In January 2017, 200 volunteers from the Jewish community joined sites all over Greater Boston for service opportunities. Our second annual MLK Day has already become a staple of our volunteer programming and a day families and individuals look forward to.

Blackstone Innovation School  

We partnered with St. Stephen’s Youth Programs to support the learning environment at the Blackstone Elementary School in the South End. Volunteers rolled up their sleeves to paint walls, clean windows, sort library books, and make gifts of appreciation for teachers. After a morning of service volunteers got together for lunch and a conversation about the legacy of MLK .

Boston Cares 

At the Boston Latin School, we partnered with Boston Cares to make STEM kits to distribute to students in Boston Public Schools.  Volunteers compiled the materials needed to make a battery powered robot, made an example of the robot, and created reflection journals to be given to students all over the City.

Hebrew Seniorlife  

In the afternoon, several young adults had an engaging conversation about the civil rights era with seniors at Hebrew SeniorLife in Brookline. One of the residents from Montgomery, Alabama, who would have been the same age as Martin Luther King Jr., spoke about her experience as an African American woman in the South. The groups discussed participation in marches and other forms of activism.

The Cambridge MLK Day of Service 

In Cambridge, nearly 70 volunteers joined the city wide day of service to make fleece blankets and scarves for homeless individuals, making enough to give a scarf and blanket to every homeless individual in Cambridge. Volunteers also took the time to decorate valentines for homebound seniors and veterans.

TELEM’s Energy Efficiency 

The JCRC of Boston’s MLK Jr. Day of Service was a successful carbon-cutting experience for a group of TELEM  teens from Sharon’s Temple Sinai senior youth group, TASTY. TELEM and TASTY partnered with the Cambridge-based Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) to carry out a variety of energy-efficiency upgrades and improvements to the Trinity Baptist Church of Brockton’s Family Center. Led by their intrepid advisor Illyse Habbe, the 14 teens worked in small teams caulked around doors, windows and fireplaces; installed weather-stripping on doors and plastic barriers on numerous windows and doors; and insulated many areas that were letting warm air out and cold air into the building. Jason Taylor, HEET’s project director, estimates that the energy-efficiency improvements the teens completed would save the center $600 per year in heating costs. With those improvements, the amount of carbon emitted from heating the building is one small but important step towards reducing overall carbon emissions that creates global warming.

Click to view photos from MLK Day of Service 2016

JCRC’s MLK Day of Service has become a meaningful day for individuals and families from the Jewish community to come together to volunteer and honor the legacy of Dr. King.  As City Councilor Ayanna Pressley said when she stopped by the Blackstone School, “…together, we are building the community Dr. King talked about.”

For more information, contact Emily Reichman, Director of Service Initiatives, or Julie Hollander, Young Adult Social Justice Coordinator.