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NEWS | Jan. 24, 2013

Library volunteers deliver MLK message at Story Time

By Robert Goetz Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

Preschool children learned about a great American and his lifelong dedication to the ideals of brotherhood, equality and nonviolence during Story Time Jan. 16 at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Library.

Last week's Story Time focused on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in observance of the federal holiday that marks the birth of the civil rights leader who advocated nonviolent activism.

Reading from the book "Martin's Big Words" by Doreen Rappaport, library volunteer Felicia Ferdarko emphasized concepts from King's teachings that even young children can understand.

"Sooner or later, all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together, and a good way to do that is to be nice to each other, to be kind to each other, no matter what," she said.

Ferdarko also read from the book "My Uncle Martin's Words for America," written by King's niece Angela Farris Watkins, which centers on the power of words from his speeches, such as freedom, brotherhood, equality and nonviolence, and also references events in his life, including "Letter From the Birmingham Jail" and the "I Have a Dream" speech. The book also stressed King's belief that "the solution to changing the laws was love."

"Martin Luther King said we should all sit down together at the table of brotherhood," she said. "That meant we should all come together and love each other like a family. When Martin Luther King used the word brotherhood, people listened to what he had to say."

Renee Thomas, another volunteer, led the children in singing "He Had the Whole World in His Dream" to the tune of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."

Thomas said it's important that children learn about diversity and "accepting people for who they are," regardless of their background.

"We all have something great to offer each other," she said.

Kristen Ayyar, who regularly brings her 4-year-old daughter, Asha, to Story Time, said the Martin Luther King Jr. focus was an opportunity for children "to learn about tolerance, nonviolence and people's sacrifices."

She also expressed gratitude for the "great volunteers in our community" who help make Story Time possible.

"It's a great service," Ayyar said.

Story Time, which is geared to children from the JBSA-Randolph Child Development Center and other preschoolers, is offered at 10 a.m. each Wednesday.