We were proud to answer Dr. King’s question, “What are you doing for others?” by hosting three National Day of Service events in all three of our jurisdictions in Washington, DC, and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland. From knitting scarves for the homeless to picking up trash in their communities (and a bit of celebration, of course), our youth and guests spent the day honoring the memory of Dr. King and being catalysts of change in our uncertain world. Together with our partners and friends, we are pleased to share a recap of our 2017 MLK Day activities. For more photos of the events, please visit our Facebook page.
Our AmeriCorps teams in partnership with LAYC Community Schools and Starbucks took the lead in organizing events in Washington, DC and Prince George’s County. In Washington, 20 volunteers from Starbucks made nearly 1,000 hygiene kits for families in need. AmeriCorps members facilitated and led discussions focusing on race, culture, and building community. We are thankful for the presence and support of Starbucks District Manager Ryan Hudnall, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service Kim Mansaray, and Acting Director of the Corporation for National and Community Service Senior Corps Mikel L. Herrington.
“I had the privilege of attending the MLK activities yesterday hosted by the Latin American Youth Center. The AmeriCorps members were spot on in their facilitation of the activities. I am sure that LAYC continues to inspire many people, young and old alike. I know that I felt inspired and challenged to think expansively,” said National Community Service Senior Corps Mikel L. Herrington.
Our Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers’ (MMYC) AmeriCorps team hosted a day of service remembrance for 500 students, community members, and volunteers at Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland. The day kicked off with dance, music, video, and drum performances from middle schools Buck Lodge and William Wirt, and high schools Bladensburg, High Point, Northwestern, OLAS, and Fairmont Heights. Buck Lodge Principal Kenneth Nance delivered the final performance with a rap about his dream for Buck Loge. Attendees also heard inspirational words from guest speaker Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, Chief Executive Officer of Prince George’s County Public Schools who told our guests, “Let’s focus on building bridges, not walls.”
Guests then took part in five community service workshops supported by volunteers from Starbucks and the United Way of the National Capital Area: knitting scarves for the homeless, sorting socks for donation, learning about social media activism, and creating recycled art pieces.
In addition to Dr. Maxwell, Starbucks, the United Way of the National Capital Area, and Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), we are thankful for the presence of our partners and funders: Nora Morales, PGCPS Officer of Diversity, Latina/o Affairs; principals from William Wirt Middle School, Bladensburg High School; Sarah Kim, Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism Grant Coordinator; Mary’s Center; and Prince George’s County Fire Department.
In Montgomery County, Maryland our Full Circle Brotherhood program embodied what it means to be leaders in the community. They conducted a trash pick-up in their community of Northwest Park Apartments and helped remove countless bottles, food packaging, clothing, and debris from the woods surrounding the complex. They were so excited about volunteering that they divided into teams and competed for the most trash bags filled. They celebrated with a well-deserved pizza party. The best reward came from the members of the community who recognized and thanked the youth for their service.
Our MLK Day events focused on Dr. King’s legacy of service to others, and inspired us to continue the work ahead of us that remains unfinished.