UNION — Union County First Steps participated in the United Way of the Piedmont’s MLK Day of Service for the first time on Monday.
In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service — a “day on, not a day off.”
The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”
Union County First Steps spent its “day on” volunteering to install the first ever Born Learning Trail in Union County. The group generated the idea of the Born Learning Trail in Union around six months ago, based on similar projects around Upstate South Carolina.
“We reached out the United Way to find out more about the trails,” said Union County First Steps Executive Director Beth Thompson. “The idea was shared with County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair and Recreation Department Director Becky Cobb who were on board right away. Union County First Steps shared the project idea with several local civic organizations who agreed to financially support the project along with the First Steps Board.”
The Born Learning Trail is an outside area at the Timken Sports Complex which consists of 10 signs that encourage parents and caregivers to use everyday moments as learning moments with their young children. The signs encourage parents to sing silly songs, say letters, look at shapes, and play games like hopscotch, all while enjoying the great outdoors.
“We are so excited about having this available for families in our community,” Thompson said.
Thompson said nearly 20 volunteers came out to the Timken Sports Complex on a frigid morning to learn about the trail and pitch in, painting colorful stencils on the trail. Sherwin-Williams Paint Store donated all of the paint and materials used by the volunteers. Timken Sports Complex (County of Union) positioned the posts and signs prior to the volunteer day. Thompson said a few more details will be taken care of this week and the trail will open. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place in conjunction with the opening of Union County’s first Miracle League field, which is scheduled for March.
Union County First Steps, Union County Civitan Club, Union County Lions Club, U.C.A.R.E. (Union County Aid Relief Effort), United Way of the Piedmont, Timken Sports Complex, and Sherwin Williams all donated funds and/or supplies to make this project happen.
“This is a true testament to partnerships and a community that believes in a bright future for our young children,” Thompson said.
The Born Learning Trail is also supported with a Born Learning campaign website, provided by a coalition of local United Ways that provides a host of information for families to turn every day moments into teaching moments — www.bornlearningupstatesc.org
“Life’s most persistant question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” — Martin Luther King, Jr.