On a day of service honoring the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., hundreds of volunteers gathered at the Myrtle Grove K-8 Center in Miami Gardens for a one-day cleanup and beautification of the school.
The event was a partnership between City Year Miami, Americorps, Communities in Schools, the Miami Dolphins and numerous other service agencies. More than 30 teams of workers of all ages mulched the grounds, painted murals and parking lots and built park benches along with numerous other tasks at the school, at 3125 NW 176th St.
Keith Fletcher, the executive director and vice president of City Year Miami, said the organization worked with Miami-Dade Schools to find a school that could benefit from a one-day cleanup event.
“It’s our assessment of what school could benefit, not just from a physical transformation but really a change in the school’s culture,” Fletcher said.
Volunteers painted murals with inspirational quotes from books like Where the Wild Things Are and other messages of encouragement along with paintings of video game characters like Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog.
“This is gonna be their safe haven more than it is already,” said Emperatriz Maldonado, Myrtle Grove’s assistant principal. “It’s things that the kids relate to and they’re not going to want to leave the school.”
Volunteers, like Loretta Everett, said they were grateful for the opportunity to give back in Miami Gardens especially on the King holiday. Everett is the founder of Sunshine’s Heart, a nonprofit group that works with young women and children in the city.
“We wanted to volunteer in a school and a community where our kids go to school,” Everett said.
Everett brought about 30 children to take part in the Myrtle Grove event and said she hopes it will be a day of service they’ll cherish.
“A lot of times the young kids get left out but this event gave them an opportunity to serve and for us it creates memories,” Everett said.
[King’s] legacy was being there, rolling up his sleeves and doing the work.
Keith Fletcher, executive director and vice president of City Year Miami
City Year Miami will continue to work with its various school partners but Fletcher said events like Monday’s day of service are special because of how they reflect King’s life and message of service.
“His legacy was being there, rolling up his sleeves and doing the work,” Fletcher said.