Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday is a day that is appreciated by many because it is a day off from work or school. And for some it’s much needed following the hustle and bustle of the holidays. According to First Lady Michelle Obama and many other advocates, however, it is the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, which is the country’s largest day of civic engagement.
We at KEYS Service Corps agree and celebrate the life of Dr. King by performing service projects on that day of remembrance. When you think about it, this is what Dr. King would have wanted, right? I mean he was a man of the people, he inspired and he empowered.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” – Dr. Martin Luther King.
So…just what did KEYS members do to make a difference? I’m glad you asked. All 60 something of us met up at the Carnegie Library of Homestead (510 East Tenth Avenue, Munhall, PA 15120) to help the staff with some general maintenance and upkeep duties. After exchanging some greetings with muffins and juice in hand, we then set out to get things done!
First, we split up into four groups to:
- Clean the music hall,
- Apply a fresh coat of paint to the hallways nearest the pool, batting cages and the soon to be steam lab studio,
- Dust book shelves,
- Sterilize the Athletic Club weight room, gym floor, locker rooms & track
I jumped at the opportunity to be a member of the team that tackled the Athletic Club, and what an experience that was. I know how disappointed I am in people who use gym equipment, sweat on it for an hour and then just walk away. It’s disgusting! With that said, I know we did the library some service by wiping down every piece of equipment and machine in the facility. We also freshened up the track with a good mopping and cleared dust off all of the rails & banisters. In the locker rooms, patrons can feel better about stuffing their personal belongings in the rentals too!
One of the other great things we got to do while performing this service act was inform others about AmeriCorps. Since many people were working out at the Athletic Club, there were moments where people would ask – ‘Who are all of you?,’ ‘Why are you doing this?,’ and my favorite ‘Am I in your way?.’ This gave all of us a chance to really stress the importance of KEYS Service Corps and our mission to build up the communities we serve in. I’m one of five members who serve at a site in Homestead during the week. In fact, on Tuesdays my site (YouthWorks) provide afterschool programming for youth at Propel Andrew Street, who also venture over to the library other nights of the week.
In all, it was really cool to also see all of programs and services the Carnegie Library offered. If I can be honest, I never expected to see a workout room with that much equipment in it. It got me thinking about joining myself.
Yep, The Athletic Club @ the Carnegie Library of Homestead has no initial fee and no contract. A one-day pass is $10 for students and adults, while a monthly membership will cost you $35/$32. There is also the option to get a pool only membership for $28. (For more information or to see their hours of operation you can visit the Carnegie Library’s website at http://carnegieofhomestead.com.)
But, aside from learning about the club, it was great to know we were doing something good that would make an impact on others. All of the Carnegie Library staff was so appreciative of our hard work. And it makes sense. We, too, often have so much going on that we neglect little things like dusting stairwells or racks of books. A day like MLK Day of Service makes everyone just feel proud about the area they work in.
Hopefully after reading this you are now moved to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King with action next year. But, rather than waiting for that preset Monday in January, get up and do something now. You can visit www.pittsburghcares.org to find out where and how you can do get involved immediately.
It may seem like you are one person doing something small, but when we all get down and get our hands dirty it will inspire change!
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King