four times each month with increased food services and non-food items such as masks, toiletry kits, cleaning kits, and clothing. 

Far from bunkered, Brigitte volunteered at the bi-weekly distributions for a total of 60 hours. She volunteered another 50 hours reading bedtime stories to children over Zoom and distributing books to families in the Takoma Park area. 

Last fall, Brigitte advocated for a new program: “Bedtime Stories with Small Things Matter.” Families register their children to hear a bedtime story read by Brigitte over Zoom each Friday. A passionate believer in the power of literature to nourish growing minds, Brigitte is sharing the program she’s developed with organizations interested in replicating it. 

Since her junior year of high school, Brigitte has participated in Community Bridges, a Silver Spring nonprofit that empowers girls from diverse backgrounds to become exceptional students, positive leaders, and healthy young women. As the summer’s wave of outrage over the death of George Floyd peaked, it became clear that the pandemic’s force was unevenly felt in communities of color. Brigitte and a few other few seniors at Community Bridges formed a racial equity committee and organized a live-streamed town hall in July, one of the first in the county. Brigitte and her co-leaders each researched a topic and prepared to participate in the town hall by engaging with elected officials. The town hall meeting served an important function by allowing students to speak directly to county leaders and appreciate the value of using their voices in civic engagement. Brigitte spent about 70 hours with co-leaders preparing, organizing, and conducting this event.  

During the past year, Brigitte has been writing college and scholarship applications, and at the same time dashing out for food distributions, practicing her cello, taking AP classes, and maintaining high grades. As a leader among her peers and a role model for younger girls, we are pleased to honor Brigitte Bonsu as the 2020 Youth Volunteer of the Year. 
—Nominated by Jane DeAngeli​


See all of this year's honorees