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We Accomplished Something Tangible

by David B.

Yesterday was the Martin Luther King Day of Service - hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the country participated in service projects. Here is David's story.

I spent my MLK Day volunteering at Bruce Monroe Elementary School with Greater DC Cares. Armed with only barebones project details, I wasn’t quite sure how I would be serving. I did know that we would beautify the school. I was also fairly sure that paint brushes would be prominently involved. I was excited for the day.

I arrived at Bruce Monroe and immediately saw a local news van and a line of hundreds of people being rapidly signed in. I remember thinking, “wow, this is a big deal.” Once inside the school I noticed at least 15 volunteer leaders instructing volunteers about the day’s activities. People settled into the school’s auditorium for inspiring kick-off speeches by the Executive Director of Greater DC Cares, Congresswomen Matsui, Laysha Ward of Target (one of the co-sponsors of the event), and the principal of the school. We were also treated to MLK speech footage and a song about MLK performed by 8 school students. After the students sang, everyone was even more fired up to serve.

The volunteer leaders quickly broke us up into groups after the opening ceremony. Some people painted collegiate logos throughout the school hallways (to get students thinking about college). Others painted much needed basketball court and four square lines on the gymnasium floor. I helped with these projects and helped at least 50 volunteers paint the inside walls of an adjacent recreation center.

I think the best part of my day (besides the MLK song) was the feeling that we accomplished something tangible. After three hours of work, a recreation center looked transformed, a gym became more usable, and college dreams came to life. Most important, I felt that people (myself included) were inspired to make service a bigger part of our lives. It was an unbelievable day.

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