MLK Day 2014

In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, the generationOn Youth Advisory Council members are uniting with Americans across the country in January to complete service projects to honor the memory of Dr. King.

Each Youth Advisory Council member's project theme is "Uniting Around __________," filling in the blank with an issue area from their community.

Read about their amazing projects below.

And check out the YAC Service Projects page to see other great YAC projects!

Aulona Graham-Simms

Project: Uniting Around Ending Hunger

Issue Area: Military, Homelessness

 

  • Project Description

For MLK day, we're collaborating with GE Capital and the Key St. Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post to provide groceries and meals for at-risk individuals. Individuals who are considered at-risk are those who do not know where their next meal will come from. They may not have food at home or the means to purchase food. While the main focus will be to provide meal and groceries for veterans and their families, the event is meant to serve anyone in need of a meal. We're looking to serve about 100 individuals. Meals will be served first, then additional groceries will be distributed.

  • Community Need Addressed
    • Providing meals to people in immediate need 
    • Providing support for the veterans and their families and ensuring that they are not abandoned by their communities 
    • Giving people something to look forward too

 

  • Resources Needed
    • Paper plates 
    • Plastic utensils  
    • Food 
    • Trash bags 
    • Table cloths 
    • Plastic cups 
    • Aprons  
    • Gloves

Calla Gilson

Project: Uniting Around Hunger

Issue Area: Homelessness, Hunger

 

  • Project Description

The members and friends of a local school's Social Justice Alliance will be helping to prepare and serve an evening meal to inner-city hungry and homeless. Together, the group will join a local organization in their efforts to unite around hunger, in celebration of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Community Need Addressed

Having studied poverty for the past two months, the Social Justice Alliance is impassioned to get involved with the community.  By serving the hungry and homeless, we will be helping to alleviate suffering, while interacting with often over-looked members of the community.

  • Resources Needed
    • 30 minute orientation meeting presented by a director of the program during club meeting on
    • Permission slips for those under 18 
    • Carpool coordination 
    • Announcements inviting more volunteers

Cole Ettingoff 

Project: Uniting Around a Greener Community

Issue Area: Environment

 

  • Project Description

Students from around town will come together to plant 500 trees. After a local theme park was shut down, the site turned into an empty field, so a group of teens have come together to create something positive on this site.

  • Community Need Addressed

This project will create a beautiful, green space and bring together students from different backgrounds in a town that has been plagued by racial tension.

  • Resources Needed
  • 500 Seedlings 
  • Shovels 
  • Small PVC pipe cut in half (we stick it in the ground at the base of the seedling to prevent them from being mowed down as they grow)

Kelsey Leeper

Project: Uniting Around Those in Need

Issue Area: Health, Homelessness

 

  • Project Description

The high school will have a two week long class competition to help a local supply bank. Toiletry and basic items needed by the bank will be posted in classrooms and around the school. There will be a running tally poster in a main hallway so everyone will know how much has been raised. At the end of the drive, the winning classroom will receive a donut party from the leadership class.

  • Community Need Addressed

As the holiday season wraps up, the local help banks run out of supplies. With so many low-income and homeless families, the Other Bank helps provide necessary items such as toiletries. Having a supply drive will help the Bank to have a continued stock for all of the families in need, some of whom even have kids attending the school.

  • Resources Needed
  • Boxes  
  • Bags for final collection
  • Posters with requested items
  • Large poster with running tally of supplies brought in
  • Donuts/prize

Marc Berson

Project: Uniting Around Literacy

Issue Area: Literacy

 

  • Project Description

Students from Cafe Freedom, a student organization dedicated to mobilizing youth to engage in community-wide improvement, will set up donation areas in the community to collect gently used elementary-age books. We will advertise our project through several outlets including social media. Once we have finished the book collection, which will go on for about a week, we will sort through the books and make sure that they are in good condition and age appropriate. The books that are deemed acceptable will then be brought to Title 1 schools throughout the area.

  • Community Need Addressed

This project will help with the low literacy rate that plagues Hillsborough County.  At Title 1 schools, most students come from low socio-economic backgrounds. These children have a range of barriers to overcome to become proficient readers. The children typically have fewer books at home, more limited access to educational materials (books, computers, magazines), and may receive less encouragement to read. Therefore, one of the goals of this project is to be able to provide students with resources to foster their success.

  • Resources Needed
  • Boxes
  • Labels
  • Markers 
  • Books 
  • Flyers

Rachel Ley

Project: Uniting Around Literacy

Issue Area: Literacy

 

  • Project Description

We will be uniting around literacy!  Several literacy-related service activities will occur throughout the week.  Teens will assist in library programming for youth throughout the week, read in area classrooms, and assemble book packages to be delivered to a local hospital.

