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    Tom Rosenthal
    Richard Vespucci
    Jon Zlock

For Release: January 16, 2003

Community Service Activities
Mark AmeriCorps Observance of Martin Luther King Holiday

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 20, 2003.

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, 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.

"By participating in these days of service, we demonstrate our commitment to make substantive, positive change in our communities," said Commissioner of Education William L. Librera. "It is a fitting tribute to Dr. King’s memory."

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. Jeffrey Vega, chair of the commission, said, "Martin Luther King inspired people to take action to make our society one of fairness, kindness and justice. AmeriCorps provides an ideal outlet for young people and adults to realize this dream 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, call 609-633-9627.