KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A day dedicated to service — that’s what many people believe Martin Luther King Jr. Day is about.
A large group of volunteers is honoring Dr. King through beautifying a local middle school, which means students are in for a big surprise Tuesday.
City Year is making MLK Day a “day on” and not a “day off” work.
More than a hundred people answered the call to pick up a paintbrush and volunteered here at Central Middle School.
“When you think about honoring his legacy,” City Year Executive Director Shafer said. “The best way to do it is to get out in the community and do something positive.”
City Year is a nonprofit that places fulltime mentors and tutors in schools to keep kids on track to graduate.
All mentors and tutors are between the ages of 18-25 and they have signed up to do a year of service inside a school, according to Shafer.
On Monday, volunteers across the community rolled in to paint Central Middle School with colorful murals and inspirations quotes.
Former Royals and Chiefs players even stopped by to pickup a brush and give back to the students.
“This school’s going to smell a lot fresher because of the paint smell. They’re going to be very surprised when they come in,” former defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs Eric Hicks said. “You want it to look right for the kids, we’re doing the best we can.”
Hicks and the alumni group for the Kansas City chiefs are trying to take a play out of Dr. King’s playbook — “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”
“Follow in this example,” Hicks said. “As you grow up, as you mature in age, do volunteer work. Get out there in the community and just show people that you really like to be a part of this community and that you can help them.”
Aliceia Brown went to Central Middle School. She was touched by the color and meaningful words while walking the hallways.
“It seems so magical and powerful because it just shows you I can be a great student,” Brown said. “I see these quotes every day and I’m going to be the best every day.”
Brown didn’t always feel that motivation.
“I was a depressed student,” Brown said. They really helped me through a lot of years, a lot of very troubling classes I was able to go through. They helped me mentally. I was very down as a student, I didn’t have a lot of motivation,”
She worked closely with City Year to see graduation in her future.
“They better be coming to my graduation,” Brown said. “I grew to be the best student that I could be with their help. They showed so much care and love. I almost thought of them as parents.”
If you would like to get involved with the foundation, view here.