On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, while many slept in, more than 40 students, parents and community members came together early in the morning and volunteered to clean up at Jefferson High School. The Jefferson High School cleanup was part of the national Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day, where volunteers around the country help out their communities in various ways.
A day of service
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, while many slept in, more than 40 students, parents and community members came together early in the morning and volunteered to clean up at Jefferson High School.
The Jefferson High School cleanup was part of the national Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day, where volunteers around the country help out their communities in various ways.
Portland State Student Leaders for Service (SLS) Program Manager Kyle Bray helped coordinate Monday’s four Portland volunteer opportunities.
“Today is all about reminding people that their actions matter to the community, and to honor the great leadership and strong communal sense of Dr. King,” Bray said. “I’m glad to be a part of something that has grown each new year and hope the trend continues.”
Numerous PSU students and faculty helped out at the volunteer events, which ranged from planting flora at Goat Island to helping clean up a community center at Arbor Glen.
Philip Paterno, an appraiser who lives and works in Deschutes County for Oregon’s Bureau of Land Management, heard about the volunteer effort at Jefferson High over the weekend and decided to come to Portland and contribute.
“When I learned of a chance to shed some good light there, I knew I wanted to be a part of that,” he said.
Patterno and the other volunteers steam-cleaned carpets, repainted old and vandalized walls and picked up trash around the campus. Jefferson High Alumni Coordinator Maggie Mashia led a team of Jefferson High parents and students in collecting and polishing trophies for display in the forthcoming Heritage Museum, to be set in a room that volunteers painted and scoured.
“It’s extremely vital for students to be aware of the heritage and legacy of their schools,” Mashia said. “There is a lot of history here, and we want Jefferson students to have something to be proud of.”
Bray said the Day of Service event has grown each year since he first got involved in 2004. In 2007, 37 volunteered from PSU at three locations, and this year 50 volunteered, he said.
Portland Mayor Tom Potter visited the volunteers at Jefferson High near the end of the day, and told them he was amazed and proud to see so many people helping to clean the school and prepare the museum.
“There’s a special and unique energy at this school, and it was the best week of my time as mayor to be here,” he said, referring to his staff working out of Jefferson High School last week. “The human connection of volunteer work is very important, and that’s what’s happening here today.”
Bray said about 80 total people volunteered at four sites during the day, which included low-income residence facility Arbor Glen, a preservation effort on Goat Island and field work at the
Learning Gardens Laboratory, a community garden for ecology education. Morgan Schneider, an SLS leader and photographer, said work at the outdoor sites was “sort of messy, but very productive.”
After the work at Jefferson High, Paterno said he was tired, but pleased with himself and his fellow volunteers.
“You don’t expect volunteer work to pay off right away, but then again you don’t do it for glory,” Paterno said. “I had a great time out here, knowing my work is going to do some good for the community. Now when I visit here, I’ll know I did my part, and that’s a great feeling.”