Mayor Nutter Presents Annual Citizenship Award
Area Students Unveil Civil Rights Mural
PHILADELPHIA, PA. – Organizers, sponsors, and community partners joined together today to announce plans for the upcoming 14th Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. Founder and director Todd Bernstein, who is also president of Global Citizen, announced that a national record 65,000 volunteers are expected to participate in more than 750 community service projects throughout the region on the Monday, January 19 King holiday. That represents an increase of some 5,000 volunteers from last year’s turnout.
The Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service includes projects throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Participants will include students of all ages from public, private, and parochial schools and colleges, senior citizens, members of community, religious civic and non-profit organizations, businesses, AmeriCorps members, elected officials and families.
The national King Day of Service was created in 1994 through federal legislation co-authored by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, both veterans of the civil rights movement with Dr. King. Last year's area King Day service event drew some 60,000 volunteers participating in nearly 600 service projects.
In a ceremony at the National Constitution Center, Bernstein announced that the King Day of Service would give special recognition to the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama, who is calling on Americans across the nation to volunteer on King Day. President-elect Obama, Vice-President Biden and their families will volunteer in a King Day of Service project in Washington, D.C.
“President-elect Obama has issued a new clarion call for active citizenship, beginning on King Day and continuing throughout the year” said Bernstein. “During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama said, ‘I will ask for your service and your active citizenship when I am president of the United States. This will not be a call issued in one speech or program; this will be a cause of my presidency.’” “On election night, he reinforced that commitment when he said. ‘So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.”’
Bernstein echoed President-elect Obama’s call by announcing Global Citizen’s new year-round initiative, MLK 365, which will promote sustainable civic engagement and connect volunteers with ongoing service opportunities.
A record forty-eight King Day of Service sponsors is led by Target. “Target is proud to support the 14th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service,” said Laysha Ward, president, community relations, Target. “As a company, we are dedicated to supporting and practicing Dr. King’s values of equality, respect, and service and continue to honor his memory through volunteerism and community giving.”
Joining Target as sponsors are Global Citizen, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, Temple University, Sunoco, Wachovia, AmeriChoice, a United Health Group Company, United Health Care, Comcast Foundation, AstraZeneca, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com, Brown’s Family ShopRite, League Collegiate Wear, Annie E. Casey Foundation, PNC, Citi, McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, School District of Philadelphia, ARAMARK, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Al-Aqsa Islamic Society, Cenero, Sneaker Villa, Garfield Refining, Saul Ewing LLP, Independence Blue Cross, Public Financial Management, Vanguard, Prudential, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, GlaxoSmithKline, Peachtree and Ward Catering, PECO Energy, New Courtland Elder Services, YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, HOPE worldwide, One Day at a Time, National Constitution Center, Pleasant News, PennSERVE: The Governor’s Office of Citizen Service, City Year, Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Salvation Army, American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania, High Point Café and Donegan Design.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter thanked everyone for making the Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service the country’s largest and a national model. He presented the 11th annual Harris Wofford Active Citizenship Award to the YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School.
“The YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School has spent fifteen years educating young peopleto reach their full potential as active citizens,” said Mayor Nutter. “Service-learning is a vital part of its successful curriculum. For many years, the school has been a leading participant in the King Day of Service, including this year’s assembling of new playground equipment, which will be installed at the Winchester Recreation Center.”
Previous award winners have been activist Sacaree Rhodes, One Day at a Time founder, Rev. Henry Wells, Al-Aqsa Islamic Academy and Perelman Jewish Day School, CityYear Greater Philadelphia, former United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania president Christine James Brown, the School District of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, National School and Community Corps, the Woodlynde School, and former CoreStates executive vice president, Jack Neary.
The area’s signature project will be at Temple University, where more than 3,000 volunteers are expected to serve in some one hundred projects.
“We are proud and honored to begin our year-long celebration of Temple University’s 125th anniversary by hosting the signature service project the 14th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service,” said Ann Weaver Hart, President of Temple University. “Community engagement is one of the fundamental principles for Temple. Our faculty, staff and students look forward to welcoming thousands from throughout the Greater Philadelphia region to Temple to join us in saluting Dr. King’s legacy.”
Highlighting the projects at Temple will be the YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, HOPE worldwide, and One Day at a Time leading volunteers assembling an environmentally-friendly, green playground, including picnic tables and park benches. The playground equipment will be installed near Temple University at the Winchester Recreation Center, located on 15th Street between York and Dauphin. After the King Day of Service, volunteers will create a community garden at the recreation center.
Brown’s ShopRite will present volunteers preparing hundreds of meals and pies with Peachtree and Ward Catering, which they will deliver on King Day to homeless people assembled outside the Municipal Service Building in a project organized by activist, Sacaree Rhodes. Brown’s ShopRite will also donate boxed lunches for all volunteers serving at Temple.
