Tuesday, January 15, 2008

MLK 2008 - The Day's Activities

So, MLK Day 2008 is just around the corner.  The Gulf Coast has been designated as one of the expansion markets for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which means that CNCS is very supportive increasing the participation in the day of service.  Hmm, that's a lot of words, let's put it in a slogan.  "It's a day on, not a day off."  The idea behind the day of service is to get more people to volunteer, echoing Dr Martin Luther King, Jr's words:

 "Everyone can be great because everyone can serve."

With that as the basis for our day's activities, we began planning how to initiate the first MLK Day of Service.  Though there has been a Coast-wide celebration of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr for over 20 years, there hasn't been a day of service.  The planning for the event has had some challenges and bumps along the road, but in the end, I think we're going to have a solid program that dovetails the existing MLK celebrations and highlights another aspect of King's teachings.

What is our program?  We're going to help out where we can by supplying volunteers to some of the activities on the weekend sponsored by the Coast-wide celebration committee.  On Monday, the 21st, we'll march in the parade, marking the third year Hands On has had a float.

In the afternoon, beginning at 1pm, we will have service projects running.  Folks are encouraged to come out to work on volunteer service projects around East Biloxi ranging from painting a mural to working on a home rebuilding project to landscaping a resident's yard.

In addition to the physically active projects, we have a documentary film and panel-led discussion also beginning at 1pm.  The Beau Rivage has graciously offered space to show the film and entice folks with refreshments like cookies and coffee.  Yum.  Space is limited for both the film showing and the volunteer service projects, so folks on the Gulf Coast interested in participating should contact us via our office phone (228.257.6094) or via email (info@handsongulfcoast.org).  Let us know you're interested in the MLK Day of Service opportunities.

The day's events aren't limited to service projects and a film discussion.  No Hands On event would be complete without an activity in the park.  We have partnered with Clear Channel to bring a Day in the Park.  It's really just the afternoon because we want folks to support the Battle of the Bands that will be going on in Yankee Stadium.  Once that's done, though, folks should come to John Henry Beck Park to see what we have planned.  There will be activities for the youth that focus on Dr King and his message, as well as a youth talent show.  There will also be performances by Soul Patrol and the Zulu Men's Choir from New Orleans.

We're excited and looking forward to the Day.  Come join us!  Remember it's a Day On, not a Day Off.  And if you're not on the Gulf Coast, check out what's going on in your community and volunteer!

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