By Tosombra (Tai) Kimes
“Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t stop serving others until the day of his death and even after, to this day, he still encourages others to serve in spite of adversity. While it may seem small, picking up and pressing on with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service after it was postponed for a bad weather day, is a great feat for us,” says Alba Armenta, AmeriCorps VISTA member and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service project manager.
This is the fourth consecutive year that the Waynesville AmeriCorps VISTA has held a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event at Waynesville Middle School. Originally scheduled for Jan. 15, the event was rescheduled to Jan. 20.
“We are thankful for Waynesville Middle School principal, Mrs. Michelle Sumter, who worked diligently to ensure that we could come back today (Jan. 20) to host this event,” Armenta says. “We are also grateful for the 5th Engineer Battalion, 4thManeuver Enhancement Brigade, for providing soldiers to assist students with different service learning projects. Our theme this year is ‘Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve,’ and it fits perfectly.”
PFC Kyle Gregory, of 50th MRBC shares, “I am happy to be out here in the community helping and teaching the youth to give a helping hand.”
More than 800 WMDS students participated in a multitude of service learning and volunteer projects, including making oatmeal packets for Snack in a Pack, homemade dog biscuits for the Waynesville Animal Shelter and making homemade laundry soap and baby blankets for the Genesis House, Good Samaritan and Supporting All Lives Together (SALT).
“Giving back to the community is awesome,” says WMDS students Kendra Berentz and Shayleen Jackson.
Dr. Kim Hawk, community resource coordinator of the Waynesville R-VI School District says, “Today was about bringing the real world into the classroom and seeing students engage in indirect service learning projects. I am truly proud of the students, the soldiers of 5th Engineer Battalion, 4thManeuver Enhancement Brigade, the Waynesville R-VI School District, AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps Members for continuously answering what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described as life’s most persistent and urgent question, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Fort Leonard Wood soldiers and Waynesville Middle School students worked together to make a difference for others during the MLK Jr. Day of Service at Waynesville Middle School.
Fort Leonard Wood soldiers carried the packs for Snack in a Pack that were assembled during the day.Fort Leonard Wood soldiers and Waynesville Middle School students worked together to make a difference for others during the MLK Jr. Day of Service at Waynesville Middle School.