Labor & Industry Secretary Urges Pennsylvanians to Join More Than 80,000 Volunteers for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Jan 15, 2010, 11:32 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  Pennsylvanians of all ages are urged to join more than 80,000 volunteers taking part in community service projects statewide during the 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 18, Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Sandi Vito said today.

"Participating in these local projects helps to strengthen neighborhoods, empower individuals and build bridges between generations while reinforcing Dr. King's legacy of community service," said Secretary Vito. "Not only do these projects inject direct aid into our communities and enrich the lives of Pennsylvanians in need, they also provide an invaluable learning experience to all participants."

Many of the organizations coordinating service projects and volunteers are administered by PennSERVE: The Governor's Office of Citizen Service.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was established in 1994. Since its inception, more than 500,000 volunteers from across Pennsylvania have celebrated Dr. King's legacy by turning their community concerns into volunteer service and year-round citizen action.

"Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service presents opportunities for individuals of all ages to make a difference in their communities," said Vito. "I urge all Pennsylvanians to seek out service projects and make volunteering a regular part of their lives, on this day and every day."

Through the Scholars in Service to Pennsylvania Program administered by PennSERVE, students from more than 40 colleges and universities will help their communities in a variety of settings such as schools, day care facilities, early learning and community centers, nursing homes, shelters and food banks.

For more information about PennSERVE and AmeriCorps programs in Pennsylvania go to  and click on Community Services/Volunteerism, then PennSERVE. To register as a volunteer, or for information about all Martin Luther King Day of Service activities, go to  

Media contact: David Smith, 717-787-7530

Editor's note: The following is a partial list of activities taking place statewide as part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. All events occur Monday, Jan. 18, unless otherwise noted:

Allegheny County

In Wilkinsburg, AmeriCorps members from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services KEYS Corps will join Wilkinsburg Weed & Seed and other community organizations in service projects including weatherizing homes for the needy, refurbishing abandoned buildings, decorating park benches, preparing a community center and cleaning up vacant lots for conversion to urban gardens and other shared community spaces. Work will be done 9 a.m. - noon and 1-4 p.m. Contact Helen Wachter, (412) 350-5227, for more information and project locations.

Berks County

At 10 sites around the county, 150 Kutztown University students will participate in various projects including making bookshelves, sorting clothing, cleaning kitchens and restocking food pantry shelves. Contact Jerry Schearer, (610) 683-4923, for more information and project locations.

Butler County

Members of Butler-based Family Service Corps will help weatherize homes for needy families in Evans City, Slippery Rock and Butler. Contact Karen Zapp, (724) 284-4894, for more information and project locations.

Butler, Lawrence, Mercer counties

Slippery Rock University's Connector Corps AmeriCorps members, in cooperation with I CARE House and Lawrence County Community Action Partnership, will host children's penny carnivals from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at six sites in New Castle, Grove City and Hermitage. In their fifth year, the carnivals invite local children to play penny games, with money raised going to families who need assistance paying energy bills. Penny carnivals will be held in Grove City at Grove City YMCA (543 East Main St. Ext.); in New Castle at the Gussie Walker Center (1207 Moravia St.), New Castle YMCA (20 W. Washington St.), Croton United Methodist Church (910 N. Croton Ave.), and Ben Franklin Early Learning Center (815 Cunningham Ave.); and in Hermitage at Grace Chapel Church (4075 Lamor Road). Contact Lisa Gill, (724) 738-2273, for more information.

Chester County

In West Chester, on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Sykes Student Union Building (110 W. Rosedale Ave.), West Chester University students will make fleece blankets for children at A.I. DuPont Children's Hospital and a wall hanging for Brandywine Hall Center Nursing Home. Contact Margaret Tripp, (610) 436-3379, for more information.

Centre County

In Bellefonte, CentreSERVE AmeriCorps members will host a 5 p.m. Monday community dinner and intergenerational discussion at Bellefonte Youth Center (114 Alleghany St.). Contact Alison Turley, (814) 355-1025, for more information.

Erie County

In Erie, Keystone SMILES AmeriCorps members, based in Knox, Clarion County, will participate in six days of activities culminating in a Jan. 18 service project at Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania (1507 Grimm Drive). Other community service projects include outdoor home repairs for the needy. Contact Joyce Fosdick, (814) 797-1184, for more information and project locations.

Luzerne County

In Wilkes-Barre, student volunteers from King's College and Wilkes University, along with children from McGlynn Learning Center, will participate in a beautification project at the B'Nai B'rith Apartments (61 E. Northampton St.). Contact Kim Fabbri (King's College), (570) 208-5900, ext. 5915, or Megan Boone (Wilkes University), (570) 408-5905, for more information.

Lycoming County

In Williamsport, Community Connect AmeriCorps members from the Lycoming-Clinton Counties Commission for Community Action's Success Through Engagement and Partnership, or STEP, program will cook and serve a community breakfast at Campbell Street Community Center (600 Campbell St.). Contact Daryl Kern, (570) 601-9672, for more information.

Greater Philadelphia area

In Philadelphia, which hosts the largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service mobilization in the country, more than 70,000 volunteers will participate in hundreds of community service projects.

City Year will host Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service events at three schools in the Olney area: Olney High School East/West (100 E. Duncannon Ave.), Gen. Davis B. Birney Elementary School (900-914 W. Lindley St.) and Thomas K. Finletter Elementary School (6100 N. Fourth St.). Contact Daryl Bundrige, (215) 988-2118, ext. 222, for more information.

YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School will participate in community service projects around the city including energy-efficient rehabilitation of a low-income family home in partnership with Nicetown Community Development Corp.; rehabilitation of Penrose Playground and Community Center (N. 12th Street and W. Susquehanna Avenue), renovations for Diversified Community Services (1920 S. 20th St.), and carpentry workshops for homeless men and women at the African American Museum of Philadelphia (701 Arch St.). Contact Lark Rambo, (215) 627-8671, ext. 22, for more information.

Union, Snyder counties

In Lewisburg, the Union-Snyder Community Action Agency's CORE Susquehanna AmeriCorps program will assist with children's educational and recreational programs at the Donald L. Helter Community Center (100 N. Fifth St.) on Monday. Contact Dennis Huratiak, (570) 374-8938, for more information.

York County

In York, SecureCorps, an AmeriCorps program of the United Way of York County, will host a community event at Jackson Elementary School (177 E. Jackson St.) and help prepare tax forms for individuals at Crispus Attucks Association (605 S. Duke St.). Contact Kristy Renjilian, (717) 843-0957, for more information.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry