Each quarter, MHP recognizes a staff member who has gone above and beyond daily responsibilities to embody the Spirit of MHP. Selection is by a rotating committee of staff members.
All staff can nominate a colleague for recognition.
Chris Gillis, MHP’s Policy and Neighborhood Development Director, achieved a new level of service and contribution in response to the COVID pandemic. He launched a program for free testing at multiple MHP sites, in partnership with other community organizations. These services were provided in a welcoming, bilingual setting and served many essential workers who were enormously grateful for the free service, which otherwise might not have been available to them. Chris’ other initiatives include: procuring hundreds of reusable face masks distributed to MHP residents; leading a food distribution effort in the Takoma Park and Glenville Road communities, serving 50 families with food essentials each month; and launching and leading MHP’s COVID outreach response team, which reaches out to residents who are in crisis due to the pandemic. The team addresses food insecurity issues, unemployment insurance needs, rent issues, and other challenges. Chris also leads MHP’s advocacy efforts, seeking relief and support for low-income residents and an expansion of access to quality affordable housing.
Andrea is MHP’s Grant Manager. She has deep experience in the nonprofit world. At MHP, Andrea has worked tirelessly to respond to new and changing funding needs and opportunities due to the COVID crisis. She has successfully secured additional funding not only to help MHP weather the current COVID situation but to increase MHP’s capacity to serve our residents, who have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and the ensuing financial crisis. Andrea‘s hard work has resulted in expanded grant support for MHP’s work, both current programs and new initiatives. And even during this busy time, Andrea has been committed to the development of her team members, mentoring one of her teammates to develop her skills in researching and completing grant applications, yielding several funding successes. Andrea is a committed, passionate non-profit professional who cares about supporting MHP’s mission and communities, while also connecting with and supporting her peers.
Fatima is the Community Engagement Specialist with MHP’s Neighborhoods Department. She is the glue that connects many aspects of MHP’s activities and programs. She is bilingual in Spanish (and has been a professional salsa dancer!). Fatima supports MHP’s Green Clubs for youth, helping plan special activities like a movie night. She has worked with residents to prepare them to advocate for affordable housing before the County Executive and County Council. Fatima meets with residents to help MHP develop programs that respond to their needs. Fatima is a valued teammate who embodies the Spirit of MHP through collaboration and creativity. She is willing to pitch in wherever she is needed.
MHP COVID OUTREACH TEAM
MHP recognizes the COVID Outreach Team for demonstrating commitment, compassion and empathy in reaching out to MHP residents who are challenged by serious problems due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This committed group of employees and volunteers has reached hundreds of MHP residents and helped them connect to vital resources to address their issues, including job loss, food insecurity, medical needs, family crises, and possible eviction. With skill and compassion, this group interviews individuals and provides them with the resources they need to achieve stability and security. Bravo to all, especially our volunteers.
The outreach team is led by Chris Gillis, MHP’s Policy and Neighborhood Development Director. These are the other members of the outreach team:
Jo Ann Woods
Stephen Durako (volunteer)
Cesia Delcid Hernandez (volunteer)
Eduardo Chaves Serrano (volunteer)
Sulema Middleton Stewart
Jorge Ignacio Aguilar
Paul Grenier, Community Economic Development Coordinator in MHP’s Neighborhoods Department, dedicates himself to making things better. Paul is a passionate advocate, working closely with the Long Branch neighborhood in Silver Spring to encourage growth and resilience for residents and for the Long Branch business community. He consistently explores opportunities to improve the lives of both residents and businesses. Paul involves other organizations to create meaningful, effective community events. Within the MHP community, Paul is a mentor for various members of his department and always is willing to assist in any way he can to ensure the success of MHP projects and events. Paul’s contributions are enhanced by his natural creativity and positivity, as well as his dedication to multi-culturalism. He is multi-lingual (English, Spanish, Russian and French).
COMMUNITY LIFE TEAM
MHP recognizes Sulema Middleton Stewart and her Community Life team for outstanding passion, service and commitment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been an extremely confusing, overwhelming, and scary time with all the unknowns. The Community Life team immediately recognized that our communities were in need and sprang into action. Under Sulema’s leadership, the team has ensured that hundreds of donated bags of food have been delivered to families, in addition to more than 250 wellbeing calls made to check on families.
Sulema and the CL staff have been working tirelessly to ensure that residents and our program participants have everything that they need. From leading programming, creating ways to continue delivering classes and enrichment in compliance with social distancing requirements, checking in on parents, and managing donations, CL has provided program participants with a sense of consistency and comfort that have proven crucial during this time. The team also has found ways to keep contract staff employed, many of whom rely heavily on the extra income. What they have done for our communities is heroic. It comes from a place of love, compassion, and a level of commitment that goes beyond the daily call of duty. Some may call it the Spirit of MHP. Their enthusiasm and genuine care for our residents are evident in their everyday activities and especially during this extraordinary time.