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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 19, 1998
                     Martin Luther King Day of Service 
                   at the MCI Center -- January 19, 1998 
                   A Day of Service to Help Young Readers 

In 1994, President Clinton signed the King Holiday and Service Act, establishing the King holiday as a national day of service. On Monday, January 19, tens of thousands of Americans are joining in service projects across the country to honor Dr. King's legacy through service.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Education Secretary Richard E. Riley, and others will read books to hundreds of children from local literacy programs and their parents and tutors at a literacy fair honoring Dr. King at the MCI Center. Children will expand their reading resources by building bookshelves and receiving new books to start their own home libraries.

The children attending the event are first, second, and third-graders in DC Public Schools who participate in literacy programs run by DC Reads, Everybody Wins! D.C., and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. More than 65 AmeriCorps members from the Washington area are organizing and leading the activities. The event is sponsored by national service programs that involve more than 1.2 million citizens, including the Corporation for National Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America and the National Senior Service Corps.

From 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., children will visit seven activity stations located on center court, described below. A special literacy resource station will be available for parents.

Storytelling: Celebrity storytellers will read books with children. Readers include the First Lady, Secretary Riley, Washington Wizards coach Bernie Bickerstaff, the NBA's Bob Lanier, singer Tom Paxton, children's author Eloise Greenfield, Channel 4 news anchor Susan Kidd, and Points of Light Foundation President Bob Goodwin.

Bookshelves: Each child will build and decorate his or her own bookshelf with the help of a volunteer or parent.

Library Cards: Library cards will be issued by DC Public Libraries.

Book Distribution: Each child will receive a bag of new books courtesy of First Book.

Remembering Dr. King: Children will watch Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech and receive a hardback book of the speech illustrated by African-American artists.

Hand-prints: Children add their handprints to a thank-you poster for the community partners who are hosting the event.

Puppet Show: The show will depict Dr. King's teachings.

Parent Resources: The Urban League will provide take-home reading resources for parents.

Event partners include AmeriCorps Alums, Inc., Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, Washington D.C. Public Libraries, D.C. Reads, Do Something, Everybody Wins! D.C., First Book, General Mills, MCI Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc., National Basketball Association, The Points of Light Foundation, Scholastic, Inc., Sprint Spectrum, Starbucks, United Way of America, Urban League and the Washington Wizards.

Vice President Gore's Activities on MLK Day 1998

On Monday, January 19, 1998, the Vice President will join the King family in Atlanta for the thirteenth annual King Center Program marking the King Holiday Observance. The Vice President will deliver remarks honoring Dr. King's life and legacy at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service in the Ebenezer Baptist Church at 10:00 a.m. Following the church service, the Vice President will join the family in a wreath-laying at the crypt of Dr. King. At 1:00 p.m., the Vice President will speak at the King Center's ACTS of Service Recognition Ceremony and deliver an award honoring actor Andrew Shue of Melrose Place for the outstanding work of Do Something, a non-profit organization Shue heads. Do Something has created The Kindness and Justice Challenge to encourage young people in all fifty states to initiate acts of kindness and justice in memory of Dr. King. Finally, the Vice President will drop by an elementary school in Atlanta to thank volunteers working with Hands On Atlanta AmeriCorps -- an AmeriCorps program which is sponsoring a day of service throughout the Atlanta area.