Local News

Public Allies Live the Legacy of Martin Luther King

Posted February 8, 2000

— For many people,living the legacyof Dr. Martin Luther King means helping others.Public Alliesis a program that makes helping others pay off, as it prepares college graduates across the country for a life of public service. Two graduates are making a difference in the Triangle.

"Oh this is very good" -->Laura Benson is a Public Ally. One day a week she spends in training, learning how to help others. The rest of the week, she puts her training into action at the Raleigh Girls Club.

"I just want these girls to do the best that they can do and be high achievers, and I think that they are doing that," she says.

She gives the young women credit for their own success. "A lot of them look up to each other and they compare and they compete, and they're the ones that are really making it happen here," she says.

Among other things, she helps the young women learn accountability. With that kind of early encouragement, their future looks bright.

Mary Phillips High Schooltakes students who have struggled with grades, discipline and attendance. Another Public Ally, Kathy Colville is at the school to make sure students like Meme Wright do not fall through the cracks.

"I go into classes where teachers are teaching and work with students individually during class time," Colville explains.

Wright is one of her students.

"In class, I'm scared to ask questions, but with Kathy I can tell her that I don't understand or I do understand, and she'll help me understand it," Wright says.

Most of the students Colville helps are African American. She sees herself living King's legacy by helping equalize opportunity.

"People that are white have a responsibility to that legacy," Colville says. "And I feel like I do too."

Benson feels the tug of King's legacy as well.

"The thing that I love so much about Dr. King is that he gave so much of himself and never really ever expected anything in return. And that's really a motivation for me," she says.

And one reason why Benson and Colville, and others like them, are living the legacy.


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