On January 16, KIPP Philosophers Academy (KPA) celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of service in partnership with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates, and CORE, a global crisis response organization.
With an inspiring spirit of service, over 40 volunteers supported KPA with various campus beautification projects, including mural painting, library organization, and gardening.
“To know that we have a community of people willing to make this building even more beautiful is inspiring,” said KPA Interim School Leader Antonio Fielder. “Even though today is technically a day off, we teach our students this is a day of service; this is a day we give back; this is a day we build community."
Volunteers paint a mural in the hallway. (Photo credit: Victoria Serrano)
The Skadden team, who has volunteered with KIPP SoCal on MLK Jr. Day since 2016, was thrilled to resume their in-person volunteer efforts with KIPP SoCal after pivoting to a virtual format in 2021 and 2022 because of the pandemic and COVID restrictions.
During the virtual pivot, the Skadden team continued their long-standing tradition by recording audiobooks for our KIPPsters (2021) and writing “gratitude grams” and hosting a school supplies drive for our educators (2022).
“It's a very special day for the Skadden team. We have loved doing this for the past eight years, and it feels especially great to be back in person this year,” said Skadden attorney and KIPP SoCal Board Member Ryne Posey. “More than ever, it’s really important to help build our community, and we’re happy to be here with our friends and colleagues today as we honor the legacy of Dr. King.”
Volunteers categorize books in the KPA school library. (Photo credit: Victoria Serrano)
When it came time to split up for projects, the Skadden team was tasked with painting murals throughout the hallways and labeling new books with their reading levels for the school library, while the CORE team led the outdoor efforts for building garden boxes for KPA’s playground area.
Nina Knierim, the California Area Manager for CORE’s Climate Resilience team, works with community partners, like KIPP SoCal, to provide hands-on programming that lays the groundwork for more climate-conscious and extreme weather-informed communities.
Volunteers build garden boxes at the KPA playground.
"The CORE Climate Resilience team is on the side of hope and working together with communities to provide resilience for our new climate reality,” said Knierim. “We connect people back to the soil and ground through regenerative gardening because we all need to be environmental stewards of the earth. It’s not just a good thing to do anymore — it’s essential."
In addition to participating in the MLK volunteer day at KPA, CORE is working with KIPP SoCal to launch a green campuses initiative across KIPP campuses and share knowledge with middle schoolers about climate awareness, green spaces, and the overall importance of environmental stewardship.
KIPP SoCal is beyond grateful for the love our two community partners poured into KPA’s campus and looks forward to many more collaborations in the future.
Interested in volunteering with KIPP SoCal? Click here to sign up!