For College Possible, the third Monday in January to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is always spent as a day of service, when we take action to strengthen our communities. The Oregon team was looking forward to an in-person event at some of our local high schools, but when the positive cases of COVID began to rise in early January, we switched gears and planned a virtual service day instead.
The day consisted of two virtual offerings: learning and listening sessions, and a letter-writing campaign.
We offered three learning and listening sessions throughout the day that were open to our staff, AmeriCorps members and students. Speakers joined us from universities and organizations to discuss the importance of service, including:
Tyler Wagner – program manager for Immersions at University of Portland. Immersions are an opportunity for students to experience a hands-on, close-up view of different populations and socioeconomic issues in Oregon, Washington and other parts of the United States, and other countries.
Anthony Yamashiro – College Possible Oregon AmeriCorps alumnus, project coordinator at Kabataan Alliance, contributor to the Documentation Team for the Filipino Bayanihan Center and NAFCON (National Alliance for Filipino Concerns) and advisory board member for NWFASA (Northwest Filipino American Student Association).
College Possible’s MLK Day was unique and inspiring! The guests all had a different perspective, yet shared messages about the importance of service. It was so heartwarming to see how many people showed up to this virtual event to learn and contribute,” said Sydney, an AmeriCorps member.
After the learning sessions, everyone was invited to participate in our letter-writing campaign. As so many of us have experienced, the pandemic has increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. This has been especially true for our senior neighbors, which is why we wanted to serve this population. Seniors are most vulnerable both to the virus and to the effects of social isolation. To help with this isolation, we wrote and mailed letters to local senior center residents.
I really enjoyed writing without knowing the recipient,” said Kayt, a student at Gresham High School. “It was fun to tell someone about myself without knowing who I was talking to.”
Through a day of service, community and connection, the College Possible Oregon community was proud to take its part in honoring Dr. King’s legacy and all that he stood for.