Local Teens Host Hopewell Gives Back MLK Day of Service

Students at 2018 Hopewell Harvest Fair grant awards ceremony

In its third year, Hopewell Gives Back: MLK Day of Service is an opportunity to give back with a variety of 20-minute service projects for volunteers to complete in rotating stations. This year’s event will be held on January 21, from 9am to 12pm at the Hopewell Presbyterian Church, 80 West Broad Street, Hopewell.

To many, Martin Luther King Jr. Day offers a welcome vacation from school or work. But, to three local teenagers, MLK Day is more than that – it is an opportunity to embody the ideals set forth by Dr. King and bring the community together.

Two years ago, three Hopewell Valley Central High School students, Sarah Cleveland and brothers Sam and Gavin Fowler, began to make a plan to offer volunteers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds an opportunity to “give back.” They wanted to create an event that would engage new volunteers, introduce them to a variety of organizations, and strengthen community connections.

Through their many years in Scouting, the three teens had volunteered for many projects with their troops. They wanted to find a fun way to connect community members of all ages with the many different nonprofits in the area. Also, they wanted it to be completely run by young adults to show to others that children do not have to wait to engage in important volunteer initiatives. They held a very successful event last year that engaged 50 volunteers and seven nonprofits at the Hopewell Presbyterian Church.

Thanks to a generous Hopewell Harvest Fair grant, the three are expanding this year’s event to connect even more volunteers and local nonprofits. They are also training new teen volunteers to organize the event to ensure that the tradition continues when the three founders go to college.

“We hope to raise awareness of the great work that these organizations are doing and the many ways that people of all ages can help,” said Cleveland.

This year, the group has once again reached out to several nonprofits to ask if they would like to participate in the community-wide event at Hopewell Presbyterian Church. So far, this year’s non-profits include the Sourland Conservancy, Mercer Street Friends, Rescue Mission of Trenton, Costume Hangers, Seeds to Sew, and SAVE. (If your non-profit organization would like to participate, please email info@sourland.org for more details.)

This event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required. Please consider the $5 suggested donation at the door to help cover the cost of supplies. Donations of canned food, dance recital costumes, and winter coats are greatly appreciated. For more information or to register, visit www.tiny.cc/MLKDay2019. Follow @HopewellGivesBack on Facebook for updates.

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