By Jack Feldman
Today for MLK day, Drake students embarked bright and early at 7:15 AM and headed to Roosevelt senior high school. The City Year team, which is part of Americorps, set up a volunteer day for people to come to local schools and help them with beautification projects. People were building, sanding, and painting all throughout the community. So, the 27 volunteers from Drake made up of both professors and students were “fired up” as the City Year team put it.
Once we all filed into the auditorium at Roosevelt high, the City Year team welcomed us with a fantastic and energized dance circle. Then, powerful speakers like the mayor of Washington D.C., Muriel Bowser and the Secretary of Education, John King spoke in front of the crowd. They spoke about Dr. King’s vision and how service is at the heart of growing communities. After these speeches we were broken up into groups and lead to the schools we would be serving.
I had decided to join the group that was painting flags for the classrooms of Bancroft elementary school. The flags that we painted create an international theme for the school’s classrooms, each one being designated a country. I chose this project because I felt that I needed to take a step back from all that is happening and just sit for a while and decompress. The painting was very soothing and it relaxed me beyond belief. It was nice to be able to focus on something without paying attention or worrying about the world for once. My feet had been killing me for a week and after walking just shy of 70 miles so far in D.C. I needed to take a little time to just paint.
Although I had fun and the experience was not very strenuous compared to most of my adventures here in D.C. thus far, I would say this was one of the best experiences. The fact that my painting is going to be put in a classroom where kids are getting an education nearly every day makes me feel like I made at least a small contribution. We all did a little part in helping make this school a healthy and welcoming learning environment for these kids and the fact that I had so much fun while I was doing it makes it all the more worth it. The best service comes from those who enjoy serving, and I think that is what happened today for the benefit of both myself and hopefully some young D.C. kids.