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Saturday, January 18 through Monday, January 20, 2014  

Sign up to volunteer for the 12th annual Decatur Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project and do home repairs and yard work for Decatur senior citizens to help them live safely, comfortably and affordably in their homes. Volunteers may work one or more shifts:

Saturday, January 18, 9am to 1pm and 1pm to 5pm
Sunday, January 19, 1pm to 5pm
Monday, January 20, 9am to 1pm and 1pm to 5pm

Please sign up in advance. Volunteers meet 30 minutes before the start of each shift at the Solarium at the Community Center of South Decatur, 321 W. Hill St.

Volunteer positions include home repairs, yard work/landscaping, cleaning gutters, transporting materials, monitoring and organizing tool inventory and more. Donations of sandwiches and desserts are also appreciated. Volunteers must be at least 12 years old, unless volunteering with an organization such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. All volunteers must complete a waiver and release (volunteers under 18 must have form signed by parent or guardian). You may download as a Word or PDF documents and bring it with you to the Project.

Please help us be environmentally friendly and bring your own reusable water bottle. If possible, bring your own home repair and yard work tools and work gloves. Please be sure to dress for the weather.

Decatur’s Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project embodies the teachings of Rev. Dr. King and the spirit of the King Holiday, the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. For more information on the Project or to donate, go to www.mlkserviceproject.com. To find out how you can be involved, contact Lee Ann Harvey, at leeann.harvey@decaturga.com or 678-553-6548 (office) or 770-652-8593 (cell).   

Successful 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project

2012 MLK - Repair Front Porch

Health. Safety. Affordability. Partnerships. Community. These are the first words that come to mind regarding the impact of the Decatur Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project. This is the 11th year of the three-day weekend project to help Decatur’s senior citizens by providing home repairs and yard work. It sounds like a simple idea but it takes a complex structure of people to make it happen. This year’s project was a year in planning and approximately 60 people had leadership roles in development of the project and directing over 1,100 volunteers who worked one or more shifts throughout the weekend. This year’s project was extremely ambitious and included repairs on 26 homes (17 standard projects and 9 “Small Projects” that never turned out to be as small as originally thought). All but one of those homes plus 9 additional homes had extensive yard work resulting in a total of 35 senior citizens’ households benefitting from the project.

There is a lot of overlap of health, safety and affordability in many of the repairs and yard work done by the volunteers, from youth groups doing yard work to skilled tradespeople who do plumbing and electrical work. Some of the many tasks done by the volunteers who donated their time include:
• Constructed 4 handicap ramps
• Corrected a water pressure problem that caused the bathtub to take one hour to fill up
• Made countless electrical and plumbing repairs
• Performed numerous carpentry projects, including replacing rotted wood in subfloors, replacing rotted deck boards, and replacing floor boards
• Fixed broken door hinges and repaired and replaced doors and windows
• Installed handrails and other handicap accessibility retrofits
• Replaced front porch roof
• Installed ceiling fans
• Contributed to our environment through our relentless attempts to eradicate invasive plants at these homes, especially in the removal of privet, English Ivy and more
• Removed “former treasures” (AKA junk) from attics, basements and back yards
• Dramatically improved the energy performance and indoor air quality of 3 homes by sealing and insulating ductwork and eliminating drafts in attics and crawl spaces.
• Assessed the safety of combustion equipment to ensure poisonous gases like carbon monoxide don't enter the living space
• Insulated 5 homes with a generous donation from Green Day Energy Company
• Brought flues at two homes to code to prevent the homes from being condemned
• Made major renovations to a bathroom, including widening the doorway, to make it accessible for the senior homeowner’s son who is confined to a wheelchair.

Partnerships abound in this project. In addition to the partnerships with organizations like Southface Energy Institute, the Project has developed a phenomenal partnership with the Edgewood Lowe’s for a number of years. The majority of supplies are purchased at Lowe’s a couple of days before the project (at a store discount). Once work begins, projects tend to change and new materials are necessary. Edgewood Lowe’s allowed the Project to station volunteers at the store to take calls from House Captains requesting additional materials. Volunteer drivers then took materials to the House Captains. Through a partnership with Decatur Fire Department, firefighters and Fire CAPS (Citizens Assisting Public Safety) installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors or replaced the batteries with 10-year batteries. Tools, including a seemingly endless supply of rakes, were borrowed from the nonprofit Atlanta Community Tool Bank.

Community is at the heart of the project. Volunteers included six different groups from Decatur High School; three colleges (Agnes Scott College, Oglethorpe University, and Morehouse College); and numerous places of worship. Professional electricians and plumbers donated services, including Bray Electrical Services and M. Cary and Daughters Plumbing, for weeks leading up to the project and throughout the weekend. Volunteers were fed breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Monday and snacks all three days thanks to donations from various places of worship (including an amazing breakfast on Saturday from All Souls Fellowship), restaurant (including a substantial donation from Downtown Decatur Chick-fil-A), individuals, book clubs, neighborhood associations and grocery stores. A favorite partnership is with the Decatur area Girl Scouts who have made sack lunches over the last several years for all of the Monday volunteers. Lunches included a sandwich, chips, fruit, and dessert. The bags were individually decorated with drawings, stickers, and words of encouragement and carried a label that stated:
We appreciate all your hard work! Made with love by Decatur Girl Scouts.

You can’t get any better motivation than that during the last hours finishing up a multitude of repair tasks and trying to fill one more yard waste bag and pull out that last bit of ivy. The weekend concluded with a celebratory dinner donated by the Community Center of South Decatur (CCSD). The Project is extremely grateful to our partner CCSD’s continual support by also allowing the use of the Solarium in Oakhurst as the base of operations throughout the weekend.

Decatur’s senior citizens are the foundation of what our community is today. The Project leadership and volunteers are honored to join the community in showing our appreciation and giving back to them. Decatur’s Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project embodies the teachings of Rev. Dr. King and the spirit of the King Holiday, the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. Mark your calendars to join the volunteers next year, Jan. 18-21, 2014. For further information, contact Lee Ann Harvey at leeann.harvey@decaturga.com or 678-553-6548 or go to www.mlkserviceproject.com.

Last updated: 11/4/2013 4:45:12 PM