MLK Day of Service


In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. and his dedication to service, City Year Seattle/King County hosted our MLK Day of service at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Southeast Seattle.

On this national holiday, there weren’t any students in sight as I walked through the doors of the elementary school at 7:30am. Immediately, I was pulled aside to assist in some last minute touches before all 200 volunteers arrived. There were a few mural outlines that needed to be done, but as I walked through halls, I saw how much work had already gone into making the school much more vibrant and lively. After making sure things were set, I walked into the school cafeteria where there was a sea of red jackets ready to serve.

More outside volunteers started to arrive and I could only imagine how overwhelming we looked in our red jackets. With this in mind, I went around to some of these unfamiliar faces to ease any apprehensions they might have had in working alongside our already close-knit team of 89.

It wasn’t until someone mentioned “powergreeting” that I decided to stop my mingling and head outside to welcome our guests and volunteers with some high energy and cheeriness. Our powergreeting was filled with so much laughter, goofy dancing, and spirit that you couldn’t walk past us without smiling ear to ear! We even powergreeted Mayor Ed Murray!

From there, it was all fun with volunteers painting murals throughout the halls, mulching outside of the school, and City Year corps members facilitating various social justice workshops. The mural painting was most definitely my favorite part because they were representative of the school community and the cultures that make up the school population. I even found a Laos flag and HAD to take a photo with it! It was so great to see our community come together and take the time to create a new look and feel to reflect how great the school was. With the finished product, I was excited to see how the students would react to their “new school” the very next day.

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.