In recognition of Dr. King’s legacy of service and his devotion to advancing equality and justice for all, Congress designated MLK Day as a federal holiday observed as a national day of service. MACC AmeriCorps*VISTAs participated in MLK Day of Service 2017 by engaging in meaningful volunteer opportunities and programming with their campuses and in their communities.
MLK Day MACC Member Highlights
- Bridgewater State University celebrated MLK Day with a community breakfast followed by activities including a children’s book discussion, writing letters to troops, making blessing bags for individuals experiencing homelessness, designing literacy tools for preschool children, and creating welcome home signs for families transitioning out of homelessness. MACC AmeriCorps*VISTAs joined BSU’s MLK Day of Service by supporting a community art activities for children and families at the Easton Children’s Museum, resulting in a large-scale project showcasing diversity and commemorating the life of Dr. King.
- Greenfield Community College hosted a celebration of the life of Dr. King, offering activities for children such as creating quilt squares, beading, and creating a timeline exploring the life of Dr. King, followed by birthday cake, lunch, and a performance by the GCC chorus. MACC AmeriCorps*VISTAs ran a button-making station at the event.
- Tufts University organized a Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium titled “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” The program included a group of Boston-based historians discussing our current political moment, a panel of Boston-based activists and politicians remarking on the movement ahead, and ended with a keynote speech from the Reverend Jennifer Bailey, founding executive director of the Faith Matters Network.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” MACC AmeriCorps*VISTAs reflect on this quote and their service activities.
“For my MLK day of service I was lucky to get to tie it directly to my host community partner. We had collected many feminine hygiene items earlier in the month for the holiday season to contribute to a local nonprofit that works to support and benefit women who have been affected by domestic violence. My organization, Brockton’s Promise, collected items at many of our partner sites so that the youth on our ‘Opportunities to Serve’ team could put together care packages with the items and then go with the local founder of Love Life Now Foundation, Inc. to distribute to packages to homeless women. We had an overflow of items, so for MLK day we decided to do another session of package making with our collected items. I will also attend an interfaith reflection on campus that will discuss with students how to engage post election with politics and service.
I think MLK’s quote about ‘life’s most persistent question’ has truly taken on a new meaning this year for me as a MACC VISTA. Understanding that you can devote your life and career to this work is an important revelation to arrive at, specifically as a person who has benefitted from higher education and has access to such opportunities. I’m excited to continue this work moving forward, and live a life of service in whatever form that takes.”
Sara Morris, MACC AmeriCorps*VISTA at Stonehill College in partnership with Brockton’s Promise
“What I did for others during the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was make greeting cards as a part of Lexington’s MLK Day of Service activities. This activity allowed me, and my mom and sister, to get creative and crafty – one of my favorite things to do – and create handmade greeting cards for underserved populations including veterans, hospitalized children and handicapped adults. Between me, my mom and my sister we created about 15 cards to go to people possibly in need of a smile, a kind word or an acknowledgement that they are recognized and appreciated.
While I was at the service site there were at least 40-50 people participating – including young children, teens and adults – all of whom made at least 5 cards themselves, if not more. This resulted in hundreds of handmade greeting cards being disseminated; hundreds of kind words delivered, along with hundreds of smiles on the faces of those who received the cards
In the current moment, spreading kindness to people who need it is something I am proud to say I do for others everyday as a Massachusetts Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA, but I was extremely cognizant and proud to spread kindness during the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.”
Michelle McGonagle, MACC AmeriCorps*VISTA at Framingham State University in partnership with the Framingham Housing Authority