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Kids mark MLK Day with community service

Volunteering encouraged during 'Day On, Not a Day Off'

Families, volunteers and several community organizations came together Monday at Peter Howell Elementary School to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and to give back to the community. 

The event, called "Day On, Not a Day Off," was sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona.

"Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not just a day off from school, it is having an impact on the community to get out and make a difference," said Kristen Culliney, chief operating officer for Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona.

The event began with U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva swearing in 70 AmeriCorps members, and was followed by people creating crafts for Beads of Courage, Ben's Bells, Volunteer Southern Arizona, Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Red Cross, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Learn and Serve Arizona. 

The crafts ranged from greeting cards for troops overseas, stringing beads together for Beads of Courage to help children with serious illnesses, and painting chimes for Ben's Bells.

"There are many organizations and projects the kids can do here that don't take a lot of time, it is just a simple way to give back," said Culliney.

"This is so rewarding, we get to give back to the community and it doesn't get much better than that, it gets kids out there on this day off from school," said Shannon Archuleta, GSSA membership experience specialist. Archuleta was in charge of helping to make chew toys for dogs.

As the sun peeked through the clouds, King's legacy was felt at the school.

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"Martin Luther King Jr. is a living legacy not an iconic bookmark, he is still very much alive.  We have these challenges today and the best way to overcome them is to invest in the nation's assets and that is its people," Grijalva said.

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Rachel Cabakoff/TucsonSentinel.com

Shannon Archuleta, of the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, helps a Brownie make a dog toy.