Montgomery County looks quite different in various parts of its nearly 1,300 square kilometers. "The north end of the county is farms. It's a rural part of the county, although the housing is being built farther and farther north, and filling up," explains one resident. "But in the southern end of the county, it's very urban, very much like the city of Washington, D.C."
Because of that, Montgomery County has its share of big city problems such as crime, traffic and development sprawl.
But most residents, regardless of the house and neighborhood they live in, want public safety, a good education for their children and the opportunity to make their lives better.
People have moved to Montgomery County from all over the world, bringing their languages, cultures and faiths with them.
Another county resident puts it this way: "So many different faces!"
This international mix makes the county vibrant. It also makes including everyone an important goal.
The county has its own government, as do its towns and cities, such as Rockville. These local governments, not the federal government in Washington, provide schools, roads, public libraries and other things people use and need every day. These local governments make themselves accessible through public meetings, while area newspapers and TV cover the issues the county faces.
"People helping people," says one volunteer, explaining why he helps out. "That's what the word 'community' means."
Whether it is helping others directly or interacting with local governments on important issues, there is a lot of citizen activism in Montgomery County and the City of Rockville. In upcoming segments of this series, we will explore how people work together to make life better.
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