Students from the Al-Aqsa Islamic Academy and the Perelman Jewish Day School will volunteer together for the eighth straight year by preparing “dignity kits,’ which they will present to the homeless outside the Municipal Service Building. The kits will include basic toiletries and clothing. Students from Abington Friends School will also assemble and distribute Dignity Kits to the same group.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com will present the Digital Fellows program refurbishing computers. They will be presented to area young people, along with technical training in an effort to bridge the digital divide. Sunoco and the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania will present a coat, blanket, and food drive to benefit area non-profit organizations.
Global Citizen and the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition will present a MLK 365 Civic Engagement Expo, which will provide information on the mission and work of dozens of local community organizations and the opportunity for all volunteers to sign up to volunteer throughout the year.
A Health and Wellness Fair, presented by AmeriChoice and United Health Care, who are United Health Group Companies, will feature dozens of organizations providing expert advice, testing, and screening in areas including cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS, CPR training, nutrition, eating disorders and fitness.
Target will present a Kid’s Carnival for children ages of 5-12, which will feature a financial literacy project presented by Citi. Other projects willinclude story reading about Dr. King, IHaveA Dream mobile making, testing voting machines,science demonstrations, skits on Dr. King and civil rights, entertainment and more.
In an expanded effort to reach out to include children, the King Day of Service will make its coloring and activity book available to help kids learn about Dr. King’s ideals of civil rights and civic responsibilities. Wachovia will present the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program leading a civil rights mural coloring project.
The Free Library of Philadelphia will hold a library card registration and distribute bookmarkers with suggested readings on Dr. King for children and adults. The City Commissioner’s office will help future voters try out the first responsibility of citizenship in a demonstration of voting booths used in real elections.
A new program, One King Day, One King Book, will be launched on King Day to encourage children to read, write, and discuss essays about Martin’s Big Words, a children’s book about Dr. King. Children submitting essays will receive a King Day of Service certificate.
In a project presented by the Comcast Foundation, Philadelphia Reads will train volunteers to become ongoing reading coaches, who will then read with younger children about Dr. King's life and legacy. PNC will present the After School Activities Program (ASAP) chess mentors training.
There will be projects at dozens of Philadelphia public schools and hundreds of other schools throughout the region. Volunteers will beautify city recreation centers. The Philadelphia Fire Department is organizing neighborhood outreach projects on fire safety. Reading coaches and chess and scrabble mentors will be trained at area sites and Habitat for Humanity volunteers will renovate houses throughout the region. Other King Day volunteers will prepare food at homeless shelters and distribute meals to homebound seniors, organize health fairs and legal clinics, and perform plays about Dr. King and his principles of nonviolent social change and racial equality.
The news conference included the unveiling of a dramatic King Day of Service mural painted by students from eight-area public, private and parochial schools. The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program led the annual mural project, presented by Wachovia, in which each school created a 5’ x 6’ canvas mural interpreting a sentence in a 1957 sermon from Dr. King’s Strength to Love:
“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with the disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”
After completing the murals in December, the panels were attached to form a single, panoramic 48’ x 5’ mural. The mural will be on display January 19 at Temple’s Liacouras Center. Participating schools and Mural Arts Program artists who worked with the students are (from left to right on the mural):
- Duckery Elementary School, Philadelphia- Felix St Forte
- Burlington Township Middle School, Burlington County- Eliseo Art Silva
- Al-Asqa Islamic Academy, Philadelphia- Cathleen Hughes and Harvey Weinreich
- Conwell Egan High School, Bucks County- David McShane
- Perelman Jewish Day School/Saligman Middle School, Montgomery County- Parris Stancell
- Delaware Valley Friends School, Delaware County- Brad Carney
- A. Russell Knight Elementary School, Camden County- Eliseo Silva
- Woodlynde School, Chester County- James Burns
Wachovia will present a second Philadelphia Mural Arts Program project, with volunteers painting a mural reflecting the same Strength to Love theme as the students. The mural will be installed at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, where the Mural Arts Program has a longstanding relationship and teaches a mural program to inmates.
The 2009 King Day of Service is chaired by Senator Wofford, Jill Michal, president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Jayson Sutton, group assets protection team leader, Target, Reverend Ellis Washington, president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, Arlene Ackerman, superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, Leonard Barrack, board chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Charles Ramsey, commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, Lloyd Ayers, commissioner of the Philadelphia Fire Department, Reverend Bonnie Camarda, president of Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia, the Honorable Ida Chen, judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Tom Foley, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Governor Mark Schweiker, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Congress, Judge Nelson Diaz, former Philadelphia City Solicitor and Ann Weaver Hart, president of Temple University. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter serve as our honorary chairs. Global Citizen organizes the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service and MLK 365.
Anyone or group interested in volunteering or hosting a service project on January 19 should call the King Day of Service headquarters at 215-665-2475 or register at http://www.mlkdayofservice.org. Registered participants will receive a free King Day of Service T-shirt. All organizations or groups already planning to participate on January 19 are encouraged to contact the King Day of Service headquarters to register their project.
Organizations interested in becoming sponsors of the Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service and MLK 365 should contact Todd Bernstein at email@example.com or 215.242.9070.