Attendance for the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service held at Agana Shopping Center "from the looks of it" nearly doubled from last year, according to Alicia Aguon, a board member on the Serve Guam Commission.

By late morning the center court of the shopping center was brimming with high school students looking to learn more about volunteering in the community.

"Basically, what it does is it creates awareness in the community of what programs are out there that the Serve Guam Commission deems qualified," Aguon said of the event.

The students were given "passports" to keep track of the various booths they visited.

"It shows the student attended your table and asked about your program and is educating themselves about the program," Aguon said.

AmeriCorps volunteers

The Serve Guam Commission administers the AmeriCorps program, a network of service programs built on improving lives and fostering civic responsibility.

"The AmeriCorps programs in general are programs that look to make a difference in the community," said Charlene Bitlaol, program director for the AmeriCorps University of Guam volunteer center.

"Each program chooses specific focus areas through which they can concentrate their efforts on making a bigger impact."

Bitlaol said holding the day of service on MLK Jr. Day is significant.

"Martin Luther King is about bringing communities together, so the idea is that when you volunteer you bring people of all walks of life together that wouldn't normally come together," said Bitlaol.

'Making an impact'

She said this is the first year the UOG volunteer center participated in the day of service event.

"It gives the youth a sense of purpose and it gives them something to do besides making trouble in the community. They are actually making an impact to the people of Guam," she said.

Bitloal said they also visited Okkodo High School and Tiyan High School to teach students about Martin Luther King Jr. "and the ideals he presented and he fought for that are prevalent in our communities today."

"What a great day to celebrate," said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, who attended the event and signed a proclamation recognizing MLK Jr. Day.

Speaker Tina Muña Barnes and other members of the Legislature presented a resolution recognizing the Serve Guam Commission, the AmeriCorps programs and their partners in the Martin Luther King Day of Service.