While scooping snacks into bags for local students in need, East Grand Rapids Middle School eighth-graders considered how their service was tied to Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic words: “Life’s most persistent and urgent message is: ‘What are you doing for others?’ ”
“Martin Luther King asked, ‘How much help have you done for the community?’ We are doing this,” said sixth-grade student Abigail Cronin, as she cut and tied fringe on fleece blankets for young people at The Bridge of Arbor Circle, a safe shelter program in Grand Rapids.
East Grand Rapids Middle School students marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a “Day On” for community service projects. The nationwide Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is an effort to honor King’s legacy by giving back.
Getting to Work
After a school-wide assembly and a 700-student silent march through the hallways, eighth-grade students got busy decorating bags and packing meals for Kids Food Basket, a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit organization that provides 6,000 local students per school day with bagged meals to bring home.
Seventh-grade students studied water filtration as part of their ongoing effort to raise money to purchase Hydraid BioSand Water Filters for children in Tanzania, Africa, through Global Sustainable Partnerships, a nonprofit organization founded by East Grand Rapids graduate Kimberly Fogg.
Middle School teacher Steve Brinks said the goal of the day was to encourage students to think about how they respond to diversity around them.
“That’s kind of living out the dream,” said Brinks, a member of the district’s Champions of Diversity Committee and the Middle School’s MLK Day Committee. This is one of two days tied to giving that students do annually. They also participate in many projects for the United Way Day of Caring in May.
Seventh-grade student Lukas Diehm and his friends Landen Green and Eric Haun have raised about $110 for the water-filter project.
“What Dr. King wanted people to do, was for everybody to contribute to a good cause,” Lukas said.