Martin Luther King Day presents an excellent opportunity to uphold the AmeriCorps mission of strengthening communities through public service. The Nevada Outdoor School (a BLM and AmeriCorps partner) organized a MLK Day Community Cultural Fair, aimed at engaging youth and adults in a celebration of Winnemucca’s diverse local culture. Held at the Armory Building on Monday, January 18, 2010, the afternoon fair featured many cultural groups and organizations. Each group was invited to host a table and offer an educational activity for youth, aged five to twelve.
At the table they hosted, GBI AmeriCorps members Allie Henson and Shannon Henke showed kids how to use recycled paper to make origami pygmy rabbits, an activity that could be translated into a simple educational message. Making the origami rabbits proved very popular with the target audience. This fun activity created an opportunity to discuss the importance of conserving habitat for sensitive species, such as the pygmy rabbit. Allie and Shannon also presented an informative poster, aimed at education outreach.
In addition to hosting their own table, Allie and Shannon also worked with the BLM’s Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist, Carmen Thomason, for the event. Carmen’s activity involved a message of fire safety, and kids learned the proper way to build and put out a camp fire.
After enjoying various activities and a free spaghetti lunch, the participants were ready to volunteer at different service projects for the rest of the afternoon. Overall, the MLK Day Cultural Fair was a great success. It created a forum for engaging the community through education and service on this important national holiday.
– Shannon Henke