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Guest blogger Katie Whitehouse is a Project Leader at City Year DC.
During his lifetime, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sought to forge the common ground on which people from all walks of life could join together to address important community issues. Working alongside individuals of all ages, races, and backgrounds, Dr. King encouraged Americans to come together in service to strengthen communities, alleviate poverty, and foster dignity and respect for all human beings. Service, he realized, was the great equalizer. Dr. King believed that “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”
Today, City Year is celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy with thousands of other Americans across the country by serving in their community. We continue Dr. King’s work for justice and equality by making MLK Day “a day ON, not a day OFF.” Since the creation of the MLK federal holiday in 1983, Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, has asked Americans to commemorate Dr. King’s life with a day of service to others. And now President Barack Obama has called on all citizens to join in serving their own communities and renew today as a national day of service.
This year, on MLK Day, City Year is going to be serving with students, City Year alumni, family, friends, corporate employees, and community members at a middle school and an elementary school in northeast DC. This service project, sponsored by Corporate Executive Board, includes painting over 30 murals on the schools’ interior walls, building bookshelves for the libraries and benches for the courtyards, and making no-sew blankets and toiletry kits for homeless children who are transitioning between housing. With over 500 volunteers this will be an impactful day of service for the students at these two schools.
MLK Day is City Year’s largest and most popular service day and provides an opportunity for corps members to join with community and corporate volunteers, alumni, and community leaders to commemorate Dr. King’s life and further his life’s work.