Students will have the day off on Monday, Jan. 20, to commemorate Martin Luther King Day.
Members of the Hopkinton Youth Commission hope they will view the observance as a “day on” at the Martin Luther King Day of Service at Hopkinton Middle School.
Participants in the event can perform community service, explore their creativity and learn more about motivation and leadership.
“We hope to inspire the youth of our community,” said Natalie Langlois, vice chair of the Hopkinton Youth Commission, which sponsors the day’s activities.
Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. Activities are open to all young people in Hopkinton, including organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and National Honor Society.
Activities include a free Dunkin’ Donuts continental breakfast and service projects in the gym. Young people can work on a mural of Martin Luther King and can create “mindfulness water bottles,” which people can shake to ease stress and gain perspective.
From 9-9:45 a.m., Hopkinton High School graduate Tom Coburn will talk to participants about motivation and leadership. He is the CEO and co-founder of Jebbit and co-founder of Enjoy Life Education, which focuses on youth leadership development and providing middle/high school students with the curriculum and community to live a happy life.
Youngsters can do Yoga for Kids from 10-10:30 a.m. A free pizza lunch will be served at noon.
This will be followed by the annual basketball game between the HHS freshman boys team and a local Special Olympics squad.
“That’s always a highlight,” Langlois said.
The event reflects the nationwide Martin Luther King Day of Service, when Americans across the country serve their neighborhoods and their communities.
This year, Langlois said, the emphasis will be on serving residents within Hopkinton and reminding participants that they don’t have to look past their hometown to find people who need support and assistance. The theme is “How can we help Hopkinton?”
As the town grows, so do the numbers of people needing help, Langlois said. “People might not be vocal about their needs and they might not be obvious,” but needs exist, she said.
She hopes participants will “be reminded of the needs in our community.”
As part of that effort, several collections will take place on that day.
Community outreach includes a gift card drive, which collects gift cards to be distributed to through Hopkinton Youth and Family Services and the Hopkinton schools.
Donated gift cards can be brought to the event Jan. 20 or anytime throughout the year at the Hopkinton Police Station, all Hopkinton public school guidance offices and the Hopkinton Youth and Family Services office at Town Hall.
Snow pants and snow boots are being collected for students at Marathon Elementary School. Ear buds are needed for students at all schools in town.
Participants are welcome to spend the entire day or visit for brief intervals, Langlois said.
“Usually it’s a very good crowd,” she said, “It’s always a very busy day. You won’t be bored, for sure.”
The day offers the chance for the community to unite, she said, by “getting out of the cold” and “doing something worthwhile for others.”