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Identity & Community

Volunteers Spruce Up Carnegie Library of Homestead in Honor of MLK Day

Thirty-one years ago Martin Luther King Day became a federal holiday to commemorate the civil rights advocate. The third Monday of January now serves as an opportunity for individuals and organizations to honor King’s legacy through public service

In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, Knowledge to Empower Youths to Success (KEYS) Service Corps members volunteered to assist with the upkeep of the Carnegie Library of Homestead Music Hall.

KEYS Service Corps is an AmeriCorps program that typically focuses on education through mentoring and afterschool events. According to KEYS Training Coordinator Steve Hussar, seventy KEYS members helped clean, paint, and polish the historic Music Hall to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“One of our favorite quotes that Dr. King said is ‘everybody can be great because everybody can serve’ and we kind of see that everyday,” said Hussar, “we have so many members that are doing such great things everyday and who are great because they are serving and that’s kind of what this day is all about and there’s AmeriCorps projects all over the country [that] are doing projects like this.”

KEYS Service Corps member Elizabeth Knode says volunteering with KEYS feels like being a part of a big family.

“I think that we all support each other, we all care, its just a really great camaraderie that its hard to explain unless you’re actually doing it so being here with everyone is, its just fun, I mean yeah its work and you know that you’re making a difference, but you know that its actually pretty impactful.”

Carnegie Library of Homestead was built in 1898 and is the third oldest library in the United States. It’s music hall can seat more than one thousand guests. According to Carnegie of Homestead Director of Administration Carol Shrieve, the library has a small budget and volunteer efforts like this are a huge help to the small staff who can’t always find the time to get this kind of work done. According to Shrieve, maintaining the library is an important part of maintaining the Homestead community.

“I think that we are the single largest community anchor. We’re an economic driver for the whole community, when our concert hall is busy so is the Waterfront, our hotels in the waterfront book up, the restaurants are busy, people spend the weekends here shopping and discovering the Mon Valley.”