Kent State Student Plans Youth, Family Engagement at Local Community Center

Kalena Speicher

Kalena Speicher, an AmeriCorps member within Kent State's Community and Engaged Learning program, has placed an indelible mark on the Kent community.

A Non-Profit Studies minor, Speicher recently planned and coordinated a youth and family engagement event at Ravenna’s King Kennedy Community Center that drew a couple dozen Kent State students and faculty who volunteered to facilitate various activities to help local children learn about and celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As if that wasn't enough, earlier that same day Kalena also led a team of 20+ volunteers (including the entire Kent State Women’s field hockey team) preparing lunch in the Flashes Fighting Hunger Kitchen, and transporting it to King Kennedy Center, where she organized four different activities for children. In addition to eating lunch together and learning about Dr. King, attendees played basketball and enjoyed spending time together outdoors.

A few days later, the MLK Commemorative Events Committee hosted an event titled, “100 Plates — Peace and Conflict: MLK to Today,” based on the Service Speaks model that Kalena has completed special training for as an AmeriCorps Member. Participants ate lunch and read Dr. King’s 1956 sermon, “When Peace Becomes Obnoxious,” and an excerpt from the late congress member John Lewis’s 2020 Common Dreams book, “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation.”

Lastly, Kalena facilitated a series of small and large group discussions, during which participants shared their feelings and mapped out action steps to improve community relations.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 7, 2024 11:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 8, 2024 11:06 AM