For City Year, MLK Day means a day of service

For City Year, MLK Day means a day of service

POSTED: Monday, January 21, 2013 - 4:30pm

UPDATED: Monday, January 21, 2013 - 4:34pm

City Year, a national organization that unites young people for a year of service in high-need urban schools, mobilized 70 staff and corps members and 200 local volunteers for a day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. City Year, an AmeriCorps organization, has operated in Baton Rouge schools since 2005. Traditionally, City Year celebrates King’s legacy by inviting community members to join a local service project.

Councilmember Donna Collins-Lewis, East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Member Evelyn Ware-Jackson, Capitol Middle Principal Viola Jackson, Capitol Middle Vice Principal Diana Atkinson and others joined City Year Baton Rouge’s 70 staff and corps members at Capitol Middle School, where an estimated 150 students and over 300 community volunteers participated in the MLK Day 2013 Youth Summit. Service partners included volunteer representation from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Capital One Bank, Episcopal School, JPMorgan Chase, Junior League of Baton Rouge, Mayor’s Youth Council, Starbucks, Walgreens, and Winn Dixie.

“I encourage everyone to not allow this to be your last day of service. You can serve no matter where it is,” said Councilmember, District 6 Donna Collins-Lewis. “The end result is the receiver can appreciate it and see the results”

150 students from Capitol Middle School, Broadmoor Middle School, Merrydale Elementary, and Belaire High School participated in service learning workshops led by City Year corps members and community volunteers. Students learned about the ideas of service, humanity, nonviolence, and community service through interactive activities and engaging discussions before then directly applying these ideas in service projects like planting trees, painting murals, and decorating tiles for a mosaic. Community volunteers also participated in the day by creating an outdoor classroom space, painting school spirit murals, and gardening.

Each City Year site honors Dr. King’s life and work by gathering volunteers, staff and corps members to spend a day giving back through various service projects. Today, volunteers in 24 cities around the country will join City Year staff and corps members to work with senior citizens, help in soup kitchens, paint schools, restore parks and run educational activities for children. In bringing together many different people, City Year keeps alive Dr. King’s message of service and tolerance and his dream of the “Beloved Community.”

“In 1988, City Year was founded on the belief that young people have the power to change the world. City Year Baton Rouge corps members model this principle every day through their work in 4 Baton Rouge schools and through our partnerships with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, the local Baton Rouge business community and Baton Rouge parents and teachers who have believed in us since day one,” said Laura Hamm, Executive Director of City Year Baton Rouge. “Martin Luther King Day allows us to share our passion for service by engaging volunteers to spend a day bettering their own community.”

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