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About Senior Corps 
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Hurricane Volunteer Support Fund
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Corporation is coordinating volunteers to assist with repair and relief efforts in areas affected by this devastating storm. Your donation will support volunteers in providing food and shelter, managing donations, helping victims get necessary assistance, and long-term rebuilding efforts.
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USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 13, 2005

CONTACT: Sandy Scott
Phone: 202-606-6724
Email: [email protected]

   

Martin Luther King Day 2005: A Day On, Not a Day Off

 

Americans Nationwide Honor Dr. King’s Legacy by Serving Others

(Washington D.C.) – For hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country, January 17 will be a day “on” for service—not just a day off from work—as they honor Martin Luther King Jr. by engaging in service activities for their communities and neighbors.

This year’s event marks the 10th anniversary of observing the King Holiday as a day of service. In 1994, Congress passed legislation encouraging Americans to celebrate the King Holiday as a day of service reflecting Dr. King’s life and teachings.

“Participation in the King Day of Service has grown steadily over the past decade, and we hope that this year will be the biggest ever,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Dr. King once said, ‘Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.’ On the King Holiday and every day, we hope all Americans will honor the legacy of this great leader by following his example to serve together to make a better nation.”

Hundreds of organizations are sponsoring events designed to remember King by performing volunteer service. Citizens in every state will join together to tutor children, build homes, clean parks, paint classrooms, deliver meals, and conduct other projects to benefit their communities. Many events will also incorporate reflections on Dr. King’s life.

A priority of this year’s King Day of Service is addressing the needs of the children of prisoners and ex-offenders re-entering society. Two years ago in his State of the Union Address, President Bush challenged Americans to help the 2 million children in America who have a mother or father in prison. These youth are at much greater risk to fail in life, but their chances at success are much higher if they have a caring adult mentor. The Religious Affairs Association of the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, with the help of a $150,000 grant from the Corporation, is sponsoring projects in dozens of cities across the country to recruit 10,000 mentors for children of prisoners and ex-offenders. Their recruitment drive starts on Justice Sunday, January 16, and continues through May. David Caprara, director of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Corporation, will be on hand for the flagship event in Philadelphia, which includes a visit by local clergy to the Cambria Correctional Facility.

A list of projects throughout the country, including contact information, is available at http://www.mlkday.org. Highlights of the day include:

  • The Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service will engage more than 45,000 volunteers in community service activities at over 600 service sites, including schools and community and faith-based organizations. The project will cover a seven-county service area in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Activities include training reading coaches, painting and renovating schools, MLK focused art activities for young children, distributing food at local food banks, and offering legal clinics at homeless shelters.
  • More than 500 neighborhood residents, community volunteers, and national service participants will paint and renovate six District of Columbia schools. Corporation CEO David Eisner will join neighborhood volunteers along with AmeriCorps*National Civilian Community Corps members, and participants from the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center, District of Columbia Youth Advisory Council, Howard University, and the Latin American Youth Center. The Best Buy Children’s Foundation is supporting the project.
  • Habitat for Humanity-NYC expects 150 volunteers to participate in renovating an apartment house in Harlem. The building will provide six affordable housing units when completed. Habitat is also hosting a conference, Building the Dream, Housing for All, focusing on the themes of affordable housing and environmental justice. AmeriCorps director Rosie Mauk will participate in the Habitat events. Building on the Dream, Habitat for Humanity’s program to mobilize churches, businesses, civic organizations, and others to partner with Habitat every third Monday in January is underway at more than 80 sites nationwide. Another New York City-based organization, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, expects more than 200 volunteers at a least a dozen sites throughout the five boroughs, for a serve-a-thon at soup kitchens and pantries.
  • The three-day The Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Summit in Atlanta, co-sponsored by Hands On Atlanta and the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, will engage 3,500 people in 100 service projects, many in schools. Saturday’s events, at Ebenezer Baptist Church, include a rally, interviews of Coretta Scott King and Kerry Kennedy by Tavis Smiley, and workshops on such topics as preventing gang violence. The Atlanta events and 16 other community events across the country are funded in part through a Corporation grant to the Hands on Network.
  • In Mississippi, the Quitman County Development Organization will honor King with service activities and programs to improve living conditions and strengthen community relationships. The activities will include: painting and cleaning the library in Sledge, Miss.; cleaning the town hall in Falcon, Miss.; making minor home repairs and cleaning the Community House in Marks, Miss.; cleaning the streets and gutters on Main Street in Lambert, Miss.; and painting the We Care Community Organization’s Adult Day Care Center in Crenshaw, Miss.
  • In Oakland, Calif., the service day will feature restoration work at the Martin Luther King shoreline, the first of seven restoration days and 14 classroom presentations in schools, most in underprivileged communities, over four months. The Oakland event is one of 12 that are receiving support from California State University, Fullerton Foundation, through the Corporation. To assist the grantees and other projects, the University’s Center for Internships and Service-Learning developed a service-learning curriculum guide about King that is available at http://campusapps.fullerton.edu/cisl/MLK%20Curriculum.htm.
  • The Urban League of Greater Madison, in Madison, Wis., will help a diverse group of about 500 middle and high school students will kick-off their commitment to service. The day will begin with an educational forum where, through peer-led workshops, students learn ideas for serving others in the spirit of Dr. King’s commitment to non-violent social change. Following the educational forum, youth will spread throughout the county where they will perform service projects that meet critical community needs.
  • Make A Difference and the Volunteer Center of Maricopa County, Ariz., will engage 300 volunteers in six projects throughout the Phoenix area. At each project site, an educational presentation on King’s life will be presented by storytellers affiliated with the South Mountain Community College Storytellers Institute. Volunteers will then glean citrus fruit for the hungry served by the Westside Food Bank, beautify the campus of the Glen L. Downs Elementary School, and create a diversity fair for homeless families, among other activities. The Arizona project is one of 51 supported by the Points of Light Foundation through a Corporation grant.
  • Several organizations in Great Falls, Montana, including the University of Great Falls AmeriCorps, RSVP, Foster Grandparents, and the YWCA will take part in activities including reading to local school children; serving lunch at the Great Falls Rescue Mission; stocking food at the Helping Hands Food Pantry; painting offices at the For the Children Coalition and sorting donated clothes; and visiting area nursing homes.
  • The Lewis-Clark Service Corps AmeriCorps members in Boise, Idaho, have invited 45 area high school students to spend the day learning about service, leadership, and diversity at the Boise Youth Service Summit. This event will include speakers, interactive workshops, lunch, a reflection session, and a community service project. The Summit will enable students to spend this holiday living out Dr. King’s message. Additionally, AmeriCorps members will remain in contact with the students to mentor them as they continue to serve the community throughout the year.

The Corporation for National and Community Service provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities and country through three programs: Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America. The Corporation programs engage Americans in meeting critical needs in education, the environment, public safety, homeland security, and other areas. Together with the USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to foster a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility and to help all Americans answer the President’s Call to Service. For more information, go to http://www.nationalservice.gov.

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