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Taking a “Day On” for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

January 20, 2015

From joining community conversations with hundreds of leaders to sorting Mardi Gras beads for a nonprofit whose sales proceeds help save dogs from kill shelters, AmeriCorps Alums chapters made #MLKDay2015 a “Day On.” Check out a few of the great ways AmeriCorps members and alums honored Dr. King’s legacy through service and community dialogues with their local AmeriCorps Alums chapter.

Sorting Beads and Saving Puppies

AmeriCorps Alums New Orleans’ chapter joined Save-An-Angel (a local dog rescue) for a “Mardi Gras Bead Sorting Pawty.” Bead sales help save dogs from kill shelters and the streets while also contributing to funds supporting canine lymphoma research.

AmeriCorps Alums New Orleans chapter poses for a picture earlier this year and has a "bead pawty" for #MLKDay2015

AmeriCorps Alums New Orleans chapter poses for a picture earlier this year and has a “bead pawty” for #MLKDay2015

Securing Safety First, Then Dessert

After voluntering as fire safety canvassers, the North Texas (NTX) AmeriCorps Alums met for desserts and conversation at Joe’s Coffee Shop. Co-Chapter Leader and AmeriCorps Alums National Leadership Award winner, Lisa Tatum, shares how their conversation brought together alums from different generations, races, and faiths to talk about being a community ally, exploring modern-day civil rights challenges, and getting more people involved in service.

NTX AmeriCorps Alums volunteer and meet up later for dessert and conversation about community challenges.

NTX AmeriCorps Alums volunteer and meet up later for dessert and conversation about community challenges.

Getting from Donation to Distribution

Food, medical, and other donations are just the start of connecting people to the resources they need. That’s why two of our chapters volunteered to sort donations to ready them for distribution. Baltimore AmeriCorps Alums served with the Maryland Food Bank sorting and packing food to be sent to distribution centers around the state. In one morning, alums sorted several thousand pounds of food, helping to serve Maryland’s families in need. Similarly, the Des Moines Iowa chapter volunteered by sorting donations for Outreach Inc. whose mission is to provide safe water, food, medical care and education to those in need at home and abroad.

Left and bottom-right (Baltimore AmeriCorps Alums). Top-right: Des Moine Iowa AmeriCorps Alums

Left and bottom-right (Baltimore AmeriCorps Alums). Top-right: Des Moine Iowa AmeriCorps Alums

Teaming Up for Clean Streets

Keeping public spaces clean and safe is a team effort. Alums in Austin and the Bay Area both chose projects to improve community resources.

Austin AmeriCorps Alums joined United Way of Greater Austin’s Hands On Central Texas program, Austin Mayor Stephen Adler, and community volunteers for the 16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Clean Up in East Austin. AmeriCorps Alums were assigned their own section and worked together as a team to get things done!

Austin AmeriCorps Alums (left and right), and Austin Mayor Stephen Adler (center)

Austin AmeriCorps Alums (left and right), and Austin Mayor Stephen Adler (center)

In Oakland, our Bay Area AmeriCorps Alums, volunteered at the Gardens at Lake Merritt and joined in one of Oakland’s biggest MLK celebrations to hear speakers and spruce up the gardens.

Raking

Friending Trees, Brightening Communities

On Saturday, 23 Portland AmeriCorps Alums volunteered alongside 250 additional volunteers and neighborhood residents in Southeast Portland, Oregon, to help plant 300 new trees through Friends of Trees. Alums worked tirelessly all morning despite a rainstorm that made for a soggy morning.

Portland ch

Finding a Seat at the Table

Community dialogue is as much a part of Dr. King’s legacy as service. Two chapters helped honor that commitment to bringing people together by participating in community forums.

Bangor Maine AmeriCorps Alums gathered at an NAACP Martin Luther King Jr., Day breakfast. In Rhode Island, the Rhode Island AmeriCorps Alums chapter joined 300 AmeriCorps and community members for a Martin Luther King Day discussion. The forum was co-hosted by Serve Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Civil Rights Roundtable (a program of Rhode Island for Community and Justice). Cierra Putman, reporter for WJAR NBC10 and past Vice President of the Southern NE Black Journalists Association led a panel of community leaders and the audience in discussing how Michelle Alexander’s renowned book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” relates to the state, and most importantly, what individuals can do this year, together, to work toward solutions. Panelists provided insight, while participants joined small group discussions on the topics of employment, public safety, housing, mass incarceration, and education.

Left: Rhode Island event, Right: Bangor Maine AmeriCorps Alums

Left: Rhode Island event, Right: Bangor Maine AmeriCorps Alums

Building Homes and Opportunities

You need a strong home base to find your next opportunity. Denver AmeriCorps Alums served with Habitat for Humanity Denver to build houses.

AC Alums Denver with Habitat Denver.DenverACAlums

Painting with Tomorrow’s Civic Leaders

The DC AmeriCorps Alums volunteered with City Year AmeriCorps Members at Eastern High Schools. Alums came out early on a sunny day for an opening program with speakers such as CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. Alums then went to help with various painting projects at the nearby Eliot-Hine Middle School. It was the perfect way not only for Alums to show their renewed commitment to service but also to show support for DC Public School students at the start of 2015.

DC collage

City Year AmeriCorps members, DC alums, and volunteers finish an art project (left). On the right, is AmeriCorps Alums National Leadership Award Winner Major Rebecca Lange with fellow alum Gerald McFadden.

 

Did you serve and connect with AmeriCorps Alums on Martin Luther King Jr., Day? Join AmeriCorps Alums today and find ways to keep connecting with fellow alumni . 

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