Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Together We Can" Team Charlotte's MLK Day of Service!!

Team Charlotte worked with Hyaets Inc. to have a successful MLK Day celebration. Hyaets is a small non profit organization based in the Enderly Park Community on the west side of Charlotte. This is an impoverished community, where the children deal with a struggle of violence and unity on a daily basis. The team members of Hyaets Inc. work to provide a safe place for the children of the neighborhood and to be good neighbors in the biblical terms.
For our day of service we really reached inside of ourselves to come up with a day focused on the great works of Dr. King. The day, entitled “Together we can”, was focused on two of King’s most popular teaching themes, unity and nonviolence. We had children from Enderly Park and from a local church’s youth group as our audience for the day, aged 3-18. We began at noon with a quick lunch prepared by none other than the lovely ladies of Team Charlotte and a few volunteers. The youth of the Hyaets community and of Park Road Baptist Church came together to learn more about the life and legacy of Dr. King. We began with a speech outlining the life of Dr. King. Next we moved to a game with quotes by King. This gave all participants the opportunity to really think about the things Kings said and how they are still relevant to all of our lives today. Our next activity was a puzzle activity that was all about unity and working together, the students LOVED it and they really understood the point of the activity.
In addition to all of that fun, we left the warmth of the building to brave the cold and be Guerrilla Gardeners in the Elderly Park community. We roamed the streets of the neighborhood with our shovels planting pansies at abandoned houses and lots also for some friendly neighbors who enjoyed our company. This was a huge success, the children had a wonderful time, and the whole team enjoyed themselves as well; there was even a student who had such a good time that she believed she had found her calling to be a gardener.
As we wrapped up our day we listened to the entire I have a Dream speech as we watched a slide about the Civil Rights Movement, with a concentration on the nonviolent protest that King lead. After viewing the slide, it was time to reflect, the floor was open for discussion about what we had seen and heard during the day. In the slide there was a photo of President Obama and during the discussion one of the students said “Tomorrow part of Martin Luther King’s dream is going to come true when Barack Obama becomes President”. Although this was a simple statement you could tell that many of them hadn’t made that connection before that moment. It was so wonderful!
We all enjoyed ourselves and each of us made a special connection with at least one child! My favorite part of the day was seeing each of my teammates just jump right in and give there all to each child and activity! It took a lot out of us but we really worked as a team and the day was a big success. Having Maggie there to share the day with us made it that much better. The whole experience made a lasting impression on Team Charlotte as a whole and I’m sure we touch a few kids’ lives.

Solita Jefferies
Team Charlotte

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