December 19, 2014 (Chester, PA) – The MLK Commemorative Committee of Chester & Vicinity has been the local organizing group for the MLK Day of Service in Chester for the past two decades, and for the past several years the theme has been ‘Pieces of Peace.’ On Jan. 19 the regional community is invited to participate in a much larger Day of Service than recent years with an increase of volunteer opportunities and family engagement activities planned for all ages to create more ‘Pieces’ for a city that continues its march towards Peace.
For this year’s Day of Service, education takes on a greater significance and opportunity to impact the youth of Chester due in large part to the growing partnership between the MLK Committee and the Chester-Upland School District (CUSD). Through meetings this past summer, a decision was reached to include all six of the CUSD schools as part of the 2015 Day of Service. The MLK Committee chose Chester High School (200 West 9th Street) as the host location for the family engagement activities, with all six schools serving as volunteer locations for those interested in helping with painting, mural creation, general maintenance, library organization, and bulletin board creation. Approximately 350 volunteer assignments are available through a pre-registration process for the six schools between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and hundreds of additional families can be accommodated within Chester High School between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. for family fun, with a service and community outreach focus.
In addition to the partnership growth with the CUSD, this overall event has grown in size due to two more key reasons. First, local organizations and businesses have increased their financial support and in-kind support in recent weeks. Specifically, financial sponsorship from Chester Drug Free Communities, Crozer-Keystone Health System, Chester Business Association, Rotary Club of Chester, Philadelphia Union, David Auto Group, and Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union have enabled the growth that is important for the community. In-kind sponsors also provide critical support that is vital to the 100% volunteer efforts of the MLK Committee. These in-kind sponsors include Widener University, Wallingford Community Arts Center, Unity Center, Inc., Yes We Can Achievement & Cultural Center, Swarthmore College, Chester-Upland School District, Crozer-Keystone, Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, Chester Water Authority, Coca-Cola, MLK 365, Mr. Scott the Music Man, Wawa and Indian Lane Elementary School. The second reason for event growth is due to the determination of the MLK Committee to create opportunities for the Chester community to come together in a collective way through Dr. King’s message. It is the intention of the MLK Committee to create and share additional opportunities for community outreach in 2015 and beyond.
At 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 19, the MLK Committee will host a special kickoff event in the auditorium of Chester High School to welcome everyone to the annual Day of Service and illustrate the importance of Dr. King’s message as a motivational tool for the volunteers and families in attendance. Everyone is invited to this thirty-minute event that will include a few musical performances, a special video presentation of Dr. King’s connection to Chester, and a reading of several Dr. King themed essays from CUSD students.
At approximately 9 a.m., the volunteers will report to their assignments at all six schools and the families will get engaged in service-related activities. These will include care package creation for families in need in Delaware County, the creation of peace flags to display outside of their home, the coloring of 2015 Day of Service t-shirts, letter writing to support our Veterans, the creation of braided dog toys for the Animal Coalition of Delaware County, additional arts and crafts, and exercise-focused entertainment courtesy of Mr. Scott the Music Man (www.mrscottmusicman.com). Families will also receive the additional benefit of having access to a health fair with 15 vendors that will include blood pressure screenings, community health education, and direct access to important local health services. For many of the volunteers assigned to one of the six schools, a shift change will occur at 10:45 a.m. which will enable the 1st shift of volunteers to still take part in these activities at Chester High School until 12:30 p.m. should they choose, and the 2nd shift can participate in the activities prior to their assignments.
For everyone that comes to Chester High School during the morning, the MLK Committee asks that you consider bringing an item to donate to Cradles to Crayons as a collection bin will be located next to the health fair inside the school. Cradles to Crayons accepts children’s clothing from infant to size 14/16, toys that are complete, baby equipment that is safe and sound (no cribs), and school supplies that are unopened. For more information on specific needs, visit www.cradlestocrayons.org.
Following these morning events, the Day of Service activities will move to the Crozer-Chester Medical Center at 1 p.m. for a ceremonial wreath-laying at Old Main where Dr. King studied at the Crozer Theological Seminary. The afternoon activities will conclude at Crozer with an event inside Clark Auditorium at 2 p.m. featuring a presentation from Rev. Dr. Willie E. Robinson of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Twin Oaks, Pa along with a performance from his church choir.
The following organizations and businesses are active members and friends of the MLK Commemorative Committee of Chester & Vicinity: Boys & Girls Club of Chester, Chester Drug Free Communities, Chester-Upland School District, City of Chester – Mayor’s Office, Crozer-Keystone, Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Chester, Swarthmore College, United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey, Unity Center, Inc., Upland Borough Council, Wallingford Community Arts Center, Widener University, and Yes We Can Achievement & Cultural Center.
For more information regarding the 2015 MLK Day of Service, contact Twyla Simpkins, Chair of the MLK Commemorative Committee of Chester & Vicinity, at firstname.lastname@example.org and (610) 876-2222 or visit www.facebook.com/mlkcommitteechesterandvicinity. If you are interested to pre-register for a volunteer assignment at one of the six CUSD schools, email Aubrey Proud at email@example.com.