Each year, Friends’ Central honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by participating in hours of meaningful community service projects. This year, over 300 students, parents, and alumni/ae participated in MLK Day, making it a true “Day On” for the Friends’ Central community.
Thanks to efforts of FCS Lower School families, dozens of care packages of cleaning supplies and home goods were packed and donated to Families Forward Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization that gives counseling, protection, shelter, travel assistance, and housing to stranded travelers, newcomers, and homeless families. Donations of storage bins, brooms, buckets, mops, laundry and dish detergent, cleaning supplies, pots, pans, dishes, and cups were collected in the weeks leading up to and on MLK Day, with the focus being to aid families who are transitioning into permanent housing. While older Lower Schoolers were putting together care packages, youngest hands were working creatively, with one group painting peace rocks to create a labyrinth leading to a little lending library for the children at Families Forward Philadelphia, and another group was creating no-sew stroller blankets for the babies and toddlers at Families Forward Philadelphia.
In the Middle School, student, parent, and alumni/ae volunteers assembled over 600 lunches and toiletry bags for the Bethesda Project, a shelter that supports chronically homeless men and women. Toiletries were collected by Friends’ Central families in the weeks leading up to MLK Day, and each toiletry bag packed on the day of service contained full-sized toiletry items from soap to shampoo to toothbrushes and deodorant, aiding the Bethesda Project in the outstanding work they do to support the homeless in and around the Philadelphia area. Friends’ Central is proud to have partnered with the Bethesda Project for many years and looks forward to continuing that partnership in the future.
For the first time this year, Upper School students and parents spent MLK Day of Service working with Overbrook Educational Center (OEC), a K-8 public school that has the largest population of blind and visually impaired students in the Philadelphia public school system. FCS Upper School families created school banners celebrating Dr. King's legacy and reinforcing OEC's mission and goals, assembled care packages for residents of St. Barnabas, a local homeless shelter, reorganized the OEC school library, and beautified other areas of the school.
Though the activities that our students participated in varied, the impact of these service projects did not. Each child who donated time to help another in need added to the legacy of Dr. King, who encouraged all of us to look inside ourselves and help to make the world a more equitable, hopeful, and fair place for all. Taking a “Day On” to remember Dr. King and to remind ourselves of the purpose of service to others are hallmarks of Friends' Central School, and this year's MLK Day reminded us, once again, how important it is to give back!