Kent County 4-H and Bethany Christian Services partner for MLK Day of Service

Every year, Americans come together on or near the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to serve others.

A volunteer makes a blanket at the “Live in Laughter & Warm the Heart” Martin Luther King (MLK) Day of Service event on Jan. 18, 2014

A volunteer makes a blanket at the “Live in Laughter & Warm the Heart” Martin Luther King (MLK) Day of Service event on Jan. 18, 2014, at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids, Mich. The event was a partnership between MSU Extension and Bethany Christian Services.
Photo credit: Kristi Bowers

This year, Michigan State University Extension Kent County 4-H partnered with Bethany Christian Services in a Martin Luther King (MLK) Day of Service event on Jan. 18 at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids, Mich. The two organizations hosted more than 125 volunteers who made 75 fleece blankets during the “Live in Laughter & Warm the Heart” community service project. The blankets were donated to Project Linus, a nonprofit organization. Project Linus’ mission is to provide love and a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need through gifts of blankets created by volunteers.

The volunteers also created joke booklets – some in Spanish – to accompany the blankets.

The materials were purchased through a mini-grant that was awarded by the Michigan Community Service Commission and through 4-H participation fees. Bethany Christian Services provided lunch for the volunteers.

Local AmeriCorps members and sororities came to support the event. Mentor-mentee matches from Bethany Christian Services as well as some Kent County 4-H members participated.

Kristi Bowers, MSU Extension Kent County 4-H program coordinator, worked with Janine Thomas of Bethany Christian Services to organize the event.

“This is the second event that we have collaborated on. I’ve had lots of fun working with Bethany Christian Services staff. I love their positive energy!” Kristi said.

 

Kristi Bowers, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Kent County 4-H program coordinator, poses with an MSU blanket

Kristi Bowers, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Kent County 4-H program coordinator, poses with an MSU blanket made at the “Live in Laughter & Warm the Heart” Martin Luther King (MLK) Day of Service event on Jan. 18, 2014, at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids, Mich. The event was a partnership between MSU Extension and Bethany Christian Services.
Photo credit: Janine Thomas

Glenda Kilpatrick, MSU Extension Kent County educator and Kristi’s supervisor said, “I am very pleased that Kristi has developed a new partner for the Kent MSUE 4-H program and has developed such a meaningful service opportunity in the community.”

View this WoodTV8 video that features Kristi talking about the event: http://www.woodtv.com/news/local/grand-rapids/local-volunteers-support-project-linus

Thanks for your leadership, Kristi and Glenda!

Many of you organized or took part in MLK Day of Service projects across the state. Click on the comments under this story to tell us about your project.

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