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AEP Ohio helps support MLK Day community service projects

by on January 14, 2013
AEP Ohio is a corporate partner in ServeOhio, a commission on service and volunteerism, which has announced mini-grant awards to support seven local Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service projects on Jan. 21. 

AEP Ohio is a corporate partner in ServeOhio, the governor-appointed commission on service and volunteerism, which has announced mini-grant awards to support seven local Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service projects on Jan. 21.

The grants, made possible through Stewards of Service corporate partners AEP Ohio and Honda of America Mfg., Inc., honor Dr. King’s legacy by increasing economic opportunities through service and volunteer activities. Service projects will take place in two communities within AEP Ohio service territory, Columbus and McArthur, Ohio, as well as in Akron, Cleveland, Lebanon, Mansfield and Toledo. 

Each project commits to bringing volunteers together to create or improve community assets or infrastructure, and supports local community engagement that advances economic opportunity. The various projects include collaborative partnerships among businesses and nonprofits. Finally, they all include an education component to create long-term, sustainable change on issues and people.

“As the need for service continues to grow, we honor Dr. King by supporting local organizations that give back and make a real impact on our communities,” said William Hall, ServeOhio executive director. “Ohio volunteers will use the power of service to strengthen economic security and make a difference in our local communities.”

Each ServeOhio grant totals between $800 and $1,000. The projects in AEP Ohio service territory are:

  • Columbus — HandsOn Central Ohio: The goal of HandsOn Central Ohio’s (HOCO) MLK Day 2013 service project is to mobilize youth and teach them how to lead others in service projects to address local community needs. They will partner with the King Arts Complex for their annual MLK Day Open House which traditionally draws 5,000 youth and families. HOCO will provide leadership training on tools needed to lead service projects. Other plans include youth decorating a bus seat to symbolize Rosa Parks’ courage, creating flower bouquets for patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, assembling fleece blankets for residents of the YWCA Family Center, and creating cards of thanks for American troops serving overseas.
  • McArthur — Sojourners Care Network: Vinton County is the least diverse county in Ohio, where 97.6% of the population is Caucasian. Sojourners Care Network spearheads the only MLK Day Celebration and community service project in the county. On Jan. 21, 20 teachers, 50 Sojourners staff and 40 community volunteers will provide services to 828 elementary school children. They will assemble MLK skits, highlight tolerance, provide Civil Rights history, and use the “MLK Day Express” — a one-engine, two-car train — to share Dr. King’s message and engage students.


Other projects awarded grants in the program are:

  • Akron — University of Akron, Department of Student Life, Civic Engagement Programs: 50 University of Akron students will volunteer with Nazareth Housing to revitalize neighborhoods across the city of Akron. Volunteers will construct and rebuild several low-income properties that require interior and exterior construction/demolition work, along with landscaping.
  • Cleveland — City Year Cleveland: City Year will organize 450 volunteer youth, parents and citizens at five schools and community organizations for a “MLK Day of Service.” Volunteers will organize and participate in poem and essay contests, repaint classrooms, perform basic maintenance, beautify central meeting areas and make 200 hygiene and support kits for military servicemembers.
  • Lebanon — The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Coalition of Lebanon, Ohio, Inc.: 125 volunteers will host a community meal, paint the veterans’ hall at the American Legion post, set up local nonprofit resource tables at the host site space, organize a collection drive and stuff envelopes for the Child Advocacy Center. An additional 125 volunteers will be organized to continue the service throughout the next year.
  • Mansfield — SPARC: The Big Red Bookshelf will put books into the homes of young, low-income children ages 0-7 and provide free literacy screenings. The first book drive will kick off Jan. 21 at the MLK Memorial, and several locations will host ongoing book drives where children can continually take books home to keep. Screening tools and information tool kits for parents will also be provided.
  • Toledo — University Church: Volunteers from a designated elementary school, University Church and A Renewed Mind will create a “Parent Zone” at the school. They will develop, paint and decorate a community area for parents to minimize barriers between home and school. Information will be provided on updated community services, emergency assistance, job training, health services and the history of Dr. King’s legacy.
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