While we were overjoyed to have been joined by so many volunteers from around the city during Dr. King’s Day of Service, we understand that only a small percentage of those that were there to see the reaction of the school the following day. Sitting down with City Year AmeriCorps team members from Gage Park, they provided insight into the lasting impact of the work that Chicago came together to make happen.
When classes resumed following Dr. King’s Day of Service, teachers took the time in class to engage their students and examined the link between Dr. King’s legacy, and the work that these volunteers did for them and their school. They explained that, while most of the country views Dr. King’s holiday as a day off, there are individuals that continue in his footsteps in a day ‘on’ of unity, remembrance, and service!
A teacher, known for having a favorite quote, was surprised to find that the Gage Park team planned for volunteers to paint it right outside of their class!
There were students from the high school that came out and volunteered with us, and they were glowing with pride on the following day – excitedly pointing out to classmates which projects they had been a part of. In one instance, a student was showing their masterpiece to an awed student, when another said, “If you think that’s cool, you should check out the boys locker room.”
Messi’s quote translates to; “Sure, the team makes me better. But without the help of my teammates, we have nothing, we win nothing. No titles, no awards, nothing.”
Couple that with His Airness staring you down? Quite the inspiration, if you ask us.
We can’t give enough thanks to all of the volunteers and partners that came out to work with us during Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day of Service. It was great watching students connect with alumni, and current corps members connecting with community volunteers, but the best part of the day isn’t something that can be seen as easily as these murals that line the halls. Each and every one of you taught these students the power of collective action, and the impact of that action is something that will be felt for years to come.