A Day ON, Not a Day OFF

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with a Day of Service

Hundreds of volunteers gathered at Boston Latin School on January 16, 2017 for a Day of Service. These volunteers chose to celebrate the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. by sacrificing their holiday to help youth in the Boston area and build a stronger community.

bostoncares_mlkday-81Boston Cares has organized a Day of Service on MLK Day since 2006. This year, 650 volunteers had the opportunity to create STEM education tools and 100 volunteers were able to build beds for children in need of their own. These STEM projects included robotics and engineering kits, math games and flashcards, as well as periodic table murals. These learning tools are a fun and interactive way of engaging children in learning Math, Science, and Engineering. The completed projects will be donated to Boston Public Schools as classroom teaching aids. Additionally, the Boston Cares Bed Project was able to launch their new twin bed design this year. All of the finished beds will be donated to our partner agencies serving lower-income families in the community.

bostoncares_mlkday-10The Boston Cares team had an early start on MLK Day, arriving at Boston Latin School at 6am to finish setting up for this exciting event. Volunteers began to arrive at 9am and the auditorium was quickly filled with enthusiastic chatter and people of all ages and backgrounds. Vanessa Welch of Fox 25 News kicked off the event followed by inspirational words of encouragement, gratitude, and plenty of Martin Luther King Jr. quotes spoken by Patrice Keegan, Superintendent Tommy Chang, and Mayor Martin Walsh. Afterwards volunteers were dismissed to create the project of their choice and the occasion swiftly transformed into a flurry of arts and crafts, upbeat music courtesy of AMP Radio, and positive vibes.

For many volunteers this was not their first MLK Day of Service. Lavette Coney has been giving back for the past 17 years. As a teacher at The Fessenden School, each year she gathers a group of students for a service opportunity on MLK Day. This was a common theme at Boston Latin on Monday. A lot of Boston youth attended the event with their families and friends. “I like that everyone is included and we can bring children”, says Kathy Lucas. She has been attending Boston Cares’ Day of Service with the Boston Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for the past 6 years, “I like that these projects are relevant and have meaning”, said Kathy. This sentiment was shared by Laura O’Brien, a volunteer with Target Corporation which has been a sponsor of the event for 7 years. While working on the Bed Project she felt that “creating something that will help a child in need is very impactful.”

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” Hundreds of volunteers responded to this question with their actions on Monday, January 16th. The impact they have made in the lives of Boston youth does not go unnoticed. In fact, multiple Boston news networks including FOX25, CBS, and WCVB stopped by to broadcast the positive influence Bostonians were making in their community on MLK Day. Thank you to everyone who made this Day of Service a success—with special recognition to our sponsors: Target, Office of the Mayor of Boston, Mass Service Alliance, Fox 25 News WFXT Boston, AMP Radio 103.3, Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Boston Public Schools.

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We hope to see you next year for A Day ON, Not a Day OFF!