By Jim Melwert, Jenn Bernstein
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – This Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is a day of service in the Philadelphia area.
Volunteers began showing up in the pre-dawn hours and organizers are expecting a record 110,000 of them across the region. At Girard College, they say about 4,000 people will give their time today, all part of the 18th annual Greater Philadelphia Day of Service.
Founder and director Todd Bernstein asks, what better way to teach of Doctor Martin Luther King?
“It’s really an opportunity to celebrate his legacy, a legacy of taking responsibility for the community. And I think young people need to know they have the power and self-confidence to make a difference these days, and it’s a really important thing that we try to stress.”
So much planned here at Girard College today, but the main focus here is bridging the digital divide.
“Forty-one percent of Philadelphia households don’t have access to the Internet,” Bernstein says. “And in this age where you need a computer to apply for a job, or to apply to a school, this is really an attempt to bridge the digital divide.”
Not only are they going to give netbook computers to 150 residents of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, they’re also going to set them up online, and teach them how to search for jobs, and how to fill out applications for those jobs, and also for schools.
Other stations at the event included workshops, a job fair, and activities for children.
“We have a kids carnival where young people can learn about Dr. King and his legacy,” said Bernstein, adding, “We also have a jobs fair with 500 job seekers choosing among 17 local employers.”
Organizers say the King Day of Service keeps Dr. King’s legacy alive.
So no school today for many kids, but that doesn’t mean they’re taking the day off.
One other note, this was such an important day for KYW Newsradio’s longtime community affairs reporter, the late Karin Phillips, who is greatly missed. The media workroom at Girard College, a busy place today, is named in her honor.