“I was of service this weekend!” Kindergarten student, Cameron, joyfully reported to his teachers and classmates during Morning Meeting on Tuesday. I can’t think of a better statement to wrap up the accomplishments of the day. As a school, we were of service to many people this past Monday as we honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Joining forces with Stevens Cooperative School and Mustard Seed School for the Fifth Annual MLK Day of Service, our students, teachers and volunteer parents were able to make a difference in the lives of many people.
In addition to providing a way for our communities to come together to learn about Dr. King, we were able to make new friends from other schools and to work side-by-side to share our time, talent and treasure with others. Below is a list of our accomplishments for the day:
• The All Saints Café Drive leading up to the day yielded the following items to keep people warm this winter:
o 1,683 tea bags
o 244 servings of hot chocolate
o 70 pounds of coffee
o 22 pounds of sugar
• The Stevens Cooperative Sock Drive resulted in 172 pairs of socks
• The Mustard Seed School toiletries drive brought in 150 toothbrushes, 150 tubes of toothpaste, and 25 hand towels
• Nursery and Pre-K students decorated brown paper lunch bags using crayons and markers, and filled these bags with individual packets of parent-donated snacks, such as popcorn, chips, pretzels, and Pirate Booty. Together they made 83 bags! The abundance was not lost on the children. One student gleefully exclaimed, "We made eleven one thousand bags!" As Ms. Sejal shared, the statement aptly summed up their excitement and how big and important they felt their contribution to be!
• Students in Grades K-8 worked on a variety of projects, which resulted in the following:
o The Sandwich Squad made 130 bags lunches
o The Flower Power group made 12 decoupage vases and 60 paper
flowers to adorn the tables at the Homeless Shelter
o The Hope & Soap group packaged 96 individual servings of soap for
street dwelling people who take a shower at the Homeless Shelter
When asked why Martin Luther King Jr. was important, one Kindergarten student said, “Because of Martin Luther King Jr, we can all make more friends!" A Fourth Grade student shared that "It is important to help others today, because that is what Martin Luther King Jr. did.”
“Every year, when our schools come together to celebrate the service we completed, I feel assured that the world can indeed become a better place,” said Fourth Grade teacher, Ms. Nguyen, who has dedicated her time to running our after school Service Club for several years. “Seeing children from all different schools work together on a day when they could have been at home makes you realize that this next generation really does have the power to change the world.”
While all of the observations offered about the day were meaningful and on-point, one Middle School student demonstrated for me the heart and mind of an All Saints graduate. After spending the morning working at the shelter, the student said to his teacher, “There are so many homeless people in Hoboken and the shelter is so small. Is this something our school can help with?”
Insights and questions such as these are all the proof I need to know that Dr. King’s dream lives on for all of us to engage with and carry into the next generation.