Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy

You will see a lot of events this Fall that benefit MLK
Who is MLK?
Why does Thornapple support them?
What can my family do to help?

Read On for more Information…

Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy or MLK
MLK is a public school within the Grand Rapids Public School District.  The school serves 450 children; K – 8th grade.  Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy is a new facility located on the site of the former Henry Paidea Academy in the heart of Grand Rapids. You will find it nestled between the historic Heritage Hill district and the revitalized Wealthy Street business corridor.
The Tutoring Center has been a mission of the First United Methodist Church for over 20 years.  It is located within the school building, and unless one was told it was not part of Grand Rapids school system, one would never know.  The people who come and go from the Center truly care for the kids and work hard to give them the opportunity to learn and read. The Center organizes over 100 volunteers each week to ensure every Kindergartener, 1st Grader and most 2nd Graders receive one half hour of one on one tutoring each week.  There are only two paid employees (whose kids attended Ada and Thornapple Elementary) who work at near super woman speed to run a PTO type organization out of center, funded solely through donations.  The center is able to provide assemblies, field trips and much more.

How we help:
Kings Feast:  Spaghetti dinner, entertainment and fun.  The Kings Feast raises money through ticket sales and donations; 100% of the profits benefit MLK.  A blue flyer went home last week.  Please consider coming to the event, or donating to “put a jewel in the Kings Crown” or both.  Stop into the Scholastic Book Fair while you are there.  It is open throughout the entire event.  Do you want to volunteer for this worthy event?  Contact Emily Holtgrieve: or Beth Garrelts:

Giving Tree:  Thornapple families meet the wishes of MLK families and students in an Angel Tree like fashion.  Look for the “wishes” on the Giving Tree bulletin board in the front lobby of the school beginning October 31st.  Are you coming to the kids’ Halloween parade and party? Pick up a star on your way out and make someone’s wish come true.  Does this sound like something you would like to volunteer for?  Contact Deb Kalinka-Manning: or Rachel Holt:

Winter Coat/Gear Collection:  We collect winter gear; coats, hats, gloves/mittens and gently used boots. Please give these items a run through the washer before dropping them in the bin as they are taken directly to the school, not a charity. These items go in the silver bin in the front lobby.  Interested in helping clean/repair the donated items?  Contact Robyn McAllister

Gently Used Clothing:  Year round collection of your gently used clothing.  We support this charity as many MLK families shop there on a weekly basis. These items go in the black bin in the front lobby.  You stop here anyway, why not drop off your donations and check that off your list too!

Coin/Dollar Challenge:  The coin challenge is held every Fall.  Look for information on this big contest coming soon.  Proceeds go to benefit MLK.

Tutoring:  The Tutoring Center at MLK needs more tutors.  This is a great way to spend a few hours.  You can make a difference in these kids’ lives by being there each week. No experience necessary!

Contact MaryAnn Warren for more information.
Maryann Warren
FUMC/MLK Volunteer Coordinator
616-819-1745 (tutoring center)
616-826-1702 (cell)