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UM News
January 15, 2013


Community members, parents and national-service volunteers will bring the message of Martin Luther King Jr., to elementary students in 13 cities around Montana as part of the third annual MLK Read For Peace project in the coming weeks.

MLK Read For Peace, sponsored by the Montana Campus Compact through the support of the Corporation of National and Community Service, places volunteers in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms to read students an age-appropriate book about the life and work of King. Students then complete an activity ­– a drawing or a poem – and the activities are displayed in a public forum.

The event, part of the national MLK Day of Service, allows students to contemplate the ideas of peace, equality and social justice, while engaging community leaders and partners in meaningful volunteerism. MLK Read For Peace is an event that helps teachers engage students in learning about this iconic leader of the American civil rights movement.

“More than sharing King’s dream of equality through readings, MLK Read For Peace is about honoring King through volunteerism and modeling what it means to be civically engaged,” said Brian Christianson, MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA program manager.

MLK Read For Peace was created in 2011 by Christianson and then-VISTA Bess Pallares and placed 25 volunteers in classrooms with more than 500 students at five Missoula public elementary schools. This year, the event expanded to include schools in Kalispell, Browning, Havre, Polson, Ronan, Missoula,Helena, Great Falls, Butte, Bozeman, Livingston, Billings and Glendive. Volunteers for the event include MTCC staff, AmeriCorps VISTA members, AmeriCorps Senior Corps members, parents and local elected officials including Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Lt. Gov. John Walsh and Missoula Mayor John Engen.

To learn more about MLK Read For Peace events in your community, connect with a project coordinator near you:

The MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA Program, based at The University of Montana, connects campus resources with critical community needs. Members serve in community-based organizations, nonprofits and schools in partnership with 20 Montana college campuses to address local poverty issues such as education, healthy futures, veterans/military families and economic opportunity.

MTCC is Montana’s largest higher education network, working to deepen the ability of colleges and universities to improve community life and educate students for civic and social responsibilities.

For more information call MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA Leader Amanda Opitz at 406-243-5451 or email





Contact: Amanda Opitz, AmeriCorps VISTA leader, Montana Campus Compact at UM, 406-243-5451,