January 14, 2000
ATLANTA -- In a living tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's, Jan. 17, 2000 birthday holiday observance, many parents of Atlanta public school children will NOT be taking a day off from learning.
They will commemorate Dr. King's life by participating in a community service and learning project organized jointly by Atlanta Parents and Public Linked for Education (APPLE Corps), AmeriCorps, and IBM providing introductory computer training to parents. "'A Day On, Not a Day Off' symbolizes Dr. King's belief that children are best served-and public institutions are strengthened-when government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector work in partnership on behalf of ALL children," says Henry Kelly, board chairman for APPLE Corps, a local nonprofit agency with a 20-year history of engaging the community in public education reform.In its sixth year and one of AmeriCorps original volunteer projects, the APPLE Corps initiative has provided computer training to more than 60,000 Atlanta parents, teachers and students.
The program has served to strengthen the connection between schools and communities and has provided professional development and career building opportunities to many of the volunteers.
Joining APPLE Corps in supporting the Jan. 17 event are local education funds from Oakland, CA; Washington, DC; and New York City who are working together to create similar projects in their communities. Together, they constitute Project FIRST, Fostering Instructional Reform through Service and Technology, coordinated by the Washington, DC-based Public Education Network. Each of the sites has a team of citizens dedicated to enhancing the use of technology in the classroom and building unique relationships between parents, teachers and volunteers.
"Dr. King would be proud of the work of APPLE Corps and the numerous local education funds around the country who are building community relationships and education for ALL children, " says Wendy D. Puriefoy, president of the Public Education Network, which supports 48 local education funds in their efforts to increase community involvement in public school improvement across the country. "What APPLE Corps, IBM, AmeriCorps, and the Atlanta school district is doing is an American success story we can all be proud of."
The Public Education Network (PEN) is a national nonprofit organization that assists local education funds (LEFs) in increasing student achievement for all children through engaging the public in school improvement. PEN serves 5 million disadvantaged children, mostly minority, in over 280 school districts in 26 states and the District of Columbia.
Local Education Funds are nonprofit, non-governmental organizations working with communities and school districts to improve student achievement for low-income families. LEFs operate in a number of education policy areas, including professional development; public engagement; links between families, schools, and social services; after-school programs; school technology; and education reform.