Local nonprofits organize annual ‘Day of Service’ on MLK Day; youth give back to their community

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Even in these divisive times – dozens came together to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. and his message of non-violent unity. The idea is to unite the community under one goal of service.

“I think it’s really important for us to honor Dr. King’s legacy and remember the life he lived and what he stood for,” said Andrae Gonzales, Bakersfield City Council member. “And the best way to do that is through service.

Children First and the Hub are two local nonprofits that joined together to organize a “Day of service”. It’s something children first does every year on Martin Luther King Junior Day.

“Don’t let your name or your race control who you are,” said Sergio Flores, a student at BHS. “We’re all the same human race. Go out and just give back to the community.”

Local teens and college students got together at David Nelson Pocket Park near Williams Elementary in east Bakersfield. They grabbed trash bags and gloves to pick up trash along the roads.

“A lot of people need help and not a lot of people are willing to give help,” Flores said. “So I figured I could step up being the younger generation and show for other teens what we can do.”

They walked a few blocks before reaching the Beale Avenue overpass. Underneath the overpass is a mural that’s been in the making for the past month.

“We’re almost done with this mural but the final phase will include a community art piece,” Gonzales said.

The group gathered there to paint colorful flowers in their designated spaces. Some of them stayed there for a few hours, others went back to the park to help assemble easels. They’ll later give these easels to children in the Bakersfield City School District.

“Nothing makes a community stronger than unity,” said Jennifer Huerta, a student at CSUB. “We came here to show that the east side is united and we’re here because we want to make our community better.”

MLK has taught us many things – specifically that we can be stronger together. These acts of service point back to that message – showing that anyone can bring light to the parts of our community that need it.

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