A UPS volunteer reads 'My Uncle Martin's Big Heart' to second graders at Widener Partnership Charter School on Friday morning.

CHESTER — Students at Widener Partnership Charter School got a two-fold lesson in American history and supply chain management Friday morning when UPS employees visited for a Martin Luther King Day of Service event. Employees gave kindergarteners and second-graders a look at a UPS truck before reading King-themed books to students.

After pulling back the curtain on the workings of a UPS truck, the volunteers visited classrooms to read books on King to students. The books included “My Uncle Martin’s Big Heart,” recounting the personal memories of King’s niece and current Spelman College professor Angela Farris Watkins, PhD., from her childhood.

The event, in its second-year overall, marked the first time it was coordinated with Widener’s University’s Office for Civic Engagement and capped off a series of MLK Day events at the school.

“Tying into the (Office of) Civic Engagement, we did a community service project on Monday where we hung up college banners in our middle school and our students learned about MLK. Some of the classes wrote what they have dreams about,” said Principal/CEO Kareem Goodwin. Students were also reminded of the years King spent a half-mile west of their school at Crozer Theological Seminar in Upland and preaching in the city of Chester. “On his birthday (Jan. 15) we made an announcement about MLK living in Chester during seminary school … we (told students) Dr. Martin Luther King has a strong connection to Chester,” Goodwin said.

Recently appointed to his post, Goodwin hopes to expand the school’s programing with the university civic engagement office through new events, including a college and career day in the spring. “We posted all of our teachers’ colleges and inspiration quotes … we created this ‘University Way’ and we’re going to tie this in with college and career day. That’s where we make the connection (with the Office of Civic Engagement).”

The pennants display includes a “HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Boulevard” with a hand-drawn Morehouse College mortarboard, King’s alma mater.

“We’re trying to develop more of a presence of UPS in Chester through events like these,” said Jessica Feoli, a student community outreach coordinator in Widener’s civic engagement office and liaison between both parties. “On Earth Day we’ll be planting trees … working with different organizations in Chester, establishing a presence on both ends.”

UPS Communications Supervisor Davia Dally estimated the company’s Chesapeake District participates in at least one community volunteerism per week, as part of a summer 2014 pledge to hit 20 million volunteer hours nationwide by this year.


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