High School MLK Jr. Symposium: January 17-19, 2024

The theme for the 2024 all-school Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Program was "In Service Of...," honoring the original intent of the MLK holiday as a national day of service. The annual High School MLK Symposium culminated with a morning of local community service. 
This year, the school partnered with organizations whose missions align with the service-focused theme of the MLK Program.

2024 Service Organizations

The Service Collective engages and empowers youth to take action in their community through volunteer service. Driven by the needs of their non-profit partners, they provide meaningful service opportunities for the benefit of all in our community.

Students cleaned and decorated a gymnasium to be used by children with incarcerated parents while learning about the organization’s work. 

Food is joy. And it’s up to us to pass it on. Here’s why: Only one in four New Yorkers who experience a food emergency have access to a food pantry, citing both physical barriers–such as transportation and inconvenience–and emotional ones, including stigma, discrimination, or even just dignity. Grassroots Grocery removes those barriers by bringing the pantry to the people. They partner with trusted community leaders who distribute food to their neighbors. Every action helps feed people in need–without sacrificing their pride. 
Students met with the founder of the program to learn about the organization before making sandwiches in our dining room to deliver food to local community fridges.

HFH provides NYC families experiencing homelessness with more than just a place to sleep. On any given day, nearly 610 families with children ages 0 to 18 reside in safe, clean, shelters–our family residences–with a host of services designed to make the most of their time in shelter. Many HFH programs are also available to neighbors in the communities near our family residences.
Students heard from administrators of the organization to learn more about their mission and wrote cards and put together arts and crafts kits for children of asylum seekers in NYC.

Since 1977, Encore Community Services has provided seniors in the Midtown/Times Square/Clinton communities of New York City with a range of caring and quality services to help them live independent and dignified lives. For this reason, Encore has earned the reputation as “Broadway’s Longest Running Act of Loving Care.”
Students assembled, packed, and delivered meals to seniors following five or six different delivery routes. 

Since 1972, Visiting Neighbors has been a trusted life-line, helping seniors in lower Manhattan as they face the challenges of aging, most often alone, to remain independent and safe in their own homes while also staying connected, informed, and a vital part of the New York Community. Visiting Neighbors champions the power of the volunteer and encourages interdependence so that mutual learning and understanding bring generations together to share life experiences and gain respect for each individual’s uniqueness.
High school students partnered with the entire Early Childhood division to write and decorate cards for senior citizens at the Visiting Neighbors organization. Students also heard from an Early Childhood teacher about the joy of working with young children to prepare for their activity. 

Finally, inspired by activists and traditions of the past, including Gee's Bend, Faith Ringgold, and the AIDS Memorial Quilt, students created their own community quilt that reflects their takeaways from this year's symposium. The product was finished by a Grace parent and donated to the Grace Auction Benefit for Financial Aid. 
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Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for nearly 800 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.