Daring to dream was part of the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and a class project for some Harlem school children last week allowed them to illustrate their vision for the future.
Pupils in Jeanne Jenkins' fifth-grade class at North Harlem Elementary School and eighth-graders in one of Mona Morris' social studies classes at Harlem Middle made "dream quilts" to hang in their schools in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Each child decorated a square with a saying or picture that represented his or her dream for the future. The squares were tied together into a quilt, which will hang in the schools.
Bonnie Vest, a Hands On Harlem AmeriCorps member, conducted the lesson. She showed pupils a video about King and the message he spread in a nonviolent way.
"It was the people who were afraid of change -- and there are still people in America that way today -- that caused the violence," she said.
She also emphasized that Dr. King wanted to be remembered for his service to others.
Vest said it is important for children to become involved in community outreach projects. If people start volunteering as children, she said, community service is second nature for them as adults.
"They can change the world. It doesn't matter how old you are," she said.
Michael Williams, 10, said he wanted to serve in the military and "be a policeman to save the country and lock up criminals."
He wrote about his dreams on his square and drew pictures of a badge and handcuffs.
Hannah McCoy, 10, said she would like to help children by becoming a teacher. She decorated her square with an American flag. Hannah said she would not be able to be friends with some of her classmates if it had not been for Dr. King's legacy.
"He's, like, one of the best leaders in history," she said.
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