SCI Partners participate in MLK Day of Service events

While SCI headquarters was focused on making our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at Franklin Park a success (read more here), SCI AmeriCorps members at several of our partner organizations were concentrating their service on MLK Day events in their host communities. Multi-project, multi-organization events were held in Lynn and on the South Coast, while YLCs at the Boys & Girls Club of Woburn led their youth in activities and service projects to commemorate Dr. King’s birthday.

I stopped by Girls Inc. of Lynn on Monday afternoon to find a gymnasium bustling with service projects. Volunteers filled toolkits for homeless veterans and stuffed toiletry bags full of supplies for the Lynn Shelter Association. At another table, youth volunteers sewed homemade tote bags for the Lynn Shelter and Senior Center while, across the room, volunteers made valentines for seniors and veterans. Against a wall, immediately catching my eye, was a beautiful MLK mural (pictured), created and presented earlier by La Vida Scholars.

Other service projects were spread throughout Lynn, including several food drives at local supermarkets (organized by our partners at Lynn Youth Health Alliance, including SCI AmeriCorps member Christina Cannon), ice cream socials at Lynn nursing homes, a children’s painting program at the library, and a lunch for the homeless at My Brother’s Table, a Lynn soup kitchen. SCI AmeriCorps member Cam Ostrow (VOC at Girls Inc. of Lynn) informed me that over 200 volunteers registered for Lynn MLK Day.

Meanwhile, on the South Coast, another ambitious Day of Service was being held. Here’s a dispatch from SCI AmeriCorps member Ashley Nunez of SouthCoast Serves:

On January 19th, SouthCoast Serves, GiftsToGive, volunteers, and middle school students made MLK Day a Day On instead of a Day Off! Over 100 middle school students from Normandin, Roosevelt, Keith, Morton Middle Schools and Our Sisters' School joined together at Normandin for a teach-in about the life and times of MLK. La Soul Renaissance put together an amazing service for our youth around the power that youth have in these great movements of change. Spoken word poets and musicians created an enlivened environment followed by the documentary A Children's March. The students then created posters showcasing what they want to march for in the march from Normandin Middle School in New Bedford to GiftsToGive. As the students marched for peace, change, and civil rights to the beat of a djembe we saw residents coming out of their houses to watch and film the march and offer encouragement. Arriving at GiftsToGive, our students broke into service groups to process gently used items for homeless families and those in need. We ended the day with an award ceremony where Chancellor Divina Grossman of UMass Dartmouth and District Representative Hugh Dunn honored five students who completed the SouthCoast 60 Pledge to perform 60 hours of service in a year: Ally Toupin, Caitlin Borges, Braulio S. Ortega-Concepcion, Maryanne Rose, and John Ogunleye. Patrick Murray, President of the Bristol County Savings Bank, also recognized one incredible student, Nathan, for completing over 3,000 hours of community service with a Presidential Service Award.

Finally, at the Boys & Girls Club of Woburn, youth were led by SCI AmeriCorps members Jessica Collins and Cassie Walke in a series of MLK Day activities on Friday at stations throughout the club. In one activity, called "Pathway to Change,” kids were asked to trace their feet and write a way that they could change the world in a positive way. Then, they each completed the statement “I have a dream…” The kids also participated in art projects, including a “Peace Quilt” and “Painted Peace Signs,” in recognition of Dr. King’s commitment to non-violence. In addition to this interactive learning, and in celebration of the MLK National Day of Service, BGC youth also joined in two service activities: making paper flowers for elders at the Woburn Senior Center, and writing letters of support and encouragement to the NAACP.