City Year to spend MLK Day working in Little Rock

(KATV) Little Rock - Every year on the MLK Jr. Holiday, it's a day on, not a day off for the 2,000 City Year corps members across the country. Monday, January 21, local members were joined by students to fix up Martin Luther King Elementary in Little Rock.

It takes a village. City Year members spend one year volunteering full- time. They are assigned to a school for the year. Their goal is to be a positive influence and provide academic support to increase graduation numbers. But Monday was about honoring Dr. King's legacy.

It isn't just a holiday to spend relaxing at home, on this MLK Jr. Holiday; kids in Little Rock are giving back, making a difference.

Fifth grader, Shaketha Dixon says, "I'm really enjoying it. I think it is important to volunteer. I feel like volunteering is something good to do."

Kids volunteered to work side by side with City Year members to spruce up MLK Elementary. They repainted faded images on sidewalks, raked leafs, picked up trash, painted murals and inspirational quotes.

Fourth grader, Patricia Smith says, "I like helping people paint and it is very fun."

But for some beginners, the paint made it on more than the walls.

Fifteen Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students from J.A. Fair High School volunteered. It's a group that seeks community service opportunities. Their teacher Anna Kennedy says, "It also helps them in the future with their college applications and getting involved with giving back to the community."

Kennedy was surprised by the turn out of elementary and middle school students. She adds, "They actually outnumbered the adults which is great to see little ones giving back."

J Haycock has been a City Year member for five months now. Haycock says, "I think it's a testament to the power of service that we have."

Fourth grader Marshon Matthews took a break to swing on the playground. He knows when he returns to class, he can say he had a hand in beautifying his school. Matthews says, "I feel happy because I like seeing smiles on other people's faces."

Originally 100 students signed up, but at 8 a.m., 225 kids were waiting on assignments. A City Year spokesperson says it was a great problem to have, to figure out what to do with so many volunteers.

The service day is supported by the Clinton Foundation.

In 1994, Congress designated the King Holiday as a National Day of Service to transform his life teachings into community action.

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Young people taking part in the City Year program in Little Rock and North Little Rock are to spend the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday working with volunteers and community members.

City Year participants say the Monday holiday is an opportunity to commit to making a difference in their communities as a way to honor the slain civil rights leader's legacy.

About 100 volunteers will work painting murals and making other improvements at the campus of Martin Luther King Elementary School in Little Rock.

The Day of Service is supported by the Clinton Foundation.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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