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Day of service well supported
MLK Day event got boost from new president
MLK Day of Serv 2 es
Lexie Livingood, 13, plays a game with Wynette Westbrook on Monday at Chestnut Ridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. The activity was part of the annual Hands on Forsyth MLK Day of Service. - photo by Emily Saunders
How to help
Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the year. To find ways to donate time or to register for Saturday's cleanup, go online at

Organizers of the Hands on Forsyth MLK Day of Service say Monday's event was the largest yet.

"Last year for the lake cleanup, we had about 45 or 50 people at the most," said Kerry Rosewall, event coordinator. "We had 118 people [Monday].

"People just want to do a day of service. I think people are associating Martin Luther King Jr. holiday with the day of service."

Rosewall, volunteer coordinator for Hands on Forsyth and its parent company Community Connection, said the blood drive was also a success and game day at Chestnut Ridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Center was heartwarming.

"Our limit was 20 and 26 [volunteers] ... but 35 people showed up," she said. "It was a big crowd, but the residents enjoyed it, so it worked out well."

The last-minute surge of support, said Rosewall, likely was the result of President Barack Obama's call for service.

"The Obama administration had the National Day of Service on their Web site and we had people from that come," she said. "I know it's increased some of our volunteer numbers."

Next year, Rosewall said she will plan an additional event, where volunteers don't need to register. This will give walk-up volunteers a place to go and avoid duplicating services.

And residents can still volunteer for the cleanup at Cedar Hill Enrichment Center in northeastern Forsyth, which Rosewall said was rescheduled from Monday because of the cold weather.

"It was below freezing up at Cedar Hill. It was just too freezing and dangerously cold," she said. "Kat Stratton [center director] called the volunteers and they've rescheduled for Saturday.

"It's still considered a MLK Day of Service project because it's during the MLK week of service, which is Saturday to Saturday.