Germantown Friends School hosted the 19th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service and Sharing and the Bristol Peace and Social Justice lecture on Monday, Jan.20,
GFS has participated in the national King Day of Service since its inception in 1996 and the GFS event has grown into one of the largest service sites in the area – approximately 500 volunteers participating in more than 30 service projects.
“The GFS MLK Day celebration stands out in that we bring together children, teens, teachers, staff, neighbors, students from many area schools as well as citizens from across Philadelphia,” said Kathy Paulmier, director of community involvement at GFS and head organizer of the GFS event.
The day began with the annual James and Dorothy Bristol Peace and Social Justice speaker Norman Bayard, dean of students at Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School and a GFS parent. He said, “When we are conceived the universe inscribes, with a golden pen, what we are supposed to do – our mission.” He encouraged everyone to follow that mission and live a life of service.
Instead of sleeping in, students and adults from GFS, Germantown and neighboring communities followed his advice. They picked up litter from the streets, made food for people in need at neighboring Holsey Temple, Whosoever Gospel Mission, Covenant House and St. Luke’s food pantry, delivered snacks, lunches and school supplies for John B. Kelly and John Wister Elementary Schools, sewed winter clothes for nearby shelters and even made catnip toys for Philadoptables.
“The day provides a wonderful learning experience, a community building opportunity and a chance to do something for someone outside of your usual circle,” Paulmier said. “People come out to remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s messages of social justice, racial equality and non-violent resolutions to conflicts – and to teach those lessons to their children.”