JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - City Year, a national organization for young people that works in high-need urban schools, deploys volunteers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to beautify and revitalize communities and schools.
In Jacksonville, 400 volunteers gave up their day off from school and work to make a difference on Monday at Ed White High School.
"If you're able to make the change you should do it because we all have the opportunity to do it," said Sydnee Wilkerson, a senior at Ed White High.
Students lent a helping hand on their day off alongside City Year Jacksonville and other community members.
The school hosted an MLK Day of Service program before taking to the school to work on landscaping, painting over 100 murals, and revitalizing learning spaces throughout the high school.
Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti (pictured) was the keynote speaker and participated as a volunteer.
"There's no doubt that my own children look at themselves and look at others much differently than two generations before them, but with that said there is still so much work to do," Vitti said.
Almost 100 members of City Year Jacksonville serve full-time throughout the school year at eight local schools as tutors, mentors and role models for students who face the greatest risk of dropping out.
Across the country, service days provide an opportunity for volunteers to help make schools a better place.
"I think the students get out of this seeing young people who care about them that are working hard, and it gives them a fantastic example of what their lives can be in the future," said Kim Ward of City Year Jacksonville.
Ward said each day they try to serve others but especially on MLK Day they try to reach out to represent what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for -- helping those in need.
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