Fourth Annual MLK Read for Peace to Engage Nine Missoula-Area Schools

January 14, 2014

MISSOULA – Missoula citizens, college students and National Service volunteers will bring the message of Martin Luther King Jr. to hundreds of elementary school children in 30 classrooms as part of the Fourth Annual MLK Read for Peace on Friday, Jan. 17.

MLK Read for Peace, a collaboration between Montana Campus Compact (MTCC) and local schools, with support from the Corporation of National and Community Service, places volunteers in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms to read and discuss an age-appropriate book about the life and work of King. Volunteers then lead students through an activity – creating a drawing or a poem – which are displayed at the Missoula Public Library downtown branch for the month of February.

“Dr. King inspired a nation to live up to its values and ideals, said Dean McGovern, MTCC executive director. “This week we will see volunteers spark that inspiration in young grade school students.”

The event allows students to contemplate the ideas of peace, equality and social justice while enjoying a long weekend in observation of King’s birthday on Monday, Jan. 20. Though King’s work is not a required part of the elementary curriculum in most places, many teachers choose to include MLK in their January coursework. MLK Read for Peace is an event that helps area teachers engage students in learning about this iconic leader of the American Civil Rights movement.

Last year during MLK Read for Peace in Missoula, 26 volunteers read to more than 600 students at seven MCPS elementary schools. This year, the event has expanded to nine local elementary schools and nearly 800 students. Volunteers for this event include AmeriCorps VISTA members; Senior Corps volunteers from Missoula Aging Services; University of Montana students, faculty and staff; community volunteers; and local elected officials. This year marks the 28th observation of King’s birthday as a federal holiday.

For additional information or to learn about Read for Peace events in other parts of the state, call MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA Program Manager Brian Christianson at 406-243-5177 or email christianson@mtcompact.org.

The Montana Campus Compact works to improve communities and educate students for their civic and social responsibilities. MTCC member campuses include Aaniiih Nakoda College, Blackfeet Community College, Carroll College, Dawson Community College, Flathead Valley Community College, Fort Peck Community College, Great Falls College Montana State University, Helena College UM, Little Big Horn College, Miles Community College, Montana State University-Bozeman, MSU-Billings, MSU-Northern, Montana Tech of UM, Rocky Mountain College, Salish Kootenai College, Stone Child College, UM in Missoula, UM Western and the University of Great Falls. MTCC also works with campuses in neighboring regional states.

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Contact: Brian Christianson, MTCC VISTA Program Manager, 406-243-5177, x8, christianson@mtcompact.org.