Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life by Continuing his Commitment to Service

Today’s guest blogger is Cole Carothers. Cole serves with City Year New York on the National Grid 10th Grade team at Sheepshead Bay High School in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.


Dr. Martin Luther King’s inspiring words ring through America’s memory with powerful accord. He used his great writing and speaking abilities to paint realistic pictures of injustice while moving thousands to take action and right the wrongs they had experienced. Dr. King’s determination inspired an entire generation to make a difference but his work has never stopped there. On MLK Day, City Year New York celebrated Dr. King’s life by continuing his commitment to service. We gathered students and corps members at Sheepshead Bay High School on what is typically a day off, for a day on.

Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent questions is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” This quote speaks of the true meaning of service: uplifting others higher than yourself. I take this sentiment very personally because I had a mentor in high school who really helped steer me in the right direction. I accredit the very foundations of my current success to that relationship but what I value most about that relationship was that it was completely voluntary for my mentor; she didn’t have to be there, she wanted to be because she wanted to be there for me.

From the many corps members who volunteered in communities like Gerritsen Beach, the Far Rockaways and on the shores of Staten Island to the countless New Yorkers who reached out to help struggling neighbors rebuild, the spirit of service was strong in the days and weeks following Hurricane Sandy. Students and staff at Sheepshead Bay High School embarked on that same spirit of service when they volunteered on MLK Day to create beautiful murals, planter boxes, cold frames and benches that have already began to encourage learning and growth for the community at Sheepshead Bay High School and other areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

As City Year sites across the nation to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, the corps members and students at Sheepshead Bay High School embarked on a mission of teamwork to complete projects for the greater Brooklyn community. Through their work on MLK Day, a school campus has been renewed with the energy to continue driving with excellence.