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‘Make a Difference Award’ Winners Celebrated

On Thanksgiving, Taqueria Habanero had turkey sizzling on the grill along with the family-owned restaurant’s usual selection of taco meats. The College Park business provided a free meal to more than 60 guests on the holiday, part of Taqueria Habanero’s commitment to serve the community.

UMD’s Office of Community Engagement (OCE) honored Taqueria Habanero and seven other community and university partners last night during its annual Making a Difference Awards ceremony. Each year, the event celebrates volunteers, champions, supporters and partners for their goodwill, time, commitment and energy in making a difference in the community.

“This event highlights the importance of being involved by energizing people to participate in a movement of making connections and addressing social justice,” said Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, director of OCE.

The 2019 “Making A Difference” awardees were:

Teresa Gardner-Williams, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (Community Partner): She manages volunteer registration for Good Neighbor Day, an annual day of service to beautify College Park, and has served as a planning committee member since 2012.

Taqueria Habanero (Community Business): Management of the year-old restaurant has provided generous monetary and in-kind donations to programs that serve College Park and UMD students.

Rotary Club of College Park (Community Organization): Members have sponsored tutoring and mentoring programs, donation drives and large-scale community initiatives.

Edgar Moctezuma, Senior Lecturer in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics (Faculty of the Year): He participated in several career day presentations at Prince George’s County Public Schools and the 2019 Hispanic Festival and College Park Day.

Alan Sactor, Assistant Director of the Office of the Fire Marshal (Staff of the Year): Due to his partnership, the food drive on Good Neighbor Day has consistently collected 3,000 pounds of food. He also serves as a member of the planning committee.

Phi Kappa Psi (Student Group of the Year): Fraternity brothers made up more than a third of team leaders at Good Neighbor Day in 2019.

Graduate Studies in Interpretation and Translation (Department of the Year): It partners with OCE’s Terps Translate initiative, which provides free translation and interpretation services to local nonprofits and community organizations.

Sarah Marston, Director of Communications, Office of International Affairs (Media Award): She designed and managed the Year of Immigration communications campaign highlighting urgent issues related to immigration, global migration and refugees.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.