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Madison-area middle and high school youth will come together for 2023 MLK Youth Call to Service


Middle and high school youth across Dane County will gather at Madison’s Central Library for “a day on, not off” on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Monday, Jan. 16 — for the 2023 MLK Youth Call to Service, which will be an in-person event this year after going virtual the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The King Coalition will once again host the event in partnership with the City of Madison, Dane County, MSCR, Madison Out of School Time (MOST), Madison Public Library, United Way of Dane County, and the Urban League of Greater Madison.

“The event will be taking place at the Central Library and it will include four rounds of workshops. Lunch will be provided for the students, and there will be some guests welcoming the students at the top of the program,” Andrew Schilcher, director of middle school programs for the Urban League of Greater Madison, tells Madison365.

Introductory remarks will be provided by Dr. Ruben Anthony, Jr., president & CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison and Dr. Carlton Jenkins, superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District. The agenda will include a warm-up activity and workshops including Community Healing Circles, Defining Your Destiny, Call to Service, Pre-College Fair, and more.

The four different organizations presenting workshops to the students who will be in attendance will include Urban Triage, Journey Mental Health, Seein’ is Believin’ and Eubanks Success, LLC.

Prenicia Clifton, founder of–Seein’ is Believin’, LLC will talk about “Preparing for your Future.” Brandi Grayson, founder and CEO of Urban Triage, will be hosting a workshop with the theme of “Civil Rights Movements & The Role of Marching,” Jamaal Eubanks of Eubanks Success, LLC will be hosting a workshop called “Determination to Succeed,” and Armando Hernandez of Journey Mental Health will be speaking on the topic of “From Self-Care to Resiliency.”

Clifton’s Seein’ is Believin’ organization is committed to improving educational spaces through a culturally responsive lens and educating communities on the best ways to support the holistic safety of youth. Clifton is also part of the planning committee for the MLK Youth Day of Service event.

Prenicia Clifton

“The MLK Youth Day of Service does not only provide an opportunity for youth to serve and learn about MLK’s legacy, but it also provides an opportunity for the community to pour into our youth,” Clifton tells Madison365. “These workshops are filled with hope, altruism, and guidance. I’m honored to continue to partner in this program.”

Eubanks Solutions, LLC’s mission is to “strive every day to inspire and motivate individuals, companies, community organizations, and schools with a primary focus on at-risk youth between the ages of 11-21 to reach for the stars beyond their dreams.” 

“It’s my goal to get more youth to get out of survival mode and start really thinking about and planning for their future. This is another great opportunity for me to do that,” Eubanks tells Madison365.

Jamaal Eubanks

After the workshops are done towards the end of the program there will be an optional student march around the state Capitol from the Central Library.

“The march will take place in that inner loop and then they will go down to the Overture Center where students can participate in the freedom sing-in which is that kind of warm-up part to the city-county observance that formally starts at six o’clock,” Schilcher says.

Registration for the event is now closed. As of Monday, Schilcher says that they had about 200 middle school-aged youth registered for the event from over 20 schools, groups, and organizations from across the area.

The front of the t-shirts for this year’s MLK Service Day event was designed by a group of students at O’Keeffe Middle School this year.

“I think another cool part about this year’s event – and something I hope will be the first step in building a movement to get more youth voices into the planning process for this – is that we have a group of students in our leadership development class from O’Keeffe Middle School’s eighth grade collaborating to design the T-shirts for this year,” Schilcher says.

While some young people will be taking Monday off for the upcoming MLK Day, other young people will be spending a day exploring service and activism as they honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I definitely like the fact that we’re able to convene students to participate in meaningful activities on a day off of school,” Schilcher says. “That definitely has long-term value. But I think the bigger value is actually the workshop providers that we are able to partner with and bring in giving students who might not have access to their opportunities …  and the opportunity to experience some of these organizations because they also have their own programming.

“So this can also kind of open doors for students to tap into other resources they might not have known about, and have a really kind of meaningful conversation about the topics that we’re covering.”