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GO Celebrates Dr. King’s Legacy
On Monday, January 16th, GO Fellows from partner schools across the GO Fellowship program met for GO’s annual MLK Day of Service at Great Oaks Legacy Fairmount Middle School in Newark, NJ. MLK Day of Service is recognized by AmeriCorps as a defining moment each year when Americans across the country step up to make communities more equitable and take action to create the Beloved Community of Dr. King’s dream. To commemorate the day, Fellows participated in a series of service activities, including creating garden boxes for students to plant , and making blankets, sandwiches and toiletry kits for individuals served at the Covenant House in Newark, NJ. As AmeriCorps service members, this defining day allowed Fellows and staff to reflect on why we choose to serve while also fulfilling MLK Jr.’s legacy as an archetype of equality and service in our country’s history. Within his call to action, Dr. King believed that establishing community was possible but also enforced the need for systemic change – something that our Fellows strive towards everyday as they increase educational equity for our students.
We also were honored to welcome two keynote speakers who have dedicated their career to service. Shawn Dove, author of I Too Am America, and Mahi Maan, GO’s Portfolio Manager with AmeriCorps, shared moving accounts about their personal histories and the importance of service. The encouragement of their words resonated with our GO Fellows in attendance. In a notable moment, Shawn spoke to the Fellows’ power as leaders, “We are the iconic leaders that we have been waiting for, the curators of the change we are seeking to see.” The empowering words of Mahi Maan served as a call to action:“You have the opportunity to do whatever you want. Make sure you take that opportunity right now.”
In addition to service projects and keynote speaker presentations, Fellows had the opportunity to attend professional development sessions designed to support life after service. The sessions included a focus on leadership,relationship building, and life Beyond the Corps. Sessions ranged from Experiential Leadership–Turning Experience Into Skills, to Professions Rooted in Teaching, to Unleashing Your Potential. The effect of the event was felt by Fellows across the program and one shared the following sentiment, “This is the reset that I needed to get through the year that I really needed to get and wouldn’t have gotten if I didn’t come today. Thank you, I have my why and am excited to get back.”
As all of our GO Fellows have committed to national service by providing high-dosage tutoring, mentorship and enrichment opportunities to students at our partner schools, the day offered a time to pause and reflect on their service to date. Through our model, Fellows have proven their commitment to service in many ways which extend beyond the classroom. Our students have benefited tremendously from the dedication and service of our Fellows throughout the school year, and we were grateful to be able to welcome them together as one corps, in one place.