“We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.” – Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream*
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., millions of Americans joined their communities in a National Day of Service over the weekend which also happened to be a historical inaugural weekend in Washington, DC as well. In Boston, over 500 volunteers connected through service at the Curley School in Jamaica Plain in partnership with Boston Cares and Mass Service Alliance. The event provided an opportunity for citizens to come together and offer their gifts and talents to create hundreds of items for people in need such as fleece scarves and blankets, hand-made bears, hand-written storybooks, letters to troops, valentines for seniors, and much more. Taking part in the day in the service, co-leading the fleece scarves project with a very dear friend from college, I left inspired not just by the work we had done together but through the connections that were made through serving together.
The day of service truly illustrates how King’s dream is alive today, that “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” People from various backgrounds and walks of life joined the event on Monday and what I found most exciting was the conversations I shared with participants. There was a 10 year old boy at my table wearing a Boys and Girls Clubs of America sweatshirt and I asked him if he enjoyed spending time at the Club. He shared that his favorite part is the basketball and fieldtrip opportunities. In the midst of the excitement of the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, he took part in a fieldtrip just a few days prior to Gillette Stadium and met Bob Craft. When asked if he wanted to go to college, he told me he aspires to attend MIT, Brown, or Yale. Without a doubt, he sees and embraces opportunity.
The challenge leading the fleece scarf making was balancing the pre-cutting 4 foot by six inch pieces and the styling of the scarves with fringe. The pre-cutting was a little more involved of a process for the volunteers than the styling. It was great to watch families with older children take on the challenge of problem solving to cut a four foot straight line on black material without a guide to cut on. One father-daughter team nailed down a system right away and if I could’ve given a family award, it would have gone to them! It was also fun to watch families with young children help them use adult sized scissors to cut the fabric and make knots for styling the scarves with fringe. One creative mom did the cutting and knotting, working for her giggly twin five year old daughters who were the “Quality Assurance Managers” overseeing her missed knots!
Overall it was an incredibly inspiring and productive day and a wonderful experience to share in with the Greater Boston community, knowing many others across the country were taking part in similar acts of service!
“And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'”*