Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was all about empowerment and social change.
On the annual day to honor him, Jan. 16, Kris Safford said the day of service on Bainbridge Island accomplished both.
She specifically talked about her children’s involvement in the Student Conservation Corps.
This generation “needs to feel empowered” and service in the corps “teaches them that they have an impact on our environment and their contribution can make a difference; both in nature and hopefully in the larger sense of social change.”
She added that in the past 10 years, all of her children have served in the corps, and the experience has “instilled a sense of stewardship and pride for their hometown and shared outdoor spaces.”
Her daughter, Evelyn, said she enjoys taking care of the environment. “It’s amazing how much invasive weeds can be cleared out in such little time.”
They were at Blakely Harbor Park where several community groups gathered for a day of conservation work after three years of cancellations due to the pandemic.
BI Metro Park & Recreation District partnered with the BI Parks Foundation, Sustainable Bainbridge and IslandWood for the day of service that brought more than 175 volunteers to the park to restore the former site of the world’s largest sawmill.
Weed Warriors founder Jeanette Franks has been involved in native plant and forest restoration efforts on BI for about 25 years and supports efforts to mitigate global warming. About 125 native wildflowers were planted, 15 yards of wood chips were spread for weed suppression, and more than 25 yards of invasive ivy, blackberry and holly were removed.
Also that day on BI the Young People’s March for Peace and Kindness took place. About 120 people gathered at the Commodore Commons parking lot and wrote letters to leaders asking them to work for peace.
Event organizer Anne Wilhoite hoped the event would provide kids a way to practice expressing their voices and standing up for what they believe in. “It’s important to help parents make space to have important conversations with their kids. Setting aside time on this day might help families form a habit of discussion and service.”
Children then marched to the Winslow Post Office to mail the letters. “Many of the youngest walked the whole march clutching letters in their hands with big smiles on,” Wilhoite said. “It feels empowering to practice using your voice and to see others caring about the same things that you do.”