Photos by Nathan Allen
AmeriCorps volunteer from Montpelier, Ken Benton paints with
Bill Martinez, an American Legion and Grace Church volunteer at The
Vermont Achievement Center in Rutland.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent
and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"
Martin Luther King's birthday has been a federal holiday since
1983 but it wasn't until 1994 that it became an official day of
service. In that year Congress designated King's birthday as the
only federally recognized day of community service and put the
Corporation for National and Community Service in charge of leading
and organizing volunteer efforts across the country. The idea
behind the designation was to properly honor the inspirational
civil rights leader who once said "Everybody can be great, because
anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to
serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve.
You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
Martin Luther King felt that selfless serving was the true path
towards strengthening communities and solving social
The Grace Congregational Church in Rutland was the headquarters for
several volunteer projects last Monday, Jan. 21. AmeriCorp leader
Melissa Schlobohm said "I am proud to honor Martin Luther King's
birthday with a day on, not a day off. When we set out to organize
this day of community service we really wanted to bring everyone to
a centralized location. Rutland is perfect because it has so many
active volunteer organizations. The Grace Church has also been a
About 70 AmeriCorp members from around the state participated in
service opportunities around the city. Volunteers collected food
from around the city and sorted it out at The Community Cupboard.
Over 800 items were collected during their efforts. Cleaning and
organizing projects were organized at The Dismas House and painting
projects were completed at the Vermont Achievement Center. Art
projects were created with children at The Boys and Girls Club and
the Women's Shelter. Other service sites were the United Methodist
Church, Mentor Connector and local nursing homes.