On Monday, January 18, nearly 1,000 volunteers joined City Year Chicago for a day of service at Kelly High School and Brighton Park Elementary School to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Chicago Public School students, other AmeriCorps programs like College Possible, corporate partners like Hyatt Hotels and the Chicago Sky, along with special guests Governor Bruce Rauner, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, and former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan braved arctic temperatures to make the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday a day on, not a day off.
“Martin Luther King, Jr. Day gives City Year the opportunity to actively reflect on Dr. King’s legacy and our commitment to service,” said Rebeca Nieves Huffman, Vice President and Executive Director of City Year Chicago. “By mobilizing volunteers for a day of service in his honor, together we can create a ripple effect throughout the community, uplifting the atmosphere of both Kelly High School and Brighton Park Elementary School. It makes positive contributions to students and their families, adding to the overall health of our community.”
Governor Bruce Rauner joined Huffman, and the 206 City Year AmeriCorps members at Kelly High School and Brighton Park Elementary School, where an estimated 1,000 volunteers helped transformed these educational spaces by painting classrooms, decorating the halls with murals and inspirational quotes and building benches to be placed on school grounds for students to enjoy.
“The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday presents the opportunity for the citizens of Illinois to reflect on the values of service and giving back to the community” said Governor Rauner. “The students of Kelly High School and Brighton Park Elementary truly deserve the support of so many volunteers, including the near peer City Year AmeriCorps members who serve students daily.”
Volunteers concluded the day by reflecting on the impact they had on the students of both Kelly High School and Brighton Park Elementary. Kendra G. of WGCI's Chicago Morning Takeover came out to thank the volunteers and City Year for their hard work and dedication. WGCI and iHeartMedia served as in-kind media community partners and media sponsor for the MLK Day of Service.
This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service shines a spotlight on service as a powerful force to bridge economic and social divides and to improve educational opportunities for students and communities nationwide. This rings true for this holiday and throughout the year, when national days of service can provide community members with an opportunity to join neighbors and local leaders to tackle community challenges.