Arizona Serve submitted our final Service for Peace grant report for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service last week!
Here is what VISTA member Alison Carter had to say about her MLK Day experience in Tucson:
At 9:00 AM on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 20, 2014, myself and two other Arizona Serve VISTA members arrived at Arthur Pack Park in northwest Tucson, prepared to aid Tucson Clean and Beautiful in cleaning up and improving the park.
Tucson Clean and Beautiful is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization that is dedicated to environmental preservation and improvement in the Tucson community. It has programs in place to promote recycling, the planting of shade trees and the adoption and beautification of public parks in Tucson. It was a pleasure to be a part of their mission for the morning.
There were twenty-two of us in attendance—a mixture of VISTAS, American Red Cross AmeriCorps volunteers and dedicated members of the Tucson community, the youngest of which being an elementary school student devoting her day off to our cause.
A representative of Tucson Clean and Beautiful split us into two groups—one to do litter pick up and another to clear a walking trail. Amy, Michael and I volunteered to work on the trail, with Michael leading a group because of his experience working on a trail crew in the High Sierras.
Needless to say, this was not the High Sierras. Our work in clearing the trail consisted primarily of clearing rocks and brush from the trail and clipping back overhanging brush. It’s hard sometimes, while doing such simple manual labor, to connect with the benefit that one is bringing to the community.
However, Martin Luther King Jr. himself said at a March 1968 Memphis sanitation strike that “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” And every member of our crew (including our young student volunteer, doing swift work with a set of clippers), accomplished their tasks with such energy and efficiency that it was clear that they were working toward excellence. We finished the trail more than an hour ahead of schedule and it looked fantastic.
While we were only working for the morning to slightly better one park, the importance of improving public space cannot be underestimated. The work of Tucson Clean and Beautiful allows the people of Tucson to have beautiful, functional and environmentally efficient places to enjoy their city.
No work is insignificant. And it was humbling to come together on a day honoring a man who dedicated himself so completely to the betterment of humanity and work to better it just a little bit more.