YWCA Tri-County Area hosted its annual MLK Day of Service on January 16, 2023. YW staff, volunteers from Giant Food Stores, Valley Forge Casino, and the community at large kicked off the day with breakfast and presentations from local educators and YW leadership.
Presenters Matthew Reid, Whitney Howard, and Ross Hamilton moved the audience with an engaging panel on race, public education, and the importance of creating inclusive cultures by increasing representation of Black and male educators in school systems.
Ross Hamilton noted that “African American students who have had at least one African American teacher in elementary school scored higher on reading achievement assessments”. Further elaborating that “it’s important to find ways to increase the number of Black male educators in our public school system.”
CEO Stacey Woodland reminded the crowd of YW’s mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Sharing that embedding a mission-centric approach to programming positively impacts youth and their experience in the classroom.
With our mission in mind and an inspirational Legacy Presentation, staff and volunteers felt inspired to begin the over 24 service projects aimed at improving newly acquired buildings, classrooms, and program space.
Throughout the day, YW’s mission was in motion. From empowering paintings to the collaborative organization and sorting of clothing, toys, and other donations, our mission was at the forefront of the day’s activities.
Staff and volunteers assigned to YW’s Complex, on 724 N. Adams Street, created art-filled inspirational murals for the entrance of the Adult Education and Training Center. “When students see inspirational quotes, leaders, and heroes, from their culture and communities, they feel more comfortable and are more likely to be successful” shared Kevin Cromwell, Senior Manager of ETC.
Volunteers at YW’s 301 E. King St. location envisioned how many children would benefit from the clothing and toy donations, as they sorted beautiful dolls, dinosaurs, and hundreds of toys for communities in need. “These items will go to youth and families in need and enhance classrooms and programming throughout YW,” shared Sharon Soper, Development Manager.
In addition to supporting YW with expansion needs, volunteers hosted a community giveaway with soup prepared by YW’s Dignity Kitchen. With warm, homemade soup in hand, community members received canned goods, bread, and other nonperishables.
As of April 2022, the estimated national value of a volunteer is $29.95 per hour. With 116 volunteers working diligently for 6 hours that day, the impact quantified was an astounding $20,845.20 contribution to YWCA Tri-County Area. For that, we give thanks to the many volunteers and staff who participated on MLK Day of Service. The community’s continued support enables YW to pursue its mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Our mission aligns with Dr. King’s vision, our collective work inspires communities to pursue a more just and inclusive world where all can thrive.