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LMSD Hosts Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 'Afternoon of Service'

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID restrictions, the in-person version of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "Afternoon of Service" made a triumphant return to Lower Merion School District as hundreds of students, parents, staff and community members gathered in the Lower Merion High School cafeteria to celebrate the life and works of the late, great civil rights leader.

This annual event aims to reinforce the importance of helping and serving others, a foundational conviction shared by both Dr. King and LMSD, whose motto, which is literally carved in stone, is Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve. This initiative is also one of many organized by the District that strives to build belonging and foster safe, supportive and inclusive environments where everyone feels welcome. #LMSDBuildingBelonging

The cafeteria was jam-packed with volunteers from student, parent and community groups who organized an array of fun and engaging service-related activities for children of all ages.

  • The Gladwyne Home & School Association (HSA) collected and sorted toiletries and created cards for Broad St. Ministries, which provides access to life-sustaining services for 7,000+ individuals-in-need in Philadelphia each year.
  • The Merion HSA created animal toys for the Providence Animal Shelter and Morris Animal Refuge, a pair of animal welfare organizations committed to saving (animal) lives and finding positive and humane outcomes for animals-in-need.
  • The Welsh Valley HSA created Get Well cards and friendship bracelets for patients at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
  • The Penn Wynne HSA created cards to be distributed in the food boxes delivered by the Jewish Relief Agency (JRA), which serves more than 6,200 diverse, low-income individuals throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.
  • The Cynwyd HSA organized a clothing drive benefiting Mitzvah Circle and the Northlight Community Center, which provide critical services and resources to those-in-need.
  • The Belmont Hills HSA created Blizzard Bags full of emergency supplies of food and other important items for the elderly who receive services from the New Horizons Senior Center.
  • Volunteers from Black Rock Middle School put together Care Kits for the homeless, which contain a variety of toiletries, food items and more that would be of great help to those living on the margins.
  • Harriton had several groups on hand, including Student Council, which put together Valentine’s Snack Bags for the Bethesda Project, as well as buildOn and the POWER Scholars, who each coordinated a bake sale to raise funds for charitable causes.
  • Lower Merion was well-represented as the Student Council created heartwarming greeting cards to be distributed at local senior citizen centers. They also helped attendees play an online interactive vocabulary game in which players donate grains of rice to the World Food Programme (WFP) every time they answer a question correctly.
  • Volunteers from Bala Cynwyd Middle School organized a Dream Flag activity, inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes, where children share their positive hopes for the world on creatively-decorated flags.
  • Volunteers from Penn Valley Elementary School collected and sorted clothes that were donated to Cradles to Crayons. They also made cards with kind messages that would be distributed to individuals and families who received items from Cradles to Crayons.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who worked to make this year's Afternoon of Service a tremendous success and to all of the students, parents and community members who came out to support the event! To view a slideshow of images, click through below!

A pair of students smile for the camera at the MLK Afternoon of Service
A mother and son hold up their pictures for the camera
A student colors with a marker at the MLK Afternoon of Service
buildOn members sell baked good as a fundraiser to build a school in Malawi
A pair of POWER Scholars smile for camera
A Harriton POWER Scholar smiles for the camera
Harriton POWER Scholars pose for a picture
Four student volunteers work at the cornhole station
A mother and son work on some arts and crafts
Dr. Johnson and Mr. Bantoe pose for a picture
Director of School & Community Relations speaks with a news station
A trio of volunteers smile for the camera at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Two volunteers work intently on a project at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Volunteers work at a station at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Volunteers work on their computers at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Three volunteers smile for the camera at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Three young students work on some arts & crafts at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Three volunteers take a short break for a quick photo
Students work on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
A student works on a card at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Belmont Hills sets up their Snow Day Meal Bags activity
Four students pose for a picture at the Afternoon of Service
Volunteers hold up the Dream Flags at the Afternoon of Service
Volunteers work at the Wish Dolls station at the Afternoon of Service
A BRMS teacher sells pretzels at the Afternoon of Service
Students work on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Alexis McGloin; Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Shawanna James-Coles; and a student
Volunteers work on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Shawanna James-Coles and two students smile for the camera
School Board President Lucy Klain watches an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Merion HSA sets up the animal toy creation station at the Afternoon of Service
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Shawanna James-Coles, Director of School and Community Relations Amy Buckman
Harriton students have some fun at the MLK Afternoon of Service
A pair of smiling kiddos pose for a picture with their pretzels
A pair of smiling high school students pose for a picture
Three children look up at the camera
Five friends pose for a picture at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Volunteers hold up the Dream Flags at the Afternoon of Service
A large group of Harriton volunteers pose for a picture
Harriton's POWER Scholars volunteer at the Afternoon of Service
Four students smile for the camera
Three students, two thumbs at the Afternoon of Service
Students work on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Students work on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
A buildOn member sells some baked goods
Four volunteers take a group photo
Five volunteers pose for a group photo
Students work on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Students work on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Four student pose for a photo
A student works on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Four volunteers at the Afternoon of Service
Students work on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Students work on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
AP Karen DeFranco, Spanish teacher Sean Capkin, State Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon and AD Jason Stroup
A trio of Harriton students pose for a picture
Students work on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Students work on an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Students hold up their handiwork during an activity at the MLK Afternoon of Service
Volunteers hand out t-shirts at the Afternoon of Service
Harriton's POWER Scholars fundraise at the Afternoon of Service
Mother and son pose for a picture at the Afternoon of Service

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