The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Jan. 20 marks the 25th anniversary of the federal holiday that encourages Americans to celebrate the civil rights leader’s life and legacy, but also volunteer in their communities.
Within the Cinnaminson School District, teachers and students have geared up for MLK Day all month. Teachers have sparked conversations within the classrooms and students from each grade have gathered donations, with each grade focusing on a different item.
But gathering donations and talking about MLK day is only part of the big day of service ensemble. Behind the leadership of District Character Foundation Facilitator Melissa DeClementi, Cinnaminson wants to make an even bigger impact in its newest tradition.
“I’m not a really big collecting money for a fundraiser type of person,” she admitted. “I really like to get the kids hands on and working. I felt like this day was the perfect opportunity to bring all of the schools together and work with the community.
“Anytime you can bring everyone together and everyone can work together, you can create a great thing.”
According to DeClementi, each grade is currently focused on gathering certain items, while each school has its own Day of Service project on top of the district-wide effort.
The items collected include toothbrushes from pre-K and kindergarten students, toothpaste from first graders, travel-size deodorant from second graders, coloring books and crayons from third graders, travel-size shampoo and conditioner for fourth graders, granola bars and energy bars from fifth graders and combs and brushes from sixth graders.
Other items are travel-size soap or body wash from seventh and eighth graders, individual snacks for grades nine and 10, Chapstick or lip balm for grade 11 and travel-size shampoo and conditioner for grade 12 students.
At the school level, the New Albany School will hold a children’s clothing drive for Mary’s Closest, the Eleanor Rush intermediate School will make blankets for Project Linus, the middle school will hold a sock collection and the high school will collect letters for military personnel.
All of the projects and gatherings will come together at the Cinnaminson Middle School gymnasium on Jan. 20, as students from all four schools gather to make Dignity Bags. The bags will comprise all items collected by the students, letters and additional items.
“We will show that when one person gives a little, the outcome can have a huge impact,” DeClementi noted.
All Cinnaminson families are invited to volunteer for the event. For planning purposes, visit
www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F4AAFA62EA0F85-mlkday1 to sign up and learn more information about the event.