Unification News for February 2005

Chicago MLK Day of Service

On January 17, 2005 a little under 100 volunteers honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by beautifying local elementary schools while finding beauty in one anotherıs diversity.

All participants of Chicago's MLK Day of Service met at Bass Elementary to clean up and beautify the school in order to give it "A New Look for the New Year."

Some of those present were volunteers from organizations and churches such as Bass elementary school, Kenwood Academy, Lincoln Park High School, Mt. Bethlehem M. B. Church (Rev. Larry Branch), New Calvary M. B. Church (Rev. Frank Morris), Chicago Family Church (Bishop Kihoon Kim), New Greater St. John M. B. Church (Rev. Leroy Elliott), and students from the Service for Peace club at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Rev. Branchıs church provided a large portion of our volunteers, bringing 25 children to participate in the dayıs event. Youth ministers in each church took initiative to involve their youth in this service-learning project. Volunteers from those ACLC churches were particularly serious and focused on the project. Our project took place at Bass Elementary School and Faulkner Elementary School (Rev. Thomas Jackson, principal)

In the Bass School, four teams were assigned the task of cleaning up the cafeteria, classrooms, windows and desks. They were armed with rags, sponges, and Windex to peel back the layers of buildup that had occurred over the years of service to the hundreds of students that the facility catered to each year. Two other teams were given the mission of painting one of the three murals that were to adorn the walls of the school. Each mural was painted in commemoration of Dr. Kingıs life and work. At Faulkner Elementary School, two teams tackled the jobs of giving the school a fresh spirit by painting the walls with the school colors.

Many attested to trying to persevere through their challenges such as maintaining focus on the tasks at hand in the manner that Dr. King maintained unwavering commitment to justice. One 15-year-old volunteer from Mt. Bethlehem M. B. Church, Alisha Ratcliff, acknowledged that "Šwe wouldnıt be where we are today if Dr. King Jr. hadnıt stood up for whatıs right without giving up."

Inspirational remarks were offered at the closing ceremony by Rev. Steve Nomura. Participants were reminded of the importance of service-work and teamwork and encouraged to host projects in their own community to follow up with the legacy of Dr. King. With the success of MLK Day of Service, everyone could gain a deeper connection and substantial understanding of the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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