Community helps commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Monday, Jan. 17, Rabbi Murray Ezring of Temple Israel, Rev. Robert Henderson of Covenant Presbyterian Church and Dr. Clifford Jones of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church will be leading members of their houses of worship to Turning Point Academy (2300 W. Sugar Creek Road Charlotte, NC 28262) for a day of service to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students shared their input about what they wanted from this project and members of these religious institutions will gather to turn an unused green space into an outdoor garden, basketball court and art wall.

Turning Point Academy was established to provide an alternative education for children who are unable to succeed in a traditional classroom environment. The school provides an alternative type of curriculum to re-engage students, creating the “turning point” that allows them to matriculate back into a traditional. This natural environment will activate all senses of each student and give them the chance to explore, dream and discover in an innovative way.

“This setting is the first time that three diverse houses of worship have come together to share a common goal… to deliver back to the community as one group,” said Ken Jackowitz, Temple Israel co-chairperson of the event. “An event of this magnitude could not occur without the help of many organizations.”

The Home Depot Foundation partnered with CMS and provided a grant for project materials and volunteers. REA Contracting is providing the labor and materials to install a new asphalt basketball court. The Charlotte Community ToolBank is lending out tools for the project. AmeriCorps members from Habitat Charlotte provided design, planning, and construction leadership throughout the project. Hands on Charlotte is providing project management and leadership sessions. Wallace Farm is providing soil for the garden planters. The city of Charlotte is providing wood chips for use in the garden. Don Rosenberg from Instant Organic Garden served as a garden consultant and will work with the teachers and parents in planting the garden.

“Dr. King taught us “intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education,” said Turning Point Academy Principal Valoria Burch. “During this MLK Day project, our students can observe so many valued partners demonstrating the power of character – their willingness to help others.”