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Posted: January 4, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Programs to mark MLK holiday

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Newton County’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance Committee is preparing for its annual MLK Ecumenical Program and invites the public to attend and participate in its activities, which include some new initiatives.

The 2014 MLK Jr. Ecumenical Program will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, in the new Newton High School auditorium, 1 Ram Way.

District 43 Sen. Ronald B. Ramsey Sr. will be the keynote speaker, and the program will include performances by county youths and music by an interdenominational choir. Anyone who would like to participate should contact Reta Cobb at 770-786-4423 after 6:30 pm. Also on the program will be presentations of the "I Have a Dream Award," the "Trailblazer Award," and the new "Young Dreamer Award."

Each year during the program, citizens of Newton County recognize outstanding individuals and/or organizations whose service to the community embodies Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy on social justice and community empowerment.

This year, the committee added the presentation of a "Young Dreamer Award," which will recognize two young citizens of the county. Award winners were nominated by community residents. Nomination criteria for each of the awards are as follows:

I Have a Dream Award

The nominee must have given at least two years of service to the Newton County community, must be a registered voter, and should be affiliated with a church/synagogue/worship center.

A nominee’s contributions must be non-profitable and visible to the community and must be non-discriminatory. The nominee must be someone who models a spirit of peace and unity, who will initiate and support change, is endowed with a humble spirit, and is steadfast in his/her convictions. The nominee also must foster and support education at all levels.

Trailblazer Award

The nominee must be a longtime citizen of Newton County, a registered voter, a creator of change in the community and follow through to implementation. The change facilitated by the nominee must be a benefit to the community. The nominee must be resourceful and committed to all aspects of the county, and must foster a cohesive spirit of peace, unity, diversity and love.

Young Dreamer Award

The nominee must be a citizen of Newton County who is enrolled a public school in the county in grades K-5 or 6-12. The nominee must also have a demonstrated interest in fostering peace, unity, diversity and love among his/her peers.

Because the Martin Luther King Jr. Ecumenical Program is a community-funded event, the committee welcomes financial contributions. Donations can be mailed to: MLK Ecumenical Service, c/o Josephine Brown, P.O. Box 185, Covington, GA 30015.

In addition to the annual program, several other organizations will host activities in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Those events are as follows:

Newton County Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund

Each year, in memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., citizens of Newton County, the Newton County Board of Commissioners and Oxford College of Emory University provide a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to a graduating high school student who is a Newton County resident.

Oxford College must receive completed admission applications and King Scholarship applications by March 1. In addition, students who apply must complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile by March 1.

The King Fund Selection Committee will base its selection on a student’s academic merit, financial need, level of extracurricular activities, and the quality of a required essay.

 2014 Rams United -Hands on Newton Community Service Activities

Consistent with the holiday’s theme of "A Day On, Not a Day Off," students from Newton High School, along with Hands on Newton, are coordinating a few county-wide service projects, including a coat drive, a food drive, and a video compilation of oral histories of Newton County citizens regarding the civil rights movement in the county.

The event will conclude with a youth rally. For more information on how members of your organization can participate, contact Mollie Melvin of Hands on Newton at 770-330-7405.

 2014 Oxford College campus celebration

Oxford College of Emory University will hold its annual MLK commemorative service at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, at Old Church at the intersection of Wesley and Fletcher streets in Oxford. The keynote speaker will be Georgia State Rep. and House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.

Youth Leadership Workshop

The 3rd Annual MLK Youth Leadership Seminar, coordinated and facilitated by past recipients of the Oxford College Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship and Oxford College of Emory University, will be held Feb. 15.

The half-day workshop at Oxford College provides local high school students with the opportunity to discover their strengths as individuals and identify ways to apply their strengths in all aspects of their lives. Registration and application information for the listed programs can be found at CovNews.com.

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