Taking Back Our Neighborhood - Young people celebrate - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Taking back our neighborhood - Young people in Vicksburg celebrate the King holiday

Posted: Updated:

By Howard Ballou - bio | email

VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - Dr. King once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?"

Young people from around the nation answered that question in Vicksburg by celebrating the King holiday with a day of community service.

They painted classrooms and hallways, removed staples from walls, insulated gymnasium windows, cleared acres of debris at Beulah Cemetary in Vicksburg and much more...working on a holiday others took off.

"It really makes me feel good; for us and for the people who we are helping" Says AmeriCorps volunteers...18 to 24 years old from all over the country.

Jenna Utsler, 19, is from Owasso, Oklahoma. She said, "I love everything that serving is about. Just getting out into your community and just making a difference and I'm really excited to be here in honor of MLK."

"This is a great opportunity for young people to get involved in their communities to really make a difference. These young people commit 10-months of their lives to do this and it makes a great difference in communities and impacting them as well as leading and engaging other volunteers" says Jeffrey Burgess, Jackson, and senior at Piney Woods High School. He's from Jackson.

"I came out here today because I'm not doing it to get recognition. I'm doing it to give back because it's better to give than to receive. It said it in the bible, you know, I just want to make a good name for myself and be a good representative for my family, my community and my school."

Burgess also receives valuable community service hours towards a college scholarship being a volunteer. Piney Woods is the lone high school in the country with an AmeriCorp Changing the World Team. Martin Luther King Day is the only federal holiday observed as a day of service. Reverend Tommy Miller is executive director of the Good Shepherd Community Center in Vicksburg where the volunteers based today's operations.

"I think if Dr. King was here today, he would look at the makeup of the people that are here from California to Ohio to Maine to Mississippi and he would be very pleased that we are working together hand in hand making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate in our community".

Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow