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DHS News January 2012    

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DHS AmeriCorps/KEYS members participate in Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activities

Approximately 90 DHS AmeriCorps/KEYS (Knowledge to Empower Youths to Success) members commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2012 by participating in two service projects to benefit children in Allegheny County.

On January 16, 2012, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 87 KEYS members packaged 365 science kits for use in schools throughout Pennsylvania. The kits were packaged under the direction of ASSET (Achieving Student Success through Excellence in Teaching) and will be used by school districts, charter schools and private schools across Pennsylvania to improve elementary science education. Established in 1994, ASSET currently serves more than 160 school districts, charter schools and private schools impacting 4,400 teachers and 180,000 students across Pennsylvania.

KEYS AmeriCorps members during 2012 MLK Day of Service
KEYS AmeriCorps members ‘get things done’ at ASSET Inc during the 2012 MLK Day of Service.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day ActivitiesFor the second activity, scheduled to be completed by the first week of February, KEYS teamed up with the Pittsburgh chapter of Project Linus, a program inspired by the PEANUTS® character created by Charles Schulz. The Linus Project’s sole mission is to make blankets for children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need. Twenty-eight KEYS members have been assisting 300 – 350 youth in making no-sew, fleece blankets for donation to local hospitals and residential centers. By the end of the project, approximately 130 blankets will have been completed and distributed to facilities such as Children’s Hospital, Mercy Hospital NICU, Bradley Center, Auberle Home and the Mars Home for Youth.

AmeriCorps/KEYS Member Development Specialist, Jamie Walker, views the activities as a great success. “Our 87 KEYS AmeriCorps members and staff can be proud that our service activities on Martin Luther King Jr. Day may provide a spark in the lives of children. It is our hope that the science kits we packaged will ignite the imagination of students who will learn hands-on science in the classroom, and that teaching youth how to make blankets for other children will inspire in them a desire to help others in need.”

AmeriCorps, with six locations in the Pittsburgh area, provides education awards and real world experience in exchange for a year or two of community service. KEYS members participate in community service activities such as mentoring, tutoring, and assisting in schools and community-based organizations. DHS offers opportunities for AmeriCorps members to serve full-time or part-time as a member of KEYS. There is also a summer program where individuals can serve full-time for 11 weeks.

More information about the Allegheny County DHS KEYS Service Corps

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