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Last Friday, January 17, Canton City School District students, along with Andrea Ramsey, Coord. of Equity & Inclusion, organized a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. service day project to clean the Monroe Community Center. The students volunteered their time to paint and organize an incentive store for youth.  The project was one of just ten projects in nine cities sponsored through a grant from ServeOhio, the Ohio Commission on Service and Volunteerism.

The Monroe Community Center at 2000 Third Street NE, Canton, OH,  is a former fire station that was repurposed into a neighborhood community center under the direction of community organizer, and center director, Joyce Sumlin. It has served community members of all ages with programs such as food distribution and pantry, seniors garden club, neighborhood association meetings, and youth mentoring and activities.  The current board is in the process of revitalizing community programming. 

The grant was awarded based on the goal of bringing volunteers together to create or improve community assets or infrastructure.  The various projects include collaborative partnerships among businesses and nonprofits. Finally, they all include an education component based on Dr. King’s message of peace, unity, and service to create long-term, sustainable change on issues and people.   

Students involved with the Monroe Center project included members of the CCSD social justice team, district student leadership team, and members of the Jobs for Ohio Graduates program from Choices High School.  Community organizations who participated in the event include the Mary Church Terrell Club and Slicktalx. Following the work, students engaged in a discussion about the work and ideals of Dr. King, and a brainstorming session with Monroe Center staff about possibilities for future youth and community programming.

Picture are:  Samuel Lee, Monroe Center Board President, Sandra Page, volunteer, Andrea Ramsey, and Pastor Jim Ruffin, Center Director.