AmeriCorps Members Mobilize Immigrant Community to Serve on King Holiday

Schools of Hope families will benefit victims of natural disasters and each other by making Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service a day on, not a day off.


(Grand Rapids, MI) — Hundreds of families who have immigrated to Grand Rapids are expected to participate in the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day of Service on by volunteering to help local and international victims of natural disasters, while learning how to prevent one of Grand Rapids’ most frequent disasters – house fires.


AmeriCorps members from Schools of Hope and American Red Cross of West Michigan have partnered together to plan a day of service that will leverage the strength of local citizens to help tackle both local and global problems and advance Dr. King’s dream of opportunity for all. This service event offers the families of the Schools of Hope Family Literacy Program a unique opportunity to both be served – through a fire safety presentation from the American Red Cross of West Michigan – and serve the local and global community through volunteerism. The families will be assembling comfort kits that are distributed to local house-fire victims and constructing sleeping mats (made using ordinary plastic grocery bags) to be sent to victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.


The Schools of Hope Family Literacy Program serves children enrolled in Grand Rapids Public Schools by increasing the capacity of parents to support their children and to compete more effectively in the workplace through adult English as a Second Language classes. This program is a partnership between Heart of West Michigan United Way and the Literacy Center of West Michigan and serves seven Grand Rapids Public Schools and approximately 200 families. These families will join hundreds of thousands of Americans who are participating in MLK Day of Service projects in all fifty states. This national day of service honors Dr. King’s legacy and commitment to transforming our nation through service to others. This milestone is a perfect opportunity for Americans to help advance economic opportunity and take action to solve problems in their communities.


WHO:             AmeriCorps, United Way’s Schools of Hope, American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids, Literacy Center of West Michigan, Rays of Hope for Haiti

WHAT:           MLK Day of Service 2012: Fire Safety and Fun!

WHERE:        Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth

WHEN:           January 16, 2012 from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.


The Corporation for National and Community Service leads the annual MLK Day of Service, working with the King Center in Atlanta and thousands of nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations, and schools and businesses nationwide.  For further information about MLK Day of Service and what’s taking place across the country, visit 


About the Literacy Center of West Michigan:

The Literacy Center of West Michigan is a non-profit organization founded in 1986 that provides literacy services to over 1,500 adult learners through the Adult Tutoring Program, Family Literacy Program, and the Customized Workplace English Program. The Adult Tutoring Program provides reading, writing, and English as a second language (ESL) instruction to adult learners at no cost.  The Customized Workplace English Program offers West Michigan businesses fee-based classes in workplace English, workplace literacy and accent modification.  The Family Literacy Program offers reading, writing, and ESL instruction, workshops, and family literacy events in partnership with the Head Start for Kent County and Grand Rapids Public Schools. The Literacy Center’s Community Literacy Initiative is a coalition that seeks to empower community leaders, parents, and residents to improve literacy for all ages.  The Literacy Center is a United Way partner agency and an accredited member of ProLiteracy America. To learn more about the Literacy Center, please visit: or call (616)459-5151


About the American Red Cross of West Michigan:

The mission of the American Red Cross is to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at


About the Corporation for National and Community Service:

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service each year through its core programs, Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. Visit for more information.


Although this event is not open to the public, the media is encouraged to attend. For more information, please contact:


Jessica Young

AmeriCorps, Family Literacy and ESL

616-459-5151 x.70


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