Written by Jacob Leis, AmeriCorps Member serving on the Boo Grigsby Foundation Team at Celerity Crestworth School

For City Year Baton Rouge, MLK Day is a day to meet before dawn to prepare for a day of work. It is a day to paint gorgeous murals, clean the streets, and provide for our community in the best we can give: service.

The most frequent sentence I heard at today’s event was “Man, look at all these people,” spoken with various tones ranging from impressed to annoyed. Whether or not you are partial to large crowds, it is ultimately a reassuring sign. It proves that there are so many people around who are willing to sacrifice this day to give to others. And the proof is in the work we all created, almost a dozen different murals were completed in a matter of hours due to the size of the work body. The impact of Dr. King’s teachings still holds true, and it’s influence motivated people all over this country to improve their communities.

We honor Dr. King not only because of the political change he ignited with his activism and bravery, we remember him because his lessons had as much impact fifty years ago as they do today. They drive City Year’s values of spirit, discipline, purpose, and pride. They drive us to work long hours helping the children of our communities and others, hoping they will improve upon the world which we leave. They drive us through challenges and to success, providing for all those who provided for us on our journey. 

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. 

You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” 
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The spirit of service also moves a young man I met a year ago named Stephen Spaloss, who works with the City Year program in Boston.”
-Bill Clinton

“Man, there’s a ton of people here.”
-Everyone who served today

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