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‘A little bit of joy goes a long way’: Las Cruces teens serve the community on MLK Day

mlk service day
Jennifer Tankesly, a senior at New America School, empties the trash at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Las Cruces.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Martin Luther King Jr. once said: "You don't have to have a college degree to serve." He added, "You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."

On the day named in MLK's honor, Las Cruces teenagers proved that anyone can perform acts of service that benefit the entire community.

"For me, when I help someone, I get a feeling that I'm actually doing something good," said Laura Sandoval, a sophomore at New America School.

About ninety teenagers with the New America School performed acts of service all over town, including at the Gospel Rescue Mission. Among other tasks, they scrubbed toilets, emptied trash and vacuumed the chapel.

"The Bible says, 'I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me,'" said Jennifer Tankesly, a New America School senior. "To me, if you could be the extra strength for someone, just a little bit of hope, just a little bit of joy. Goes a long way."

The day of service is an annual tradition for the New America School.

"I'm absolutely beyond proud of our students for participating," said Margarita Leza-Porter, the school's principal. "They give 100 percent today. They're just very proud of themselves. It's a wonderful way to give back to Las Cruces."

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.


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