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TFA Connecticut, Corps Members Give Back During MLK Day of Service

BRIDGEPORT – The rhythmic sounds of dishware rang throughout the kitchen at Homes For the Brave - Applied Behavioral Rehabilitation Institute on January 16, as Teach For America Connecticut staff and corps members prepared meals during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

“As AmeriCorps members/alumni, we refer to MLK Day as a day on, not a day off,” said Danni Harrison-Ramiz, director of Corps Member Experience. “During our active service years, it's a requirement and then as alumni, it's an honor and privilege to be back in communities honoring Dr. King's dream for equity.”

A dual-front effort for the organization provided 11 volunteers – staff and corps members – split between Home For the Brave and a Habitat for Humanity site, also in Bridgeport. Krista Schroth-Bylsma, Managing Director of Alumni Programs for Teach For America Connecticut, said the day was a massive highlight for the entire organization and team.

“As a group we talked about how powerful it was to see that address, build these walls and know they’ll be in such close proximity to the children and families we serve. Thinking about the incredible work and legacy of Dr.King, it is beautiful for us to serve our community beyond the classroom,” she said.

Over the last 25 years, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service has expanded to impact millions while providing an opportunity for organizations and volunteers to take a more active role in giving back to the communities they serve.

“The systemic issues (Dr. King) so diligently fought to eradicate show up in every facet of our lives all these years later,” Schroth-Bylsma said. “But most profoundly for our Black and Brown brothers and sisters. Having the chance to step outside of the classroom, work together and honor both his legacy and our student’s future was a humbling blessing.”

TFA Connecticut corps members and staff spend seven hours between the two locations throughout the day with a morning crew working on the Habitat for Humanity site, led by Schroth-Bylsma and an afternoon crew preparing meals for the veterans at Home For the Brave, led by Harrison-Ramiz.

“This day's service is just the beginning of our vision and mission for impact (in the community),” Harrison-Ramiz said. “It holds us accountable to each other and our communities and creates an expectation that we look forward to upholding.”


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