CLAYTON — Nearly 200 people gathered Monday morning at The Clayton Center to make an impact on young people while honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Hosted by the United Way of the Greater Triangle, families and volunteers spent the morning supporting youth literacy. Children in second grade and younger made flashcards and bookmarks and received a new book to take home to boost their emerging reading skills.
Participants also put flashcards, bookmarks and new books in literacy bags that will go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Johnston County.
The Masino family of Garner learned of the event from a posting on the Clayton Moms Club social media site. As daughter Veyda, 2, colored a bookmark, Lauren Masino noted the importance of taking part in a service project on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“We recognize that it’s not just a day off of school or work,” she said. “We’re also celebrating the legacy of a wonderful man.”
Donna Natosi brought along her stepson, Myles Walton, age 4. Natosi said she was looking for a way to make the holiday a family tradition.
“I want this to stick with him,” she said. “By doing something like this, he gets something out of it that isn’t just a reward or treat. We’re here to be nice and give back to others.”
Myles took home a new book about rockets and made craft projects reflecting his new interest.
“I came here so we can help other people,” he said.
Clayton resident Cynthia Toudle was on hand to volunteer her time, joining fellow members of the Psi Sigma Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a Johnston County sorority. Those members made up a large portion of the 70 volunteers who gave their time on Monday.
“I’m so excited to be able to give back to the community,” Toudle said. “We want people to know this is a day to work, not to stay home. It’s a day for us to want to give service and help each other. That was his (King’s) dream.”