COLLEGEVILLE – To honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., over 100 Perkiomen Valley High School students fanned out across the area and volunteered their time on Monday, Jan. 20, to support local farms, firehouses, the local library, the elderly and children in need.
Students served in a variety of ways for a number of different local organizations, which included:
·         My Green Crayon
o   Students peeled labels off of crayons to be recycled, crafted into new crayons, and sold to benefit clean water efforts
·         PV Post Prom Committee
o   Students assisted the PV Post Prom Committee in organizing its inventory of props and other items used for the high school’s post-prom party
·         Greener Partners/Longview Center for Agriculture
·         Students broke down field coverings for cabbage and other vegetable crops, collected branches and twigs pruned in the orchard, and helped with other related activities.
·         Trappe Fire Company
·         Students cleaned fire engines, protective equipment, and an ambulance, and also helped clean the floors of the fire station.
·         Cradles to Crayons
·         Students helped collect and sort coats and clothing that was donated to Cradles to Crayons. The collection brought in enough clothing to assist 250 children in need this winter.
·         Feel the Warmth
·         Students helped inspect coats and packed backpacks with school supplies for children in need.
·         Collegeville Fire Company
·         Students cleaned, learned about fire equipment and practiced with the gear.
·         Sebastian Riding Associates
·         Students raked the arena, cleaned tacks, stalls, buckets, and cleaned and filled water tanks for Sebastian, an organization that provides equine therapy to children and adults with disabilities.
·         Greenfield Senior Living
·         Students played games and made origami doves with residents.
·         Perkiomen Valley Library
·         Students scrubbed the library kitchen, inventoried kitchen items, and boxed books for shipping.
·         Parkhouse Nursing Home
·         Students visited with residents and made cards.
·         Keystone Grange #2
·         Students helped clean the facility
“Dr. King reminded us that one of life’s persistent questions is ‘What are you doing for others?’ Our students answered that question loud and clear by showing up at organizations throughout our area to assist with various projects on Jan. 20,” said Jessica Lester, Manager for School and Community Engagement, who worked alongside Patti Colucci, Graduation Project/Career Elective Coordinator, to organize this event. “Students were ready and willing to help out with whatever was needed – whether that meant getting covered in mud to help prepare fields at a local farm, taking on the time-consuming project of peeling labels off of crayons to be recycled, cleaning fire engines, or loading up large bags of donated clothing to be shipped off to children in need. Our students showed up on time and were ready to help with whatever was asked of them. We couldn’t be prouder of their efforts.”
Mrs. Lester also expressed appreciation to the numerous organizations that were willing to host or help guide students during Martin Luther King Day, especially the district’s transportation provider, Student Transportation of America (STA). STA donated a driver and bus on Jan. 20 to transport clothing donations to the Cradles to Crayons headquarters in Conshohocken.
“We are very thankful to STA for assisting us with our volunteer efforts,” said Mrs. Lester. “Their donation of time, fuel and a vehicle helped to make our second annual MLK Day of Service a real success. We are also appreciative of the many local organizations and volunteer groups who assisted our students and welcomed them onsite for the day. Without their partnership, we could not have provided so many volunteer opportunities to our students.”
The idea to organize a local Day of Service was inspired by similar events that take place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Philadelphia. Students helped come up with ideas for service activities and served as liaisons to the organizations involved. They also helped publicize the event. The hope in future years is to expand the effort and involve even more PV students and families.