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Prince George's County Maryland sent this bulletin
Monday, May 10, 2021
Dear Prince Georgians:
Last week I announced the launch of a Countywide Vaccine Distribution and Education Initiative that will conduct door-to-door, phone, and text outreach to County residents to help provide information on COVID-19 vaccines and resources related to the pandemic. Boosting demand for these life-saving vaccines is a critical priority, so we are knocking on doors as a part of a broader effort intended to increase the number of vaccinated Prince Georgians, especially in areas where vaccines are needed the most.
Today, getting the COVID-19 vaccine is easier than ever before. Pre-registration is no longer necessary, and residents can now register for their own COVID-19 appointment online at all County Health Department-operated clinics by using our new online appointment portal at MyPGC.us/ProudtobeProtected. However, demand has not kept pace as the COVID-19 vaccine has become more widely available. This is an issue other jurisdictions are starting to see across the State and across the country.
That is why we have launched a vaccine distribution outreach team to help bolster demand for the vaccine among County residents through messaging and outreach campaigns, including canvassing efforts and phone calls. The County’s Vaccine Equity Team has identified roughly a dozen communities that are a priority, based on socio-economic need, existing vaccination rates, and population size. These targeted communities will receive the full suite of remote and in-person contact. In total, canvassers will knock on 266,352 doors and are currently targeting the following communities for door-knocking: Bladensburg, Temple Hills, Capitol Heights, Hyattsville, Oxon Hill, College Park, District Heights, Riverdale, Suitland, Langley Park, and Mount Rainier.
The canvassing program will also reach the entire County remotely via phone banking and text banking, making over 1.3 million calls and sending over 500,000 text messages throughout the duration of the initiative. I want to encourage you to please answer your door or phone if contacted by a member of the vaccine outreach team. Canvass team members will be wearing reflective vests with County branding and “Prince George’s COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Team” identification badges. Our outreach team will be able to get you a vaccine appointment while also providing critical information about different government resources that we are able to offer, such as rental assistance and workforce development programs.
Our goal is simple. We’re making it easier for residents to get vaccinated, and our outreach team will play a critical role to ensure the community is aware. These vaccines are safe and effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19. In an era of social media, some of the most vulnerable populations we serve are also the most susceptible to misinformation about the vaccine. Our outreach team members will provide residents with important information on COVID-19 vaccines, as well as relief programs and resources. Again, if you are in one of these targeted communities, please answer the door if one of our outreach team members knocks.
Mourning the Loss of King Douglas
As we work to get more residents vaccinated and recover from this pandemic, we are also focused on addressing a number of issues that have arisen due to the public health crisis, including a rise in violence and criminal activity among youth. Recently, we gathered for a candlelight vigil to honor the life of King Douglas, a 13-year-old whose life was cut short by another child. His shooting death has landed hard on the souls of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and grandparents across our community, and we remain in prayer for King Douglas’s mother who is suffering with the tragic loss of her child. I am a mother myself, and like all mothers, when tragedy strikes any of our children it lands hard on my soul.
When tragedies like this happen in our community it says something about our society. Whether it’s young people having trouble because of isolation brought on by the pandemic, a lack of direction and purpose from a loss of structure, or any other issue, it is on us to meet the needs of our children.
Unfortunately, crimes involving our children are on the rise across the region and the nation. In a time of COVID-19, there has been so much disruption to our children’s routines. Studies have shown that access to summer youth employment programs, as well as after-school and summer recreation programs, help keep our children on the right path. We want to make sure our youth are learning and doing, while achieving a sense of belonging in this community. We all need to work together to ensure that we provide positive experiences for our children.
Programming for Young People
Your County Government is going to do its part by providing new summer programming so our children have safe spaces to grow. My office will launch the Alsobrooks Summer Youth Passport Experience, which will provide a variety of safe and fun options throughout the County for youth ages 12 to 18. This passport program is expected to operate from June to August offering a number of day and evening events, we anticipate will start daily at 9:00 AM and going until midnight. Activities for youth will cover the three Es: education, entrepreneurship, and experience. We want our young people to participate in safe activities that occupy them physically and mentally, while being able to socialize in a safe, supervised setting. We will provide more information on these offerings in the near future.
In addition, The Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation already has a number of ways for our young people to get active. Starting this week and over the coming two weeks, dozens of programs and services will open for our youth. For example, teens ages 14 and up can now make reservations to use indoor pools, Community Arts is running a Junior Academy for the Performing Arts, and free Yoga in the Parks is happening every Saturday in parks across the County. Through the “Recreation Without Walls” program, beginning after Memorial Day Weekend, basketball-skills challenges, pickup flag football, and soccer will be available for teenage residents at County park locations. Many of our fitness facilities have reopened, including County fitness rooms and gymnasiums. Right now, residents can make an appointment to visit our gyms online, and our nature centers are open as well for self-guided tours.
A full list of open facilities and activities, as well as information on how to register, can be found at pgparks.com. For teens interested in volunteering this summer, a full list of our volunteer opportunities and sign-ups is available at pgc.samaritan.com.
It’s on us to provide structure that supports positive goals for our children. Many of the changes we’re making will include increased access to existing activities and programs for youth. Every summer we work to provide our youth with a number of opportunities to participate in sports, the arts, theater, and other programs to pursue a wide range of interests. These programs are a great way for our children to learn and socialize during the summer months, and they help provide structure. By expanding access to opportunities for our youth, we know we can have a positive impact on their lives.
Growing Green with Pride
Finally, over the past few months, we have renewed our focus on beautification efforts across our community, helping the environment and making our County an even better place to live. On Saturday, May 1, we had a strong turnout for Growing Green with Pride Day, a countywide community cleanup where hundreds of volunteers signed up to make our County sparkle. I am proud of the more than 80 groups and 1,372 volunteers, including 3 municipalities and 9 schools, that came out to help clean up and beautify the County. Preliminary totals show that our residents worked together to remove 49.7 tons, or 99,400 pounds, of litter and illegally dumped materials. I want to sincerely thank every Prince Georgian who volunteered their time to make our County more beautiful.
In addition, our Litter Task Force came together last week to have its first meeting to consider ways to keep up the momentum on litter and illegal dumping. The Task Force discussed the ongoing communications campaign to let residents know how they can get involved, and ways to expand the illegal dumping camera program where we catch illegal dumpers in the act. The Task Force also explored ways to create an interactive dashboard for residents interested in litter removal. Our community works best when we work together, and we will keep working hard to make sure Prince George’s County remains the Crown Jewel of Maryland.
Yours in Service,
Prince George’s County Executive
Registration is already underway for many summer programs through the Department of Parks & Recreation, with both virtual and in-person opportunities available. To learn more about these opportunities and view the 2021 Summer Day Camp Brochure, click here.
The Department of Parks & Recreation has a number of programs and activities taking place throughout this month, and there is still time to register for many of these opportunities. To see the official Spring Guide to learn more and register for programs, click here.
Yoga in the Parks is officially underway through the Department of Parks & Recreation. To view the upcoming schedule for this month and register for free classes online, visit pgparksdirect.com.
Need a fun outdoor activity for the family? Select picnic shelters have reopened in parks across the County. To learn more and reserve a picnic shelter today, click here.
We are continuing to work hard to address food insecurity in our County, and we want to provide information on upcoming distribution locations for our Stand Up & Deliver program.
Tuesday, May 11 at 10:00 AM (Meals)
Wednesday, May 12 at 10:00 AM (Meals)
Saturday, May 15 (Meals)
Additional food distribution locations can be found on our website by clicking here. This map is updated regularly. If you are able to make a contribution to our Stand Up & Deliver program, please click here to donate.