On January 19th, SouthCoast Serves, GiftsToGive, volunteers, and middle school students made MLK Day a Day On instead of a Day Off!
Over 100 middle school students from Normandin, Roosevelt, Keith, Morton Middle Schools and Our Sisters' School joined together at Normandin for a teach-in about the life and times of MLK. La Soul Renaissance put together an amazing service for our youth around the power that youth have in these great movements of change. Spoken word poets and musicians created an enlivened environment followed by the documentary A Children's March. The students then created posters showcasing what they want to march for in the march from Normandin Middle School in New Bedford to GiftsToGive.
As the students marched for peace, change, and civil rights to the beat of a djembe played by Aaron Abrahamson Cote we saw residents coming out of their houses to watch and film the march and offer encouragement. Arriving at GiftsToGive, our students broke into service groups to process gently used items for homeless families and those in need. We ended the day with an award ceremony where Chancellor Divina Grossman of UMass Dartmouth and District Representative Hugh Dunn honored five students who completed the SouthCoast 60 Pledge to perform 60 hours of service in a year: Ally Toupin, Caitlin Borges, Braulio S. Ortega-Concepcion, Maryanne Rose, and John Ogunleye. Patrick Murray, President of the Bristol County Savings Bank, also recognized one incredible student, Nathan, for completing over 3,000 hours of community service with a Presidential Service Award. New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell was in attendance and spoke of the great service done at GiftsToGive and within New Bedford and he was joined by our new District Attorney of Bristol County Thomas Quinn. We ended with a closing prayer from Rev. David Lima and Miss New Bedford Teen Meighread Dandeneau performing a song.
A huge thank you to our volunteers acting as leaders from the UMass Dartmouth Track and Field Team, the UMass Dartmouth Women's Basketball Team, Bishop Stang High School, local AmeriCorps members, UMass Dartmouth students, New Bedford High School students,Global Learning Charter Public School, and City on a Hill Charter Public School. Without your help, the day would have not been a success!