Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

IMG_5354On Monday, January 18, 2016 over 90 volunteers came out to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. This event was sponsored by the African American Arts and Culture Center (AAACC) and CommunityGrows. Volunteers began arriving at 8:30 AM on a morning reprieved from the wonderful rain we’ve been having in the Bay Area.   IMG_5350After a light breakfast of bagels and coffee, Mohammed Soriano Bilal, Director of the AAACC directed everyone to the buildings Burial Clay Theatre to hear an inspirational talk by John William Templeton. IMG_5362Mr. Templeton curated a African American Freedom Trail brochure which leads visitors to the various historic landmarks, such as the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco founded in 1852, that illustrate the remarkable contributions of African-Americans to the city. He is also the author of “Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco,” “Our Roots Run Deep: The Black Experience in California” and other books.  He is founder of ReUNION: Education Arts Heritage, an instructional video network designed to provide culturally responsive curriculum to schools globally.  Templeton also operates SF Soul Shuttle tours which bring the African American history and culture of San Francisco, including where to dine, meet, shop and worship. He spoke about Martin Luther King coming to San Francisco and his importance for the African American community.
Then over 90 volunteers, many from the San Francisco Teacher Residency Program, Playworks, Lick-Wilmerding and University High School divided into three groups and traveled to three garden sites to work. A group from Lick-Wilmerding under the leadership of CommunityGrows staff Kelly Ernst-Friedman and Melissa Tang, worked in the garden and parking lot of the AAACC picking up trash and mulching and gleaning the native plants.IMG_5364
IMG_5389A large group from Playworks joined CommunityGrows staff Adrian Almquist, Crystal Jones,  and BEET (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) Jennifer Nazara to work in Koshland Garden.IMG_5478IMG_5461IMG_5489IMG_5485Another large group from University High School joined CommunityGrows staff Jay Jordan, Cha’Shay Woldridge and BEET Adrian Valencia to work at Rosa Parks Elementary School garden.IMG_5411 IMG_5447IMG_5421IMG_5425
IMG_5403At the end of the workday morning, groups convened by at the AAACC for a delicious lunch and BBQ. So much good work was done to make these gardens and spaces shine. All the volunteers were awesome. Thank you so much to everyone for this very successful day!IMG_0650For MANY more photos check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream.