Peace Corp Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet visits children at Barbara Chambers Children's Center. (Photo from (117879)

Special to the AmNews

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Peace Corp Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and staff members visited children at Barbara Chambers Children’s Center in northwest D.C. Jan. 16.

According to a press release, more than 110 U.S. staff members participated in a variety of service projects, totaling nearly 830 hours of service throughout the day.

“We forge everlasting ties to our communities, to our country and to one another through service,” stated Hessler-Radelet in the press release. “Whether we’re talking about the Peace Corp, AmeriCorps or volunteering at your church or local soup kitchen, service helps cultivate skills and qualities that can be difficult to measure but are critical to long-term success.”

Hessler-Radelet and staff read bilingual books to toddlers and pre-K students at the Children’s Center, which was established in 1968 by an interracial group of parents and family. They wanted a friendly place where their children could meet and learn together, despite racial tension after King’s assassination. Today, the Children’s Center serves low-income families in Washington, D.C., with bilingual programs in English and Spanish.

According to the press release, service experience fosters cross-cultural, leadership and community development skills that give volunteers a competitive edge. In today’s global economy, employers seek highly trained workers who can succeed among multicultural teams and excel in complex, ever-changing environments. Research done by the Corporation of National and Community Service has found that people who are out of work and volunteer increase their odds of finding work by 27 percent in comparison to non-volunteers.

Service activities continued Monday, Jan. 19 across the federal government and the country, as Americans of all ages and backgrounds united in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day..