Jacob Lurye’s MLK Day experience with Generation On

Volunteering with Generation On at PS 57 in East Harlem on Martin Luther King Day was a different sort of service experience. I, along with a group of other Friends students, acted as a “volunteer leader,” leading tables at which members of the East Harlem community could complete service activities (like decorating bracelets or scarves for children with HIV/AIDs, making toys for dogs and cats in a nearby animal shelter, or putting together scrapbooks describing the importance of MLK day).

Our role in the service wasn’t directly “serving;” rather, it was helping other people, people possibly less exposed to the idea of service than we are, do their own service for the community — but what we were doing, helping others serve, was in itself a sort of service. This whole multi-layered, serving-by-helping-others-serve concept was what made my experience with Generation On really unique. I didn’t feel the whole time like the community members necessarily needed my help — the activities were for the most part simple and straightforward. Nonetheless, I found it gratifying to play whatever small part I did play in helping others give back to their community.

One thought on “Jacob Lurye’s MLK Day experience with Generation On

  1. Jacob,
    I too appreciated the approach Generation On took for this event. The real gift the organizers and their volunteers gave the community of East Harlem was a chance to come together and over the course of several hours give back to others in need. Over 15 organizations were represented at the event. Each activity booth provided some sort of hands-on opportunity to connect and serve with these various organizations. My favorite activity was making fleece hats for clients of the Olivieri Drop-in Shelter. I had never made one and the volunteers really had to walk me through the steps. Your activity table perhaps did not require as much assistance but having you there to answer questions and re-stock supplies was important. It takes a lot of people to pull off an event of that size. Thanks for giving up your school holiday to serve.

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