Teaching kids the meaning behind Martin Luther King Jr. Day

By Kelly McCarthy

January 20, 2014 Updated Jan 20, 2014 at 7:28 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Events throughout the Southern Tier share a positive message on Martin Luther King Jr day, and a big focus of the message is volunteering in the community.

The United Way helped fund a National Day of Service in the Southern Tier.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Discovery Center rounded up what they call a dream team of High School volunteers.

"Kids love seeing other kids doing things," said Gabrielle Wayman, a Discovery Center Educator, "It gives them inspiration, it's motivating, and it lets them know that when they get to be that age these are things they can be doing too."

The dream team is made up of local high school students who want to help younger kids understand the life lessons taught by Martin Luther King Jr.

Volunteers helped younger children make crafts using the theme of acceptance.

"Like this one says "love all, accept all," said Chenango Valley Senior Miranda Currier, "We're trying to promote acceptance for everybody."

The Jewish Community Center is where kids could go on their day off from school and play in a dodgeball tournament as a way to understand tolerance.

"A place where they can get together promote activity as well as social aspects as being together," said Director of Health and Recreation Dan Whalen, "And just learning to work together, especially people of different demographics."

Both events were partially funded through mini-grants given by the United Way for a National Day of Service. Local organizations could apply for $250 to use toward a community event in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

"We ended up giving away $5,000 to 20 organizations, and they're across and eight county region," said Shelby DuBord, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator at the United Way.

The United Way will offer another round of mini-grants for events involving Volunteer Week in April. It funds three rounds of grants a year for each National Day of Service.