MIAMI — The life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement inspired more than 500 volunteers to participate in the MLK Day of Service, on Jan. 17 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and Gwen Cherry parks in Miami.

The event was hosted by Miami-Dade Parks and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, in partnership with AARP, Cabot Creamery, Miami Dolphins Special Teams Driven by Chevy, Florida International University, and the Miami Dade College Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy.

Florida International University, in honor of its 50th anniversary, encouraged its faculty and students to take part in its 50-community service hours incentive, setting the tone for the day reminding all in attendance of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous quote, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

Volunteers completed various beautification projects, including painting, planting, and cleaning, making a difference in two community parks.

Recreation centers in each park received a one-room makeover, courtesy of The Miami Dolphins Special Teams driven by Chevy. Volunteers painted the spaces in Miami Dolphins’ colors and added Dolphins-themed furnishings and decorative pieces, brightening the rooms for the children enrolled in the park’s after-school program.

The event concluded with a reflective ceremony featuring Miami-Dade school board member and civil rights activist, Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall. She is a former recipient of the Civil Rights Advocacy Award, presented by the Florida Commission on Human Relations.  In addition, Cabot Creamery made its first South Florida appearance with its “The Farmers’ Gratitude Grille,” that tours the nation providing lunches to thank volunteers for their service to the community.

“The 1,200 farm families who own Cabot Creamery Cooperative are proud to support Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces, and all of the wonderful volunteers on this very special Martin Luther King Day of Service. We believe volunteerism makes us a better nation and we’re pleased to provide healthy meals to all the volunteers on this special occasion,” said Roberta MacDonald, Cabot senior vice president of marketing.

For information on future volunteer projects at parks across the county, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Angie Gomez at 305-961-2781 or e-mail at