Children learn about King’s legacy

Children learn about King’s legacy
January 21
00:00 2016
Photo by Donna Rogers
Buddies read to their assigned students during the seventh annual Martin Luther King Jr. Read-In Program on Jan. 16.

By Donna Rogers

The Chronicle

Visitors outside the door of Campus Hall Room 100 heard sounds of fun coming from the inside. But once inside the large room in the Donald J. Reaves Student Activities Center at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), visitors could see learning taking place, too.

Children ages 4 to 10 were in the room, participating in an event that was part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service held Saturday, Jan. 16. The event, the seventh annual Martin Luther King Jr. Read-In Program, promoted King’s legacy of service, literacy and community empowerment for children kindergarten through fifth grade.

Chelii Broussard, WSSU event coordinator for student activities, said literacy is “a huge part of the program” that celebrated King’s life and accomplishments.

One hundred children and 150 volunteers registered for the event, said Amy Lytle, executive director of HandsOn Northwest North Carolina, an organization that finds volunteers for organizations. Student representatives from WSSU, Wake Forest University (WFU), Salem College, North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) and the Triad chapter of Girl Talk, along with HandsOn Northwest North Carolina, participated. Each volunteer was paired with a child to become his or her “Reading Buddy.” The volunteers guided their buddies to various stations and read books to them.

The stations were: Big Picture, Advocacy Quilt, Historical People, Family Legacy, Make Your Mark, Sustainability, Fun Money, Dream Cloud, Community Poem, I am Not My Hair, Musical Petting Zoo, Food Station and Global View.

Kalia Williams volunteered because she wants to work with children.

“I love children,” the WSSU junior said. “I want to be a pediatrician.”

Williams was paired with Steven Hoskins, 6. They were at the Fun Money station, at which Steven saved some money and was able to pick up a highlighter pen. Williams explained that Steven had played “Jeopardy” for Monopoly money at the station.

WSSU junior Jazmyn Edwards was 7-year-old Dredin McCorkle’s buddy. They were at the Community Poem station. Dredin added to the list of what other students had put on a large piece of paper. He wrote that he wanted to become a spy. Asked why, he said: “I watch people every time and I just want to fight people and help the United States, too.”

Edwards said she volunteered for the event because King wanted everyone to come together in non-violence, and “I think reading is a good way for us to come together.”

At the Musical Petting Zoo station, Laoni Meeks played the cello while Bennett Astrove instructed her how to play. Her buddy, Zariah Jean, a WSSU freshman, looked on.

“I learned how to hold it down and play it at the same time,” Laoni said. She said she likes instruments and would like to play a clarinet or flute.

Jean said she volunteered because “I’d just like to see what it’s like” because she had never done it before.

Astrove is in the Community Art Corps of the AmeriCorps program as a graduate student at UNCSA. He volunteered for the event as part of the Art Corps’ MLK Jr. holiday Day of Service. He used a cello donated by the Winston-Salem Symphony.

Kenneth T. Northcutt Jr., who graduated from WSSU, also is part of Art Corps as a graduate student at UNCSA. He played a flute as entertainment during the event.

“Today is awesome, and it’s nice” being a WSSU graduate, he said. “It’s like a surreal experience.”

Each child received at least one new age-appropriate civil rights-themed book and a donated age-appropriate children’s book to take home.

Broussard said that the Read-in is popular with student volunteers, but something is missing.

“They wish we had more kids,” she said. “We get a huge overload of students who want to volunteer.”

For more information or to contribute books appropriate to children ages 4 to 10 written in English and Spanish, contact Chelii Broussard at 336-750-8743 or email her at


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