Each year, LAYC’s AmeriCorps members commemorate Dr. King’s birthday by participating in a day of service. This year’s Service Day and the Happy Hats Project had two main objectives: build self-esteem for participants by teaching teamwork and job skills and provide encouragement to gravely ill children.

AmeriCorps member Brittney Cohvan noted, “Martin Luther King made it possible to come together for a project like this. It is because of him that we can sit with one another and work together.”

Happy Hats, a national project, creates a group process that results in handmade, soft, colorful, adjustable hats that are given to sick children. Studies show that happy patients heal faster—and that these charming hats actually have a positive impact on the recovery of young patients.

A hat is produced through a 12-step assembly process. Participants learn the overall process and take personal responsibility for executing one step, thereby building skills in areas such as cutting, sewing, and decorating.

Angelo Mark a 9th grade student at MacFarland was sure that “Martin Luther King would want us to do community service to learn.” Added Julio Benitez, an 8th grade student, “It is important for hospitalized kids to put on Happy Hats because it helps them feel better.”

To get involved in LAYC’s Happy Hats project, e-mail Karen Brumbaugh at karen@layc-dc.org

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