Community service in spotlight for MLK Day

Coatesville students gather to honor Dr. King, work for community

By Lauren Parker- Gill, Staff writer, The Times


Volunteers were ready to begin painting at the Coatesville Memorial Community Center, Monday as they began their day of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Photo courtesy of: The Coatesville Youth Initiative.

COATESVILLE – More than 200 people gathered at Coatesville Area Senior High School Monday morning to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a community service awards presentation and a day of service at locations throughout the city, with the help of volunteers.

The day began with an awards ceremony that honored outstanding citizens in the Coatesville area for their service to others in the community throughout the year.

10th-grader of Coatesville High School, Lester Thomas- Glee, was among the recipients of the award. Thomas- Glee was nominated by Johnna Goodridge of the COAD Group. Goodridge met Thomas- Glee when she selected the Coatesville Public Library as a meeting location for the Strengthening Families program. Thomas- Glee began volunteering with the program by setting up for those meetings and helping with child care as needed.

“I nominated Lester because of his initiative, respect and compassion. He is such an integral part of our team.” Goodridge said, as she presented him with the award.


Lester Thomas- Glee, a 10th-grader at Coatesville High School, received an award for his outstanding service in his community at the Coatesville Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service award ceremony. Pictured with his mother Erika Thomas- Glee and Johnna Goodridge, who nominated and presented him with the award.

The following people were also honored for their outstanding community service: Pastor Randall Harris, Jane Johnson, Chaya Scott, Mike Jacoby, Malcolm Craig, John Pawlowski, Mike Zuiratt, Marie Lawson, Michele Ollis, the City of Coatesville Police Department and Dr. Lut Nero.

Using a famous quote by Martin Luther King Jr.: Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” The Coatesville MLK Day of Service planning committee organized the day of service to take place following the presentation of awards.

Over 220 volunteers were dispersed at 10 a.m. to a dozen organizations in Coatesville. Locations included the Art Partners Studio, Arts Holding Hands and Hearts, Bridge Academy and Community Center, Coatesville Memorial Community Center, Coatesville Public Library, Coatesville Youth Initiative, CYWA, Home of the Sparrow, Catherine Twomey House, Friendship Elementary School, Good works, Harrison House, and the YMCA after school program.


Michele Ollis and Francine Norman helped with clean up and demo of Home of the Sparrow, Catherine Twomey House on Lincoln Highway in Coatesville.

Service duties included anything from cleaning and organizing inventory and supplies, to changing light bulbs, painting and even demolishing walls and woodwork.

High school students Rya Jones, Annie Talbot and Sabrina Mayen helped sort books and return them to shelves at Friendship Elementary School’s library, along with principal Brad Bentman and his family.

“I think getting out into the community and helping is a great idea.” Jones said of Coatesville’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

The Coatesville Youth Initiative co-sponsored the day of service along with Art Partners Studio, Arts Holding Hands and Hearts, Brandywine Health Foundation, Brandywine YMCA, The Bridge Academy and Community Center, CPR-3, Chester County Juvenile Probation, City of Coatesville, City of Coatesville Police Department, Coatesville Kids to College, Coatesville Area Public Library, Coatesville Area School District and The Movement.

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