By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia is expected to have a record number of volunteers for this year’s “Martin Luther King Day of Service” event, coming up on January 21st, which is the federal MLK Day holiday.
At today’s kickoff announcement, Girard College president Clay Armbrister (at lectern in top photo) noted that the school’s founder, Stephen Girard, had a vision for reaching an unserved population. And that’s why, Armbrister says, Girard College will serve as the region’s signature project site: providing Internet access, training, and technology to public housing residents in the city.
“This is the perfect location for this important day,” he said.
Armbrister recalls the very first MLK Day of Service in 1996, during which his two children, now grown, helped then-mayor Ed Rendell clean a bathroom at Benjamin Franklin High School.
Day of Service founder and director Todd Bernstein recalled there were about 1,000 volunteers in the first one, 18 years ago, even though it was during an historic blizzard.
“Now, Philadelphia is the center of this growing national movement,” Bernstein (third from left in top photo) said today. “We expect another national record turnout of 110,000 volunteers and 1,500 projects.”
City managing director Rich Negrin shared one of his favorite quotes from Dr. King, uttered in the midst of the civil rights struggle:
” ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are we doing for others?’ “