It’s a challenge to think of the best way to honor the legacy of such an important figure as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His vision for America calls upon us to think beyond ourselves as we work toward a more equitable world. One idea that was central to the vision of Dr. King was the creation of a “beloved community.” A community where all people care for each other and work together united.
In this vein, for the past few years the Center for Service Learning has promoted Martin Luther King Day not as a day off of school, but rather as a “day on” of service. We have encouraged our students and faculty to not use their day off solely for their own well-being, but to find ways to share their talents through community service projects.
The valuable partnerships we have formed with the Baton Rouge Walls Project and City Year provide us meaningful opportunities to do our part to create more of a beloved community here in Baton Rouge.
This year the Baton Rouge Walls Project is hosting a “Festival of Service” near the campus of Southern University in north Baton Rouge. Along with other participants, many of our Upper School students will be involved in a variety of beautification projects along Scenic Highway. Although the scope of some of the projects may not be immense, the idea of getting people from across the city together to make a small difference can be transformational on many levels. While this is taking place, the organization City Year will mobilize volunteers to assist with improvements at Melrose Elementary School. We have encouraged our Middle and Lower School students to get involved with this effort.
We hope that everyone in our larger Episcopal community will find a way this coming Monday to honor the legacy of Dr. King and do something, even something small, to help our beloved friends and neighbors around this great city.
Matt Holt is the Director of the Center for Service Learning and the Upper School religion teacher. Matt earned a bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences from Louisiana State University. While in college, Matt worked as a counselor at the Episcopal summer camp near Pollock, Louisiana. It was during that time that he discovered his passion for working with young people. This led him to a career in youth ministry within the Episcopal Church. After serving in that capacity for several years and teaching at the Episcopal School in western Louisiana, Matt moved to New Orleans to help lead recovery efforts for the Episcopal Diocese following hurricane Katrina. It was during this time in New Orleans that he attended Tulane University and earned his teaching certificate.