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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In just twelve days, tens of thousands of volunteers will participate in the 19th annual Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service.

And the focus this year is on education.

It was standing-room-only today in Founders Hall at Girard College for the kickoff to the upcoming King Day of Service, on January 20th.

To set the tone for this year’s theme, the Girard College lower school choir (top photo) performed, and students from six schools presented a panoramic mural celebrating the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision by the US Supreme Court, which desegregated public schools (below).

(A mural depicting the landmark "Brown v. Board of Education" school desegregation ruling.  Credit: Cherri Gregg)

(A mural depicting the landmark “Brown v. Board of Education” school desegregation ruling. Credit: Cherri Gregg)


“When the lives of our young people are at stake, we can do something,” said Todd Bernstein, founder of the King Day of Service.  He says that 125,000 volunteers will participate in more than 1,700 projects across the region.

And Bernstein says this year’s signature project will benefit Philadelphia public schools:

“A hundred volunteers led by the mayor and (schools superintendent) Dr. Hite, parents, students, people from the entire region will be collecting, assembling, sorting, and packing critically needed supplies for schools and computers and classrooms and library books, to be distributed to the most under-served schools.  There will also be college prep workshops.”



(MLK Day of Service founder Todd Bernstein, right, presents a t-shirt to Mayor Nutter.  Photo by Cherri Gregg)

(MLK Day of Service founder Todd Bernstein, right, presents a t-shirt to Mayor Nutter. Photo by Cherri Gregg)

Mayor Michael Nutter says the city itself is getting involved:

“Service projects will take place in dozens of Philadelphia public schools, in rec centers and in public housing,” he said.  “I expect that every agency will have some level of involvement in the King Day of Service.”

For the fifth year in a row, Girard College will serve as the headquarters for the day’s events, hosting 6,000 volunteers and 150 projects.   The third annual Jobs and Opportunities Job Fair is one of the main events,  and will give 500 potential employees an opportunity to interview with 20 employers.  Go to www.mlkdayofservice.org to register.

In addition, to close out the day, the Philadelphia Orchestra will perform its 24th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert at 1:30pm.  For tickets, which are free, go to www.philorch.org.

Bernstein says the Day of Service is looking for volunteers.  Go to mlkdayofservice.org or call 215-851-1811 for more information.


Follow Cherri Gregg on Twitter: @cherrigregg
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