Maggie Sowisdral participating in Read for Peace

HELENA – In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Montana AmeriCorps State and VISTA members organized Read for Peace events across the state this week.

The Governor’s Office of Community Service said many of the events took place today, as schools are closed on Monday.

11 communities in Montana are participating in Read for Peace events across the state.

“Honoring Dr. King this way gives students a chance to reflect on diversity and togetherness, and volunteers a chance to serve others,” ServeMontana Director Dan Ritter said. “Reading to kids makes a difference in their lives, and promotes an important message of peace and equality.”

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In Helena, 14 volunteers, including Helena City Commissioner Andres Haladay, read to over 200 students at Bryant Elementary School, and led students in projects like reading peace poems.

In Missoula, dozens of volunteers read books about Dr. King to over 2,300 students through the efforts of Montana Campus Compact AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members.

Andres Haladay

“I was inspired after talking to other AmeriCorps members who were putting on similar events in Montana, and my colleague Sam Robbins and I knew we needed to make it happen in Helena,” Justice for Montanans AmeriCorps member Gabrielle Crofford.

Crofford helped organize the Helena event. “It’s been a whirlwind, but everyone was super helpful, and I think it was a good thing for the AmeriCorps members, volunteers and the students.”

In recognition of Dr. King’s legacy of service, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a National Day of Service in 1994.

Congress charged the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers AmeriCorps, with leading the effort.