MLK day of service: students can make a difference

Rivkah Moshe

Staff Writer

Broward College students woke up bright and early to volunteer for the MLK Day of Service on Jan. 14.

This year, Broward College participated with South Florida Chamber Ensemble in a program titled, “Can Dr. King Sing?”

Greeted with instruments, coloring packets and crayons, the students got to work and assisted with the program at the Gulfstream Early Learning Center.

What followed that moment was an interactive reading of a script where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was spoken about in detail and moments described with specific colors.

As the reading progressed, the VPK (Voluntary Pre Kindergarten) students eagerly anticipated for what color the object and/or person in their coloring packets would be.

“What color was the bus?” Myrna Meeroff, both an adjunct professor of music at Broward College and the Executive Director of the South Florida Chamber Ensemble asked after the children paid close attention to the volunteer reader’s previous words.

“Yellow!” They all shouted the answer with much enthusiasm and the yellow crayon already grasped between their fingers.

Broward College students sat with the group of kids, each volunteer at a table equipped with their own coloring packet and set of crayons. They encouraged the children to color and also participate in the questions.

As the children colored, the ensemble played different songs that represented America and the freedom attained with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Elsa Perez, a Broward College volunteer shared how she felt during the program.

“I enjoyed being around the younger generation, listening to music and coloring the MLK coloring page because I got to see what kids pay attention to and care about,” she said.

This program currently has three senior groups, four elementary schools, 5 VPK programs and one fully integrated VPK with a senior program.

Initially, the program started only with VPK students. Three years into the development of the program, elementary school students were added

The expansion continued with the addition of older adults two years ago.

This year is the first time the program is branching out to seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia as well as having secondary English speakers join.

The last question of the reading wasn’t something that the children could simply color in. There was a blank spot. They were asked to draw their dream down on the paper.

“So far in the 7 performances of Can Dr. King Sing? that we have done, we have gotten an amazing response,” said Meeroff.

“One 4-year-old drew herself as a doctor helping others be healthy, another drew a forest with trees and green grass hoping that the earth will still be around when she is older; one participant drew hearts all over her paper stating that all the world needs is love. I truly believe that children have the capacity to find solutions that seem to dog our government.”

Meeroff explained how this inspired the creation of the new program for middle and high school students called What’s UP? (When Humanitarian Activist Teens Speak Up).

The objective is to instill power to these students so that they can have their voices be heard and create an impact on America.

“Dr. King said that for America to be a great nation there must be equality, and that includes respecting the voices of our youngest population, they are sometimes wiser than their years,” she continued.

MLK Day of Service is a time to give back to the community and celebrate the legacy that is Dr. Martin Luther King.

As Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”

Join Broward College students at other volunteer opportunities by registering with Student Life at building 68.

Yuliana Espinosa, BC student, colors with children at the Gulfstream Early Learning Center.

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