MLK Day 2012

MLK Day 2012 was indeed “a day on, not a day off” for City Year New York. Our Civic Engagement team had been prepping three service sites over the last two weeks: PS 96, PS 7, and the NYCHA Wagner Houses. Yesterday, we saw those spaces truly transform.

Alumni volunteers wore emerald green colored ribbons in memory of Emerald.

We started the day off by holding a moment of silence in honor of Emerald Padilla, an alumna from City Year New York 2009-2010 who recently passed away. Thank you to her friends and family who came from North Carolina and all over to join us.

Six corps members then kicked off the event with powerful PT and “Why I Serve” statements. Ashante Parker, 18 years old, from New Orleans, LA who proudly serves on the PS/MS 57 team in East Harlem shared:

As long as there are children who feel like they are anything besides extraordinary, I hope to be the encouragement they need to reach beyond the now.

Our opening program included inspiring speakers such as Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, whose office we partnered with to  host the “Youth for Change” conference. When Ms. Mark-Viverito stepped to the podium, she challenged our corps to “…ask yourself when you wake up ‘Why do I serve?’ because we need you in schools everyday.”

Corps members Dixie DuRant and Christina Gomez join Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito as we head into service. PHOTO CREDIT: Batsheva Greenwood

Ms. Betty Lugo, the principal of PS 96, echoed Ms. Mark-Viverito’s remarks by stating, “It’s events like this that bring hope back into a school. It really does take a village.” And finally, Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez, climbed to the stage and encouraged volunteers, staff, and corps to serve others by stating, “We should all aspire to live up to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” 

After Opening Program, the sounds of service were heard over 3 blocks for 3 hours. Let’s take a look at the day by the numbers:

600+ volunteers from sponsors  Skadden, T-Mobile, Deloitte and Enterprise; members of our Advisory, Associate, and Alumni Boards; partners from Youth Build, Children’s Aid’s Society, Barnard College, Fordson High School; proud supporters and City Year Alumni; and our corps member’s family & friends.

78 youth participated in the “Youth for Change” conference and learned about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s workings through anti-violence workshops and discussions led by CYNY and facilitators from the office of Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. This conference’s goal was to encourage all to know their rights and understand how the power of youth can make a difference.

40 children participated in our Kids Service Program where they completed:

  • 100 decorated brown paper bags by children in our Youth Program benefiting Citymeals on Wheels
  • 70 care packages filled with handmade bracelets, coloring books and small panel murals made by children in our Youth Program for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • 5 “no-sew” blankets for Encore Community Services

35 total service projects where service volunteers completed:

  • 108 wall murals
  • 35 care packages for Senior Citizen’s at the Wagner Houses
  • 21 bookshelves
  • 18 benches
  • 15 cubbies
  • 14 garden planter beds and tables
  • 7 panel murals
  • 4 storage closets cleaned and reorganized
  • 2 offices re-painted
  • 1 kitchen and 1 community room painted

We asked some of our volunteers why they volunteered to serve and we were inspired by what they had to say:

We are excited to particpate in a program that lets us support the community in a way that is consistent with Dr. King’s dream that brings people of different backgrounds together. -Eric Friedman, Executive Partner of Skadden, Arps.

It is important to come back and serve. This event is unlike any other in that it gives alumni an opportunity to connect and network with the corps. -Trude Goodman, our current CYNY Alumni Board Chair and alumna from City Year Boston ’99

Thanks to all who supported and served on MLK Day 2012. To see more pictures from the day, check out our Flickr page here.

Photo credits: Tania Alonso, Batsheva Greenwood, Christopher Hamm, Jonathan Pomboza, and Sarah Shutt