PARAMUS, NJ — What is the meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to the middle school set?
“Martin Luther King fought for our peace so we should give it out to others and be kind to others,” Sara Shields, 12, told PIX11 News.
She was one of close to 400 middle schoolers from 70 schools in Bergen County that came together for a national Day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day organized by We The People.
“We felt like our kids need to be involved in building bridges among each other,” Tracy Zur, founder of We The People, told PIX11 News. “It’s about understanding the real meaning of MLK being of service, giving back to the community."
These fifth through eight graders stuffed animals for children in foster care or in the hospital, made blankets for seniors and prepared hygiene kits for the homeless. They also wrote letters of thanks to our service men and women.
“Thank you for the service to the country and for preserving our flag,” Aleena Siddiqui, 11, wrote.
They were joined by Rep. Josh Gottheimer.
“I love this,” Gottheimer, who represents the 5th district of New Jersey, told PIX11 News. “This is what giving back to the community is all about."
This day of community service was hosted by Bergen County Community College whose executive vice president is a member of the same African American intercollegiate fraternity that Martin Luther King Jr. was a Member of, Alpha Phi Alpha.
“A day like this one, a fellow brother, Martin Luther King, a member of Alpha, really pointed us in the direction for what service should be,” Brian Agnew, executive vice president of Bergen County Community College, told PIX11 News.
This is not the only day of service for these young people. Organizers are hoping these charitable acts continue throughout the year and beyond.
KerryAnn Dimitriou loved putting together a go-bag for children with cancer, so she wants to do it again.
“It feels really nice. I like to volunteer,” she said.