In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, Monday served as a call to action for public service throughout the country. In the Northwest section of Philadelphia, nearly 1,000 students, community organizations and residents came out to Germantown High School Promise Academy’s day of service hosted by City Year of Philadelphia. Volunteers were busy painting murals, making blankets and writing letters to troops throughout the day.
Nearly 40 students from Lincoln University caught a bus to the school to participate. Vaughn Wright, a first year student at Lincoln said he was looking forward to “giving back to the community.”
Also in attendance were representatives from Temple University’s Jump Start Program and Yes Philly, along with Germantown High students, City Year corps members, GHS alumni and residents from the community.
Bank Of America, which is City Year’s national lead partner of its Young Heroes Program, provided over 100 volunteers for the event. Most of the volunteers were in the stairwells of the school painting paws to represent Germantown High’s mascot, a bear.
There were projects going on throughout the entire building. In the basement, the entrance to the cafeteria was crowded with young people painting healthy food images along the walls. Inside the cafeteria, participants traded the wall’s old blue color for green and yellow to match the school’s colors.
“Painting the school green helps restore the spirit within the school,” said City Year Alum Blossom Kaleo.
Also painted on the cafeteria walls were inspirational words such as spirit, purpose, faith and integrity.
“If I was still in high school and I saw these words everyday, I would feel motivated throughout the school year,” said Lincoln University student Monayia Morris.
Other murals in progress throughout the school were pictures of President Barack Obama and the first lady, Mahatma Gandhi, and various uplifting quotes.
On the upper level floor, students from Mastery Charter School’s Shoemaker campus helped to create blankets to send to Project Linus, an organization that provides blankets to children who are seriously ill.
At the end of the service day, volunteers were fed lunch and received a certificate of appreciation from GHS Principal Margaret Mullen.
“I am so happy to see so many people in attendance, it shows the students that they are the true leaders of today and that they are the ones who make a difference,” said Mullen.