  • Community Need Addressed

Approximately one-third of 4th graders in Wisconsin read below "basic" level.  By assisting in several literacy programs in a local community throughout the week, hopefully we will be making a change and improving reading rates!

  • Resources Needed
    • Cellophane bags
    • Children's books 
    • Cards

Rachel Shuster

Project: Uniting Around a Village

Issue Area: Education, Youth

 

  • Project Description

Kids Care HHH Members (my local Kids Care Club) and the surrounding community will create a variety of crafts for children in an African village. They will make puzzles, bookmarks, games etc. After the project is completed, the items will be brought to the village by an outside organization that has a partnership there.

  • Community Need Addressed

This project will help ensure that children in an isolated area have some fun. The simple crafts created will serve as a tool to create happiness across the world and put a smile on the face of children who the volunteers have never met.

  • Resources Needed
    • Coloring tools (markers, crayons, etc)  
    • Construction paper  
    • Puzzle template  
    • Bookmark template

Ruchita Zaparde

Project: Uniting Around Nurturing Creativity

Issue Area: Education, Youth

 

  • Project Description

Students from two local schools will hold arts and crafts supply drives to gather supplies. These art materials will go to elementary schools suffering from budget cuts. Making flyers and posters, and/or making announcements to spread the word about the project will help with its impact. After a week or so, the collected supplies will be given to the schools with need for such materials.

  • Community Need Addressed

This drive aims to bring together youth in schools to help others in need, namely the younger children in the elementary schools with a need for craft supplies for art classes and other craft related activities. This drive will help ensure that these schools have all the necessary supplies to conduct successful classes. By hosting an arts and crafts supplies drive, teens can aid other, less fortunate children who need materials to help them learn to think creatively and imaginatively.

  • Resources Needed
    • Boxes 
    • Colorful paper to decorate boxes 
    • Tape 
    • Flyers 
    • Posters

Tharon Truillo

Project: Uniting Around Inspired Innovation

Issue Area: Education, Youth

 

  • Project Description

This project involves innovation to inspire students to do what they believe in and to follow their dreams. We will provide a 35-minute interactive presentation to the students to provide them with the tools to become successful. We will discuss a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) project and the process of taking an invention from an idea to a final product. The participants will be given an opportunity to ask questions/ make comments following the presentation. We hope this will inspire students to pursue their dreams and walk away with the tools necessary to realize their goals. 

  • Community Need Addressed

This project will equip participants with the tools and new skills necessary to follow their dreams and achieve their goals. A significant percentage of the likely participants indicated that they may not have the wherewithal to follow their dreams. We hope that the presentation will equip them to move forward with realizing their ideas. This project will help the community by creating more leaders and role models for our future.

  • Resources Needed
  • Transportation 
  • Paper  
  • Pens  
  • Pencils  
  • Laptop

Tiffani Alexander

Project: Uniting Around Humanity

Issue Area: Environment, Civic Action

 

  • Project Description

Several members of a leadership team, will volunteer with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. We will help build a house for a local low income family. Youth volunteers will help complete the general construction of the home.

  • Community Need Addressed

"Atlanta Habitat is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and to making adequate, affordable housing a matter of conscience and action." - Atlanta Habitat for Humanity Website. This project will not only provide a family with a quality home, but will also encourage home ownership and civic action.

  • Resources Needed

All tools will be provided by Atlanta Habitat for Humanity.

Tyler Bleuel

Project: Uniting Around Ending Hunger

Issue Area: Hunger

 

  • Project Description

Food collection bins will be set up throughout the local school.  Students from different clubs, teams, and grades will be challenged to see who can bring in the greatest amount of food.  Throughout the time of the drive, students will learn about the effects of hunger on the city. Also, a small group of students will visit a local community center weekly to cook meals with the kids there.

  • Community Need Addressed

New York City has a food insecurity rate of 14.7 percent, which is equivalent to over 2.8 million people and despite its being a well-known issue, it is often overlooked or ignored by those who are themselves secure.  As such, this project will help the community not only by donating food to those in need, but also by raising awareness within the community and bringing the issue to the forefront of people's minds. 

  • Resources Needed
    • Collection bins/boxes 
    • Flyers 
    • Ingredients to cook meals at the community center

MLK Day is a Day On Across the Country

Find out more about the national movement and get involved: http://mlkday.gov/index.php.

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