*UPDATE* We Share A Dream!

UPDATE: January 20, 2014  WHAT AN AMAZING DAY!

MLKErik Andrade hit the ball out of the park, with the bases loaded!

Erik managed a “teach-in” for 300 students, lead the program and performed his poetry. Middle school students from Fall River, New Bedford, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Acushnet, Freetown-Lakeville, Westport, Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester concluded their teach-in and then joined together at noon and marched to the GiftsToGive mill where they volunteered and spent some time reflecting on what they had learned. Many students also pledged to sixty hours of on-going community service through SouthCoast Serves a UMD initiative.

The first annual New Bedford Children's March, January 20, 2014

The first annual SouthCoast Children’s March, January 20, 2014

If a picture is worth a thousand words – take a look at 634,000 words!

Standard Times Story

To call the day inspiring or amazing or hopeful are all accurate, but that does not come close to explaining the power of the possibilities these young people voiced, felt and shared with one another.

Jim Stevens, GiftsToGive’s CEO said – Today was an affirmation of positivity and of possibility. What is the power of students coming together to build a more caring community?

ORIGINAL POST: Sunday, January 5, 2014

This year, we are working with public middle schools in New Bedford, Fall River and Rochester to honor Dr. King with an all-day event.

On January 20th – we are open for the public – for our “MORNING SHIFT” only – 9am to Noon.

This year’s MLK Programming will reflect and focus on SouthCoast Middle School Student involvement. We are collaborating with University and High School students, who will be our Team Leaders. Team Leaders are from;  YouthBuild-New Bedford, UMD-SouthCoastServes,  New Bedford High School-National Honor Society and  Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School. They will lead several hundred – 6th , 7th and 8th grade students from local middle schools in New Bedford, Rochester, Fall River, Freetown-Lakeville, Dartmouth, Westport, Acushnet, Fairhaven, Marion and Mattapoisett.

We will be open for the public in the morning only, when the students are at a “Teach-In” at our neighborhood Roosevelt Middle School. After lunch, all students will leave the “teach-in” and “march” to the mill for an afternoon of service, service-learning and reflection.

snapshot_001The goal of the day is to honor the teachings of Dr. King and to remember the tragic deaths of the four children killed in the church bombing; Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair. We hope to motivate student participants to understand their role as citizens and future leaders and to make a commitment to community, education, diversity, justice and service.

Our agenda includes: a screening of the documentary film, “The Children’s March” expressing the story of children’s roles during the troubles in Birmingham in 1963-1964. A great movie, The Watson’s Go To Birmingham is available to view here. (86 minutes)

We will feature a keynote speech by YouthBuild New Bedford AmeriCorps graduate Marquis Cruz, a performance by National Spoken word artist Rudy Rudacious, along with performances by spoken word artist Leanne Neves, who delivers her inspirational rendition of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” address and Erik Andrade a talented poet and spoken word artist.

Rev. David Lima from the Inter-Church Council, Jim Stevens, CEO of GiftsToGive, Mayor Jon Mitchell, Dr.Pia Durkin, NBPS-District Superintendent and Dr. Divina Grossman, UMassDartmouth Chancellor will all speak VERY briefly.

GiftsToGive_NBHM_march17-2013_ 287-X2Students will reflect on each segment of the program and participate in a “march” from Roosevelt Middle School to GiftsToGive. Their afternoon of service will consist of the processing, organizing and repackaging of “gently-used” clothes, toys, books at the re-purposing center, transforming them into thousands of individual gift packages for distribution to local children in-need. Students will also be asked to commit to a SouthCoast Serves pledge for sixty-hours of service throughout the year.

On the SouthCoast over 3,000 children are homeless and over 30,000 live in poverty! We’re building a more caring community – together!

Jim Stevens, CEO and Founder of GiftsToGive had this to say – “Our MLK Day of Service is a powerful expression of Big Citizenship and Tangible Philanthropy by the youth of SouthCoast. We see no better way to honor the legacy of Dr. King than to spend the day learning about the very principles he embodied, then practicing those same principles in very tangible ways.

We are thankful for our partnerships with UMD-SouthCoast Serves, Youth-Build, Our Youth Team Leaders, Nelson Hockert-Lotz (Domino’s Pizza), Marquis Cruz, Rudy Rudacious, Leanne Neves, Erik Andrade, The GiftsToGive Volunteer Management Team, Chief Provencher and New Bedford’s Finest, The Public School Educators and the countless other volunteers who make this day so meaningful, memorable and a true service -learning experience for our children.”

Stevens went on to say – “We’re grateful to have the Bristol County Savings Bank as one of our on-going and significant underwriters. Their continued financial support has helped us to connect over 12,000 local students, each year, to giving and service. Bristol County Savings sponsors this event every year as well as our annual Great Pumpkin for Early Literacy Event each fall. For us, Bristol County Savings Bank truly exemplifies Corporate Citizenship, they inherently understand what it takes to build a more caring community.”

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