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Contact: Richard Vespucci
For Release: January 14, 2002

New Jersey AmeriCorps Prepares for Martin Luther King Day Service Activities

New Jersey’s national service programs will commemorate the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday by participating in community service and service-learning events on and around Monday, January 21, 2002.

New Jersey AmeriCorps and Learn & Serve America participants will join more than 1.5 million national service participants in a range of service activities. Projects include serving meals at homeless shelters, providing children with educational enrichment activities, reciting poetry, painting murals and sprucing up community centers. Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act in 1994 to make the holiday a day of service to bring people together, promote racial cooperation and solve problems through citizen action.

"Dr. King inspired many citizens from all walks of life to make commitments and sacrifices to make our nation a better place for all people," said Commissioner of Education Vito A. Gagliardi, Sr. "His spirit continues on in the service of young people and adults throughout our state."

AmeriCorps is the national service program that provides thousands of Americans of all ages and backgrounds with education awards in exchange for a year or two of community service. The New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service administers AmeriCorps. The commission is hosted by the New Jersey Department of Education. Donald Bowling, chair of the commission, said, "I encourage young people and adults to educate themselves and their communities about the work of Dr. King. We have all benefited from his legacy and we should enhance it through service."

Learn & Serve America provides students, teachers and school districts the opportunity to participate in quality service learning projects that integrate school based learning and community service activities into various curricular areas. The program works directly with schools, teachers and community agencies to create service-learning projects that integrate school-based learning and community service activities throughout the school curriculum. Schools, teachers and community agencies participating in the program create service-learning opportunities for thousands of New Jersey students. The New Jersey Department of Education also administers Learn and Serve America in New Jersey.

A list of service activities and sites is attached. Reporters and photographers are invited and encouraged to visit the events listed.

For more information on these programs, contact Rowena Madden or Anthony Bland at 609-633-9627.