Montgomery Serves Awards 2020

Congratulations to the 2020 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.

Volunteer Group of the Year 

Recognizing outstanding service by a group or team of two or more people who volunteered together in 2019  

Montgomery County Students for Change

MoCo Students for Change photo
An extraordinary individual can change the lives of many, but an extraordinary group of individuals can change an entire culture! That’s exactly what Montgomery County Students for Change is doing—bringing student voices to the forefront of the social justice movement and changing the way complex issues are addressed. This group works to protect and better our community and our world, making them ideal recipients of the Montgomery Serves 2020 Volunteer Group of the Year Award.  

Montgomery County Students for Change (often called MoCo for Change) was founded in 2018 by students from private and public high schools across the county in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.  Today, it has 15 active school chapters. Through organized nonviolent demonstrations, lobbying, campaigning, and voter registration drives, MoCo for Change tackles the most challenging issues of its generation, including gun violence prevention, climate reform, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. MoCo for Change is empowering because it gives voice to a formidable force of students who could too easily be left out of the decision-making process.  

MoCo for Change made its mark when it mobilized 2,500 local students to participate in the March 14, 2018, National Walkout Day. This event consisted of 17 minutes of silence at the White House, a march, and rally at the Capitol. MoCo for Change students, along with then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Tim Kaine, and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton addressed a crowd of 8,000 students from 45 schools.  

Following the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton in 2019, students organized a moving vigil in Lafayette Square Park, where 100 participants rallied for stricter gun laws.  

MoCo Students for Change is a ‘Get Out the Vote’ group, too, partnering with the County Board of Elections and MCR-SGA to host voter registration drives in every MCPS school. It also works to address inequities and promote diversity and integration in schools. During the 2018-2019 school year, it successfully campaigned the Board of Education to commission a county-wide school boundary analysis to examine the issue. In 2019, when controversy and misunderstandings erupted during community forums, students organized a large presence to balance the conversation and clarify misconceptions. Lastly, MoCo for Change ended 2019 by expanding its mission to include climate reform. It teamed up with MoCo on Climate and Fridays for Future to partner in 2020.  

MoCo Students for Change has built a strong following through social media that helps students stay connected. It also has a coalition of community partners, a few of which include Moms Demand Action, Communities United Against Hate (CUAH), MCR-SGA, various student social justice groups, and the Conflict Resolution Center for Montgomery County. 

MoCo Students for Change deserves the Volunteer Group of the Year Award in honor of their efforts to create a real difference in our world through focused and innovative activism. 
—Nominated by Amy Yontef-McGrath