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A Child Shall Lead!

LEFT TO RIGHT – Sylvia Lewis-Grace, 6yrs & Legacy Lewis, 3yrs.

On Monday morning, I found a family friendly project to attend. It was the Children for Children/Youth Hands On Network’s Eighth Annual Grow Involved on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Event in New York City. The girls and I traveled to East Harlem to the P.S.57 James Weldon Johnson Leadership Academy. The same project was being held at the Martin Luther King High School as well and sponsored by the Citi Foundation.

Some of the projects included: Designing fleece scarves for the homeless, knitting blankets for infants, painting murals and assembling school supply kits as indicated on the website Children aged 6 and under participated in a special service feature called, ‘The Dream World.’ The entrance was decorated in such an inviting manner. The children crossed the threshold of service, passing through blue, white, and silver balloons, stars and silver metallic d├ęcor draped from the ceiling to the floor. The project was created as referenced to introduce the youngest volunteers in the experience of helping others. It kicks off a ‘semester of service,’ which culminates on National Youth Service Day in April.

By this point many had already crossed the threshold. ‘The Dream World’

More than 2,500 people were expected to have attended the day’s event. There were a lot of volunteers at this location. Many other service organizations and groups were present to assist. I ran into fellow City Year Inc. Alumni & other Americorps members, Girl Scouts, Day Care groups and Be The Match Marrow was there swapping for potential matches for a young lady in need. Literature about Kids Care Clubs Point of light Foundation was left for attendees as well. Kids Care Clubs Proving “Kid Power” Builds a Better World! It was also a service location for people that signed up for Disney's initiative to get people involved and a day at Disney.

Sylvia, a girl scout in Brooklyn showed her completed abstract art fleece scarf.

Before leaving, I was able to interview the Assistant Principal, Ms. Angela Camiolo. She helps to coordinate the event. “Originally we’ve been in partnership with Children for Children for five years and they collaborated with Hands on Network. They inspire and support us with our community service with the children, so it’s a really great partnership.”

I asked her how the school was able to mobilize the children to come out and participate. “Some of our children performed today; a notice was sent to all kids and its part of our middle school student’s community service hours,” she said. “We created a community service log and they can now log in these hours they’ve got by being here. It’s an additional service component we started because the chancellor said we need to bring community service down to middle school so we have 6, 7 & 8 graders and it’s a component we started this year with them.”

“Community service starts very young. You cannot wait to get through high school and that’s why I find it amazing that the chancellor said instead if waiting until high school for graduation component, you need it for middle school,” Ms. Camilio said. “When you see what a community needs and you step up and take action that’s leadership. So we’ve integrated community service with leadership.”

It was a good day. Be Blessed People of the World! Peace.


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