Submitted by: Yanina Rivera, Arizona Serve AmeriCorps VISTA Team Leader
I had the pleasure of planning for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the Prescott area, with the support of a strong committee of very enthusiastic VISTA members, local service providers and educators. Together, we coordinated 16 different service projects in Prescott and Prescott Valley; 9 of which went on to support our local schools.
What a great day of service we had! The Day of of Service took place on January 21st, 2013. County Wide: over 661 community members contributed 2,230 hours of service with 22 different service projects; 9 of which were local schools. I was proud to see that over 531 volunteers were youth; which included children from pre-school through high school and students from Prescott College, Yavapai College and Embry Riddle.
The day’s events started off with registration, an opportunity fair for 40 Days of Peace, and a centralized Kickoff Celebration at Trinity Presbyterian Church. After volunteers registered for a variety of different service projects with local schools and non-profit organizations in Prescott and Prescott Valley, volunteers were able to learn about an assortment of different events taking place throughout the 40 Days of Peace that follows MLK Day. Not only was I really excited to get the opportunity to work with and support our local schools, but one of the biggest highlights of the event for me was the amount of youth participation.
A centralized Kickoff Celebration began at 11:00am to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King. The keynote address was given by elementary school students, members of an afterschool program called, “Kids & Company.” These students created a beautiful unity quilt, marched through the audience with their own artwork that represented peace, and proceeded to read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech.
I was so pleased to see such a diverse group of young children, teens, young adults, retirees and veterans who were so eager to serve on this day. I was even more satisfied to see a united group of people who put so much effort into supporting the needs of our community, built a stronger community, and worked together to fulfill Dr. King’s vision of , “A beloved community.” Thank you to everyone who helped to make the day a success. Our volunteers in this community are amazing and it was a joy!
Check out this great video from the day: