Thousands take part in day of service at Girard College

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Thousands of people took part in a day of service Monday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In fact, an estimated 135,000 people throughout the region were volunteering their time for 1,800 service projects.

There were some 5,000 volunteers at Girard College alone. Tracey Williams of Roxborough brought her daughter and her niece, feeling it was important they pitched in for the 20th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service.

"He was the epitome of service and leadership in our community. It's important to me to bring them as young people are raised to understand the importance of giving back," she said.

Mayor Nutter and Senator Bob Casey were among the dignitaries at this morning's opening ceremony.

For the sixth consecutive year, Girard College hosted the area's signature project celebrating Dr. King. The causes were diverse, but the goal was united.

"As we embrace his legacy of action, thousands of people are claiming that legacy of their own - on this day and, for many, throughout the year," said Todd Bernstein, president of Global Citizen.

Whether it was making scarves for children in need or promoting exercise and healthy living, volunteers looked around the gym at all the great work being done and felt inspired.

"We've come a long way and just the unity of everyone taking a Monday morning - arriving at 7 a.m. to do this - is a wonderful thing," said Loretta Epps of the Community College of Philadelphia.

Also at Girard College they were also marking the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed racial discrimination in voting. There were a series of projects there promoting voter participation and empowerment.

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