.

Lessons from Martin Luther King's Life: 'Choosing Love Over Hatred'

For organizers of the free day of service event, Martin Luther King Day offered an opportunity for children to reflect on the lessons of the civil rights movement.

Volunteers and organizers at the Martin Luther King Day of Service in Oaklyn, NJ, reflect on their experiences. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.
Volunteers and organizers at the Martin Luther King Day of Service in Oaklyn, NJ, reflect on their experiences. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

Love is the overriding lesson to be learned from the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., said Oaklyn Baptist Youth Pastor Randy Van Osten.

"It's a choice that we have to make every day," Van Osten said. "In every action that we have, it's choosing love over hatred."

It can be hard to advance the lessons of the civil rights era for children born decades after its height, but community organizer Sara O'Brien tried to get them to contemplate the meaning of the day through arts activities and coordinated volunteer projects. 

O'Brien also led children in a mini "freedom march," from her space at Studio LuLoo to the Oaklyn Baptist Church, where Van Osten's youth group held a reception for volunteers to share their experiences.

Children performed songs and dances, watched video of King's famous speeches, and talked about their volunteer work that day.

Some helped at the food pantry at the church; others cleaned up nearby waterways with the Delaware Riverkeeper network. Still others lent their time and efforts to projects in Camden City.

The event, which was co-sponsored by O'Brien's Studio LuLoo and its neighboring businesses, Ovations Dance Studio and Philly’s Phatties Pizza Shop, exceeded its $850 fundraising goal—dollars O'Brien said were necessary to offset the cost of providing the day to children for free.

Next year, O'Brien said, she hopes to set a fundraising goal of $8,600, in honor of what would have been King's 86th birthday, with the intention of providing additional activity camps throughout the region.

For more coverage of the day, check out our user-submitted photos of their day of service activities and click the video above to hear from those who attended the event.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »