CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The life of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was celebrated and honored throughout the Tennessee Valley Monday.
At the Downtown YMCA in Chattanooga dozens of people gathered for the Youth Servant Leadership Luncheon. Several youngsters received awards for leadership in their communities. The event also featured various speakers, including Channel 3's very own Antwan Harris, helping the youth of the Scenic City learn about leadership through examples set by the late Dr. King.
Also, around 800 students from Southern Adventist University spent their day off at different locations spreading Dr. King's message of serving others by volunteering. Junior Giselle Ramirez, one of the volunteer coordinators, couldn't think of a better time to get involved.
"Its a holiday, so we can all get together. It's a great experience to come and help the communities," says Ramirez.
Her group helped the staff at the Creative Discovery Museum in downtown Chattanooga clean holiday decorations off the front windows and make new decorations for an upcoming fundraiser. She says the children who came by the museum got their message.
"Every time kids walk by they're like "What are they doing?" And we say we're helping them clean. And they're like "We want to help, too" or "That looks like fun". So I think the point is getting across," says Ramirez.
Senior and transfer student Michael Avila has done volunteer work in the past. However, this was his first time getting out in the community with classmates on MLK Day. He also saw the connection the youngsters made.
"Just the fact that we get to be here with these kids walking in, and they see us working and they see us smiling at the same time, they see that service isn't a duty. It's more of an enjoyment," explains Avila.
He believes it's important for children to learn to live as Dr. King wanted us to live, through serving others.
"It gives you a sense of purpose," says Avila. "It gives you a sense you're doing something good for others."
But Avila hopes the message of "service to the community" doesn't happen only on holidays or among the youth in the future.
"Everyone should get their hands dirty once in a while," adds Avila.