On Monday, January 19th, I participated in City Year’s Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day of Service at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, DC. City Year, an AmeriCorps program with a 15-year history in the District, focuses efforts to improve graduation rates. The program has 158 volunteers working in 13 D.C. public schools, including some of the high schools with the highest dropout rates, as well as elementary and middle schools that feed into them.
As a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service to others, City Year considers MLK Day as a day ‘on’ not ‘off’. Each Martin Luther King Jr. Day, City Year mobilizes its 2,800 corps members and thousands more volunteers for a day of service in communities across the nation. In coordination with local partners, City Year AmeriCorps members and volunteers engage in service projects that include painting schools, beautifying neighborhoods and parks, serving in soup kitchens, supporting senior citizens, and running educational activities for children. [http://www.cityyear.org/dc/mlk]
Arriving at 8 am, I was happy to find that I was one of hundreds of volunteers, and City Year members were there to cheer us on every step of the way.
Participants immediately attended an opening ceremony, AKA a pep rally, featuring keynotes from DC’s Chief of Schools, John Davis, and DC’s newly elected mayor, Muriel Bowser.
Volunteers were given a variety of activities to choose, from picnic table construction, fleece blanket making, MLK Day Value Bracelet making, gym mural painting, safe sex kit assembly, military care kit assembly, SAT math flashcard creation and more. Along with a group of about 12 volunteers, I elected Leadership Actions Mural painting, which took place just two blocks away at Center City Public Charter School.
These murals were intended for the management and leadership offices of Center City PCS. There were quotes like, “Design, Develop and Deliver High Quality Professional Development” and “Lead Outcome Oriented Meetings with Clear Protocols.” We talked, painted, and sang Motown hits.
I met some really cool City Year volunteers and alumni, brushed up on my painting skills (pun intended), and hopefully, made a difference. I honestly can’t wait to participate next year!
Couldn’t attend the service day, but still want to support it? Make a donation to support City Year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service here: https://www.globalgiving.org/