“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 On Monday, January 17, 20 members of the Young Professionals Network (YPN) joined thousands of volunteers as part of the 16th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, the largest King Day event in the nation.

YPN volunteers spent the morning helping Philadelphia Reads with their project at Girard College, which served as the signature site for the day of service. Under the guidance of Jim Remson, Book Bank Director at Philadelphia Reads, the YPN group checked the books for quality and then boxed the books based on genre and age group.

“Working side by side with my friends and colleagues from YPN gave me a sense of hope that our city, which is great already, can be even better when people make the commitment to serve others,” said volunteer Jill Stankiewicz.  

By the end of the day, nearly 3,000 books were ready to be brought to the Book Bank.  One of the missions of Philadelphia Reads is to have a fully stocked Book Bank where Philadelphia area teachers can come in and browse the Bank by age and genre. Teachers can then borrow books to stock their libraries. This goes a long way in promoting literacy in Philadelphia.

One section of the Book Bank even includes Books on Tape. “My favorite part of the day was being able to record the books that I donated as part of the event.  I can see how that would bring real value to a child who is learning how to read, because I used books on tape myself growing up,” explained Josh Heebner, who took part in his first YPN Volunteer event.

After the books were packed up, a caravan of cars driven by volunteers made their way to MLK High School where the Book Bank is located. This was done in conjunction with a test-drive promotion from General Motors where YPN volunteers were able to aid in the transport of books all while enjoying the ride of a brand new car.

Thank you to the volunteers that made this a successful event.  View photos from the event

Submitted by: Dan Brown, Account Executive, Johnson Kendall & Johnson, Inc. and Martha Heuser, Administrator, Funds Development & Assistance,The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church