Kids First helps neighbors in King’s memory

Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon and Kids First Community Center Director Cindy Hawkins share a laugh during a presentation in front of the community center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 20. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon and Kids First Community Center Director Cindy Hawkins share a laugh during a presentation in front of the community center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 20. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Dozens of kids, families and volunteers honored the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. by fanning out across Alabaster’s Simmsville community on Jan. 20 to help their neighbors in need.

Throughout the day, Kids First Awareness Community Center, an afterschool program for at-risk youth, coordinated the volunteers during its first “Helping our Neighbors” day of service in the community.

“This is the first year we’ve done this, and I think this is what we are going to do from here on out,” said Kids First Executive Director Cindy Hawkins.

During the event, volunteers from Kids First, the University of Montevallo, Calera High School and several area families helped to pressure wash, paint, clean and build at several Alabaster houses.

Hawkins said the volunteers chose to hold the event on Jan. 20 to honor the life and carry on the service of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Mrs. Lois Thomas was one of the ladies we helped, and she had everyone in tears,” Hawkins said, noting volunteers helped to build a cover over the porch at her residence. “She said that was something she had wanted for 40 years.”

After helping those in need, the volunteers gathered for a cookout at the Kids First facility off Simmsville Road, during which Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, Alabaster City Schools Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction Cena Davis and Thomas spoke to the about 250 in attendance.

“This day was about serving four families by helping clean up to build up in the Alabaster community,” Hawkins said.