We Have A Dream: How buildOn Students Served on MLK Day
Service is at the heart of everything we do. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
While many organizations honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by taking a day off, here at buildOn, we feel that the best way to honor Dr. King’s memory and push his vision forward is to spend the day in service to our communities.
For years now, all buildOn regions have engaged in transformative service events on MLK Day. And this year was no different! From Boston to Oakland, buildOn students served their neighbors in many different ways. But all the service days were united by the fact that they followed in the footsteps of Dr. King and helped push his vision of peace, solidarity, and justice forward.
“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In Boston, buildOn students and staff helped continue Dr. King’s legacy of political activism by writing letters to Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey in support of housing bills in Boston. Like many cities across the country, Boston is currently experiencing a housing crisis as housing costs rise throughout the city. buildOn students and their families are on the front lines of this crisis, and they all came together to help solve it.
In Bridgeport, buildOn students helped put together hand warming kits for the unhoused community in their city. Like many northern cities in the United States, winter can be a very dangerous time for people in Bridgeport without a reliable place to take shelter when the weather gets cold. By putting together packages with hand warmers and inspirational messages, Bridgeport students and staff continued Dr. King’s legacy of helping others and worked to ensure that their neighbors can keep their hands warm during the coldest months of the year.
In New York, students did a variety of service projects across the city. A number of them included serving meals and distributing fresh fruits and vegetables to senior New Yorkers in the Bronx and Manhattan. Students and staff also did service projects to help welcome new migrants to the city, a pressing issue that has attracted the attention of the nation at large. These service projects reflected Dr. King’s focus on international solidarity and belief in a shared humanity that transcends national borders.
In Detroit, Students and staff sorted, packed and distributed hats, socks, gloves, and PPE kits in the heart of Detroit’s East Side. Despite the bitter cold, buildOn Detroit helped make sure that their neighbors could keep warm all winter long. Like in Bridgeport, winter can be a very difficult time of year for unhoused folks in Detroit, and our students helped to make the season just a bit easier for them.
In Oakland, students helped clean up a local park, Jingletown. The park, which is stewarded by the community, is flanked by beautiful murals and mosaics. Students and staff helped remove invasive plants and replace them with native species–beautifying their neighborhood and improving their local environment.
From coast to coast, our U.S. students and staff are working to advance Martin Luther King’s life mission through service. Dr. King said it best: “The time is always right to do what is right.” and on MLK Day this year, buildOn students did what is right.
Will you support our transformational Service Learning Programs in the U.S.? Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.
Note: Chicago had a service day planned to help advance efforts to end gun violence in their city, but it unfortunately had to be canceled because of winter weather and extreme cold. However, our Chicago students continue to serve their community in so many incredible ways when the weather allows!