• Youth share dreams of future
    By Gordon Dritschilo
     | January 19,2010
    Cassandra Hotaling / Rutland Herald

    Sasha Chacon holds up her “I have a dream” peace flag that she made at the Boys & Girls Club in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Rutland on Monday

    Everybody had a dream at the Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County on Monday.

    Members of the club observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day by watching a documentary about the civil rights leader, writing letters to soldiers serving overseas and making "peace flags" describing their dreams for a better future.

    Youngsters from the clubs in Brandon and Forest Park attended the Boys & Girls Club on Merchants Row in Rutland on Monday. Volunteers from Rutland High School's lacrosse team cooked lunch for the club.

    The activities were planned by AmeriCorps members working at the clubs in Rutland and Brandon. AmeriCorps observes a "National Day of Service" on Martin Luther King Jr. Day each year.

    "It's not necessarily to commemorate what he did, but it's to keep his dream moving forward," said Jon Young, an AmeriCorps member who works out of the Brandon club.

    Terri Daugherty, another AmeriCorps member, referred to a quote from King — "Life's most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?"

    The letters to service people was conceived as the main service portion of the event.

    "It's a way of showing them that in giving back, every little bit counts," AmeriCorps member Katya Strohl said.

    The "peace flags" were based on Tibetan prayer flags. They bore the words "I have a dream that" across the top and the children at the club filled in the bottom. AmeriCorps member Savannah Greenbaum said the idea was to make the children feel empowered that they can make a difference.

    The dreams filled in ranged from the broad — an end to war, an end to hunger, "that there will be sharing" — to the personal, such as passing the third grade or "I will have a Dad that spends time with me."

    Sixteen-year-old Kaitlynn Rabtoy of Rutland wrote on hers that she dreamed of an end to hate.

    "I don't allow myself to hate people," she said. "Hate brings a lot of the problems that we have."

    Commemorations of King around the state continue today, when former Selma, Ala., Mayor James Perkins speaks at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton.

    Perkins was among the first black students to attend Selma's A.G Parrish High School following the mandatory integration of the city's schools. He went on to become Selma's first black mayor in 2000, unseating former segregationist Joe Smitherman, who had held the office since 1965.

    Perkins speech and related presentations begin at 12:45 p.m. in the Chase Community Center.


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