Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary–Quality After School in High Poverty Schools

AIM, in partnership with the Montgomery County Public School System and the Montgomery County Recreation Department, created Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary (formerly known as Dream Academy), which serves 720 students in the 2018-2019 school year. Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary (EBBE) is an innovative and effective after-school and parent-organizing program that over time will help organize and serve thousands of families in our rapidly changing-county, where 55,000 MCPS students receive subsidized meals and the school system population is now nearly 70% students of color.

Providing affordable high quality after-school enrichment programs and engaging parents in the life of the school is one of the best ways to support children and families at struggling schools. Through a sustained effort that brought together leaders of AIM congregations, principals, teachers, and Recreation staff, AIM won free, high quality after school care in two high poverty elementary schools in 2016, and has expanded every year since. The program provides an hour of academics taught by teachers from the school, an hour enrichment, a nutritious meal, and AIM-facilitated parent organizing and engagement.

AIM is working to Expand Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary to 20 schools by 2022, and received commitments from our County Executive and County Council to do so.

South Lake Elementary School student, Chilson, says Excel Beyond the Bell has helped him stay out of trouble in school and that “the staff and teachers at EBBE help me focus and calm down when I need to… the teachers at EBBE have helped me do better in my regular school classes.” Chilson’s mother, Adeline, also testified. She spoke of the impact EBBE has had on her son’s grades and behavior in school, saying “The extra hour of academic support gives my son and other students the opportunity to fully learn concepts from the normal school day…I really do appreciate his teacher and the administration for supporting my son, but EBBE, I mean it, is something special. The academics enrichment my son receives is very impactful… He really really loves EBBE so much, there is no day he doesn’t tell me he is looking forward to it.” To see a video of Chilson and Adeline’s entire testimonies, and more photos from the hearing, visit our Facebook page by clicking here.
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In the News

AIM Plays Key Role in Fight to Get Smith and Wesson to Adopt Commonsense Gun Safety at Shareholders Meeting

AIM worked with Chief Manger, President of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, to support our national efforts in getting Smith and Wesson shareholders to vote for significant measures to improve safety and accountability for their firearms products. Click here to find out how AIM and the Industrial Areas Foundation won with Smith and Wesson and Sturm Ruger.

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Justice for Historic African-American Communities

The ribbon cutting to open the new Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center took place on Oct. 6 in the Good Hope neighborhood of Silver Spring, Md. Local officials, residents and community members all gathered to witness the opening of the last of the four centers located in historic African-American neighborhoods to undergo renovations in Montgomery County.

Good Hope along with Ross Boddy, Scotland and Plum Gar recreation centers were overlooked and neglected for many years and dating back to the 1990s, neighborhood leaders weren’t even able to get basic repairs done in the community centers. Centers were dealing with issues such as flooding and broken windows, according to social advocacy group, Action In Montgomery (AIM).

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Silver Spring apartment complex explosion survivors demand better treatment from Montgomery County

Click “READ MORE” to see the video of the action.

– Nearly two years after the August 10, 2016 blast that killed seven people at the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring, survivors are demanding better support from the Montgomery County government.

Through advocacy organization Action in Montgomery (AIM), the group of survivors met to address their concerns Tuesday night at JoAnn Leleck at Broad Acres Elementary School.

Survivors told their stories about how they lost their possessions along with how they were physically and mentally scarred by the natural gas explosion. They said since the accident, they have been forced to pay higher rents, haven’t received adequate mental health treatment related to the trauma and that their opinions were left out of the 2016 county report that detailed the response to the tragedy.

Gustavo Zuniga spoke to the crowd, recounting how the roof fell inside his apartment, knocking him unconscious. He said the only reason that he is alive is because his wife was able to pull him from the rubble.

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Strong Commitments for Flower Branch Survivors

By Michelle Basch | @MBaschWTOP

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Nearly two years after a deadly explosion blew through the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring, survivors have asked for more help as they continue trying to put their shattered lives back together.

The explosion and fire on Aug. 10, 2016, left 7 dead, dozens injured and dozens more displaced.

At a meeting organized by a group called Action in Montgomery and held at JoAnn Leleck Elementary School at Broad Acres Tuesday, several survivors described what they went through on the day of the tragedy, and what they’ve been dealing with since.

Maria Victoria Reyes said she was in her apartment with her daughter that night drinking coffee  when they heard a “rumble.”The ceiling fell down on them, covering them with burned debris and glass.

“My daughter and I could only see each other’s faces and the sky even though we were in the basement. We were covered up to our necks. We could not move,” she said in Spanish.

Victoria Reyes said the injuries she suffered left her unable to work even though she wants to provide for her family, and that it has affected her mental health.

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