Approximately 250 Baylor School juniors and seniors and a group of teachers and coaches will take a break from classes on Monday to volunteer in the community in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Their efforts mark the 19th year Baylor has observed the holiday as a “day on,” giving students and faculty the opportunity to do service work throughout the Chattanooga area and to participate in educational workshops on campus. On Friday, human rights activist Naomi Tutu, the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, spoke to the full student body as part of the the school’s MLK Day observance.
For the third consecutive year, senior Aliza Cohen is organizing a cookout and celebration at Hope for the Inner City. Located at 1800 Roanoke Ave. in east Chattanooga, the Hope for the Inner City facility houses a gym, meeting rooms, and a dental clinic and offers job placement classes, economic training, ministry, and other services to area residents. Baylor’s daily community service program collaborates with the organization and facilitates an after school program for children throughout the school year.
According to Ms. Cohen, MLK Day activities will include a cookout, games, crafts and a collaborative brainstorming activity focused on hopes and dreams for the city of Chattanooga. In addition, several varsity athletes will be sharing advice with younger children, two groups of students will be painting rooms, and another group has been assigned to organize and catalog library books. “Our chess club will also provide lessons for the children -- over 50 Baylor students will come to Hope on MLK Day and we are planning for 50 or more residents to join the celebration,” she said.
Throughout the day, Baylor students will also be helping out at Battery Heights, the Chattanooga Zoo, the Community Kitchen, Crabtree Farms, the Heatherfield Horse Park, the Humane Society, McKamey Animal Shelter, Memorial Hospital, the Pet Placement Center, Red Bank Life Care Nursing Home, Walden Farm, the Westside Community Center, and Williams Island.
Back on Baylor’s campus, another group of students will bake and deliver treats for firefighters at the nearby Red Bank Fire Department and area Senior Olympic athletes will take advantage of the school’s athletic facilities to practice their various sports. Also on campus, students in grades 6-10 will participate in a variety of activities that focus on the work of Dr. King, the Civil Rights movement, and tolerance in today’s culture. Atlanta playwright Margaret Baldwin will attend a student reading of her play “Night Blooms,” which focuses on two families – one white and one black – who are coping with change in Selma, Ala. in 1965 on the first day of the historic march on Montgomery. “Night Blooms” was named one of the top plays of 2010 by both the Atlanta Journal Constitution and ArtsCriticATL.com
The day concludes at 2 p.m. with a full student body and faculty celebration in the school’s Alumni Chapel featuring the music of the local Motown band, Love, Peace and Happiness, which is led by Baylor faculty member Kenneth Parks.