Dr. King honored through volunteering

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First at Five, January 21, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---For some, the MLK holiday means a break; for others it means hard work.

Eighth-grader Anthony Wise says he and his friends would usually be at home shooting hoops on a day off school.

But not on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

"I'm trying to take my time out, and help clean up the community. Be a part of the community, help celebrate the MLK holiday," he said.

And about 60 of his Sego Middle School classmates took their time out as well, by raking leaves, trimming trees, and just trying to make their school look better.

On a day to do whatever they want, they all chose to pay tribute to one man.

"Dr. King was an instrumental leader, in not only human rights, but just making sure that everybody understood that it's time to work together," the school's principal, Dr. Ronald Wiggins, said.

And that's why people around the country are calling this "a day on, not a day off."

And a day off doesn't just mean from school.

Georgia Power has sponsored volunteering events on MLK Day for six years now.

Almost 50 employees and their family members came to Sego Monday.

Organizer Tim McGill is happy at how much the event has grown. About 20 volunteers showed up the first year. This holiday, there were over 100 total.

"Giving back to our community, serving each other. And we feel like that was one of the key messages that [Dr. King] had," he said.

The school's principal is glad that message has reached his students.

"Proud is a definite way to describe the way I feel about these students," he said.

And that's exactly how Wise thinks Dr. King would feel.

"If he was still living, and he seen us doing it, I think he'd be very proud of us," he said.

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