An event honoring the work and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held last week at Vashon Youth and Family Services’ Family Place — complete with music, arts and crafts and stories — drew more than two dozen adults and 33 children who attended to commemorate the civil rights leader.
Two Family Place parents, one a violinist and the other a cello player, performed songs including “What a Wonderful World,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and “Stand by Me” for the group in the main play area, which was decorated with images of Dr. King posted with quotes attributed to many of his landmark speeches and sermons. Children helped color in images that were later transformed into a mural that has been painted just past the main entrance of the building. At story-time, they were read the book, “I am Martin Luther King Jr.,” by author Brad Meltzer, learning about King’s momentous life and his contributions to advancing civil rights in America.
“Everyone participated in making this event successful and fun for the kids,” said Belinda Olvera-Jovanovich, the director of Family Place who organized the event, which was made possible by a $250 United Way MLK Day of Service grant.
“All the families that participated were very dedicated and really felt a lot of passion for honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” she said. “Through the activities, they got really into it.”
Olvera-Jovanovich noted her gratitude for the help she received from parents to put on the event as well as their interest in learning how to better talk to their young children about race and racism. Combating hate, she said, is why such events are important.
“We’re still battling for equality, really. It’s an ongoing challenge, and I think for our younger kids — if we can raise them to know about MLK and what he fought for — I think the more we teach them that, I think the better the future can be,” Olvera-Jovanovich said.