MLK Day event organizers seek volunteers, donations

Before a loose coalition of local nonprofits joined forces to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, several agencies organized their own events.

Six years ago, an AmeriCorps volunteer working for CALM Inc., a local mediation nonprofit, approached Guy Djoken, president of the local branch of the NAACP, and proposed a single MLK Day event.

“It was a success,” Djoken said.

On Jan. 16, the NAACP, along with CALM, UNESCO Center for Peace, Frederick County Public Schools, the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County and about five other agencies will host the annual MLK Day service event.

The event’s goal is best expressed in King’s notion that “anybody can be great because anybody can serve,” Djoken said.

“That’s the spirit we’re trying to emulate in our community,” he said.

Previously held at the Cultural Arts Center in Frederick, this year’s event is slated for the Bernard W. Brown Community Center on North Market Street and the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County on Burck Street.

Activities at both locations — most designed for children — will include a drum circle for peace, an international stamp project facilitated by local artist Yemi, and a project to make peanut butter sandwiches for the Frederick Rescue Mission, said Dawn Lucas, event organizer and AmeriCorps volunteer at CALM.

For adults, organizers are planning hands-on community service opportunities — including the possibility of volunteering at a home for the elderly, Lucas said.

Organizers are seeking event volunteers to serve as activities facilitators and to participate, she said, as well as donations of about $4,500 to help make the day’s events possible.

Events will begin at 9 a.m. with an official proclamation by city officials, Djoken said.

Barry Stanton, former county manager, will give the keynote address at the Brown Center.

Youth awards judged by participants will be given to local residents for their work on a multimedia project that reflects the reason for the day.

Participants will receive free breakfast and lunch. A potluck will follow the event, starting at 5 p.m. at the Brown Center, Djoken said.

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