By Tula Childs

This year’s 2019 annual Day of Service was held at Lower Merion High School to commemorate the esteemed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here, hundreds of Lower Merion School District (LMSD) members and community representatives gathered to share their love of outreach, community, and service to others. From Build On’s clothing drive to Best Buddy’s card making, the environment of the Lower Merion cafeteria was certainly one that everyone wanted to be a part of and appreciated.

In my particular opinion, a specific organization stood out- Admiration For Africa (AFA). Admiration for Africa is a student-run drive aimed to provide underserved infants and children in Africa with the supplies needed to thrive. This mission was sparked by my travels to Senegal and The Gambia, Africa this past summer to participate in a global field experience. I am adamant about incorporating my service and immersion of the Gambian culture into my daily American life. I feel it is my duty to return the gratitude, warmth, and acceptance that was bestowed upon me during my travels and using this philosophy I launched my senior year project, creating a ‘Books and Blankets’ Drive, with all proceeds returning to Africa. The AFA collects books for children ages 3 -12 to be donated to a Gambian library as well as collecting blankets and clothing for newborn infants to assist midwives.

           While collecting both book and supply donations, AFA sponsored a fun activity for the children who came to Lower Merion for MLK Day.  At the table, many took advantage of the opportunity to create bookmarks for the children in Africa; as with each book donation received, a custom bookmark will accompany the donations as well. With glitter glue, stickers, tissue paper, and more, it is clear that these bookmarks will serve as tools of encouragement and spread the support and love from our district across intercontinental communities. Admiration for Africa truly encapsulates the LMSD motto “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve,” and with the help of the MLK bookmarks and daily book & blanket donations, it is certain that is being accomplished!