Columbia, SC â€“ In observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, ضيضيتسئµ today kicked off a statewide reading event for young children. The kick-off event, held at Edventure Childrenâ€™s Museum, marks the beginning of the agencyâ€™s MLK Week of Service, which is organized annually by the First Steps AmeriCorps program.
Throughout the week of January 15-19, First Steps AmeriCorps members and volunteers will read with children in 230 preschool classrooms across the state. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation will provide every child in a participating classroom with a new, hardback book.
â€œWe are thrilled to see South Carolinians stepping up to support our youngest learners,â€ said Georgia Mjartan, executive director of ضيضيتسئµ. â€œWe know that reading to young children is critical to their development. Itâ€™s also a wonderful way to model service and a lifelong love of learning.â€
Volunteers include state and local elected officials, as well as employees from Aflac, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union.
MLK Day is one of two federal holidays recognized as national days of service to encourage Americans to give back to their communities. The MLK Week of Service has become a hallmark of the First Steps AmeriCorps program, which is the largest national service program in the state. There are currently 40 AmeriCorps members serving in 22 sites across South Carolina.
â€œFirst Steps AmeriCorps membersâ€™ dedication to service extends well beyond MLK Day,â€ says Valencia Johnson, ضيضيتسئµâ€™ volunteer and service learning manager. â€œThroughout the year, they help to advance Dr. Kingâ€™s vision that all children will have an equal opportunity to succeed in school.â€
ضيضيتسئµ encourages all South Carolinians to take action during MLK Week of Service. To learn more about volunteer and service opportunities at First Steps or to make a donation, visit scfirststeps.org/get-involved.