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Third Annual MLK, Jr. Day Read for Peace Project Comes to Butte


Over the next few weeks, community members, parents and national service volunteers will bring the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to elementary students in 13 cities around Montana as part of the Third Annual MLK Read For Peace project.

MLK Read For Peace, sponsored by the Montana Campus Compact (MTCC) through the support of the Corporation of National and Community Service, places volunteers in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms to read students an age-appropriate book about the life and work of Dr. King. Students then complete an activity (

Read for Peace in Butte will be held on January 21st and will place national service members from AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps as volunteers into Margaret Leary, Emerson, West, and Kennedy. Volunteers will read a book on the life and teachings of Dr. King and the kids will then draw a picture or write a poem on what their dreams for a better world are. The artwork will be collected and displayed in the Courthouse in uptown Butte.

This event allows students to contemplate the ideas of peace, equality and social justice, while engaging community leaders and partners in meaningful volunteerism. Though Dr. King’s work is not a required part of the elementary curriculum in most places, many teachers choose to include MLK in their January coursework. MLK Read For Peace is an event that helps teachers get students engaged in learning about this iconic leader of the American Civil Rights movement.

MLK Read For Peace began in 2011 as the brainchild of AmeriCorps VISTA Bess Pallares, and placed 25 volunteers in classrooms with more than 500 students at five different Missoula Public elementary schools. This year, the event has expanded to include schools in 13 Montana cities: Kalispell, Browning, Havre, Polson, Ronan, Missoula, Helena, Great Falls, Butte, Bozeman, Livingston, Billings, and Glendive. Volunteers for this event include MTCC staff, AmeriCorps VISTA members, AmeriCorps Senior Corps members, parents and local elected officials including Governor Steve Bullock, Lt. Governor John Walsh, and Missoula Mayor John Engen.

To learn more about MLK Read for Peace events in your community, connect with a project contact near you:

• Kalispell: Kimbra Buerschaper, kbuerschaper@fvcc.edu

• Browning: Kelly Sykora, vista@browningcdc.org

• Havre: Michael Stone, mstone@vibrantfuturesmt.org

• Polson/Ronan: Shay Farmer, sfarmer@mmfec.org

• Missoula: Adrianna Ely, acely@mcps.k12.mt.us

• Helena: Gladys Walter, GWalter@helena.k12.mt.us

• Great Falls: Michael McConnell, gfld100@gmail.com

• Butte: Emily White, EWhite@mtech.edu

• Bozeman: Allison Barlow, kidslink@greatergallatinunitedway.org

• Livingston: Katie Regan, pccfvista@gmail.com

• Billings: Donna Bulatowicz, donna.bulatowicz@msubillings.edu

• Glendive: Patty Atwell, rsvp@midrivers.com

The MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA program connects campus resources with critical community needs. Members serve in community-based organizations, nonprofits and schools in partnership with 20 Montana campuses to address local poverty issues including education, healthy futures, veterans/military families, and economic opportunity.

For additional information on Read for Peace in Butte, please contact MTCC VISTA member Emily White at (406) 496-4692 or by email at ewhite@mtech.edu.

a drawing or a poem) and the activities are displayed in a public forum.