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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR 24TH ANNUAL MLK DAY OF SERVICE

01/11/17

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition (NBCC) encourage all community members to participate in the 24th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 16, which will feature volunteer service projects from 9 a.m. to noon.

Those who do not pre-register for a service project at http://berkshirenonprofits.com/ should sign in at 8:30 a.m. in the MCLA Church Street Center, where coffee, tea and light refreshments will be served. A welcome will take place at 9 a.m., before participants are directed to their on-site or off-site service assignments.

The day will include projects suitable for all ages and abilities.

MCLA students and local residents will choose from more than 10 sites to provide service to the community, including the Louison House, YMCA, Adams Youth Center, First Baptist Church in North Adams, Friendship Food Pantry, Goodwill Industries, Williamstown First Congregational Church, Habitat for Humanity and the DREAM Center.

In addition, a variety of projects will take place at the MCLA Church Street Center. They will include blanket and scarf making, plastic mat weaving, homeless families care box assembly and a discussion on race and diversity in the community.

All participants will convene at the MCLA Church Street Center at 12:30 p.m. to share a free lunch and community celebration. Entertainment be provided, and the program will include speakers North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, MCLA President James Birge, State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi (D-North Adams) and  State Sen. Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield).

As part of the program, the late Dr. Don Quinn Kelley, who strove for greater tolerance, understanding, caring and a better quality of life for those who live in Berkshire County, will be honored posthumously with this year’s MLK Peacemaker Award. The Annual Peacemaker Award will be presented during the afternoon. This year, it will be given posthumously to Berkshire County activist Dr. Don Quinn Kelley who strove for greater tolerance, understanding, caring and a better quality of life for those in Berkshire County.

Inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr., Kelley was passionate about social justice as well as empowering local youth to pursue higher education. He co-chaired Lift Ev’ry Voice, a summer festival celebrating the rich traditions of the African-American community, arts and culture, history and heritage found within Berkshire County.

According to Michael Obasohan, MCLA’s new assistant director of the Multicultural Education Resource Center and Programming, this annual event is “a day on, not a day off,” as participants give back to the community and do good works for others.

“It has been great working with the MLK Day of Service Committee,” Obasohan said. “In a short amount of time I’ve seen how the residents of North Adams really care about this community.”

Volunteers can pre-register at Berkshirenonprofits.com to ensure their preference for a service project. Groups who wish to volunteer together should register and sign-up with their choice of service project with the name of the group and names of all group members.

The 24th Annual MLK Day of Service is co-sponsored by NBCC and MCLA, and is supported annually by hundreds of MCLA students, faculty, staff, clubs and organizations, including the Trailblazer basketball and other teams of student-athletes, and the MCLA Center for Service and Citizenship. ARAMARK is providing food donations.

For more information, contact Obasohan at M.Obasohan@mcla.edu; or Spencer Moser, director of the MCLA Center for Service and Citizenship, 413-662-5440 or Spencer.Moser@mcla.edu.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

For more information, go to http://www.mcla.edu/.