January 17, 2011 by staff 

MLK QUOTES, One of my favorite MLK “guillemets’’EST this: Everyone can be great … because anybody can serve. You do not have a college degree to serve. You ‘ t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

I think this project (Turning Point) is an excellent example of this quote in action. What began as an idea has snowballed in partnerships that will last and really make an impact at Turning Point Academy.

Stephen Norton, 24, was born 18 years after King’s death. He grew up in Peoria, Ill., and spent a year in Charlotte working for Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps as a volunteer. He and his girlfriend, Mary Bumgardner AmeriCorps volunteers, designed the outdoor classroom that the group will begin to address today.

Service was a part of my life since I was young. Teachings of Martin Luther King influenced me greatly. Just the idea to watch for your neighbors and be ready to sacrifice things in your life to help others – and standing for the people when you see inequality – inspired me to help give people a voice.

As an immigration lawyer Charlotte, Jordan Forsythe, 38, had a lot of what the king facing in its efforts to win equal rights and a voice for the poor. She grew up in New Orleans, where she remembers the huge parades to celebrate the legacy of King. A member of Temple Israel, Forsythe is on the organizing committee for the project today.

The service is very important to me. Currently, our immigration laws, I am reminded daily of the problems Dr. King. Most of my customers have no right to vote. It is extremely restrictive.

I spend most of my time as a lawyer in deportation defense. This can be extremely rewarding, very disappointing – it’s always very moving, regardless of the outcome. The work raises my respect and admiration for what Dr. King was able to accomplish, even with all the challenges he faced. I laws I must follow the rules of court are often adverse to my clients. It hurts like a human being when he is not a positive resolution. But I’m lucky. I’m not facing the fear that Dr. King faced. It was an incredible person to resist that.

Without doubt, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud of the scene that takes place today at Turning Point Academy, the CMS alternative school for students with severe discipline problems.

On this 25th anniversary of the federal holiday honoring King, more than 150 volunteers from different faiths, ages and colors will assemble to build garden beds, trellises, and compost bins for an outdoor classroom so that these students could find an appreciation of nature – and ultimately find their way back into a traditional classroom.

Volunteers will also paint the gymnasium bleachers. They have other plans for the school – including corridor wall painting, renovation of a teacher’s lounge – which had to be delayed after the snow last week turned this holiday into a day of makeup students.

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