Indiana Daily Student

Children learn message of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Youth gather at Bloomington's Barnes & Noble

A Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Barnes & Noble in Bloomington Monday brought the holiday into living reality for elementary-aged children.\nThe event was a collaboration between Big Brothers Big Sisters and Indiana Reading Corp., a volunteer reading program BBBS created, and Civic Leadership Development, a community service organization associated with the Kelley School of Business. \nVolunteers from these organizations came together to provide various educational activities for the children. Every child was able to choose a free book and had the opportunity to listen to local celebrities read books about diversity. In addition, volunteers were on hand to read to children, tell children about Martin Luther King Jr. and supervise a disability simulation in which children could ride in a wheelchair or be blindfolded. \n"I learned that (Martin Luther King Jr.) was shot," said Jaslynn Guerrero, a 7-year-old Highland Park second grade student. "He was making changes. A white boy didn't like what he was doing. He liked things the way they were before (Martin Luther King Jr.) made changes."\nGuerrero said she enjoyed the activities at the event and had a lot of fun. Guerrero and the other children had the chance to create a "Dream Chain," a chain made of paper rings on which the children wrote or colored their dreams. One boy wrote that his dream was that there be no more poor people. One girl had a dream that all children could be anything they wanted to be and another girl had a dream of being a princess. \nClifford the Big Red Dog greeted and hugged children as they roamed through the children's section at the store. The children's section was also the location of the celebrity reading. IU athletes and Jane Hoeppner, IU Football Coach Terry Hoeppner's wife, all read books about diversity as their young audience peaked over their shoulders and listened eagerly. \n"We wanted to promote that this as a day on and not a day off," said Jessica Phillips, an IU student and member of CLD. "We have an activity where they can think about what Dr. King would do in a certain situation. They are getting to learn the history behind this day."\nMarisol Carrillo, an Indiana Reading Corp. member, said the kids seemed to have a good time coming together and learning on their day off from school when they could have been staying at home.\n"It's important for kids to read instead of spend so much time watching T.V.," she said.

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