Dr. King honored through youth service

Local groups join forces to celebrate a dream
By T Martin

Despite bitter cold and icy streets and pavements, young people everywhere popped up in various locations to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader and activist.

And as Centro Pedro Claver’s Patience Still pointed out, anyone with questions about the dedication of Philadelphia School District teachers should have visited 7th and Venango Streets with Centro Claver and Marshall Street and Erie Avenue for Taylor School’s big paint project – both of which took place Monday, January 19th.

West Kensington Boys at Centro Corretjer
Program facilitator Carlos Rivera brought (left to right) Edwin, Randy, Samuel, Angel, Hector, Wilfredo, Dayton and Godwin to celebrate at Centro Juan Antonio Corretjer on January 19th.

Centro Claver hosted its 6th Annual Dr. King Breakfast at 9 AM that morning at neighboring community center El Centro Juan Antonio Corretjer, a number of young men from the West Kensington Boys Club in attendance, as promised by John Gonzalez at an earlier event with Centro Claver. Youths enjoyed an educational and cultural film about Dr. King, followed by stirring oratory by Luis Sanabria, who introduced Joaquin Rivera of “La Plena de Batay.”

Rivera, a dedicated community leader and accomplished musician, is also a teacher at Olney High School and pointed out similarities between Dr. King’s significance in American history to that of leaders of Puerto Rico and other nations in their struggles to overcome like oppressions.

Sanabria gave an open invitation to the Club either to have artist Danny Torres visit their Club or for the boys to visit Centro Corretjer for art classes and education on the real history and current status of Puerto Rico. It seems the last two collaborations between Centro Claver and the West Kensington Boys and Girls Club have spawned a relationship that can only help brighten the outlook for North Philadelphia teens and young adults.

Citizens Bank at Taylor School
Citizens Bank employees donated time at local Taylor Elementary School, located at Randolph Street and Erie Avenue. They concentrated their volunteer services in the school’s annex, located just two blocks away on Marshall Street.

In contrast, Taylor School boasted a host of young ladies from the neighborhood to help paint murals throughout the school’s annex, located at Marshall Street and Erie Avenue. Working with school personnel and staff from Citizens Bank, children completed several tile paintings in addition to dressing up the otherwise bland walls of the Taylor annex.

Taylor’s group worked as part of the 9th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. Their work involved painting and mounting tiles, in addition to painting murals on the walls along hallways and in the stairwells of the annex building. Young and old came out to volunteer in this project, and their reward was a free lunch provided in the school’s main building. They even culminated their work with a short presentation in which they, the audience, participated as well.

The Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service organization’s slogan is about making the observance of King’s birthday “a day on, not a day off.” The children, parents, teachers, leaders and neighbors that gave of their time January 19th to help make North Philadelphia a better educated and more beautifully decorated community truly perpetuated that concept in their holiday endeavors.