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How the Dream Still Matters

Students participate in career workshops.

Created four years ago to help local youth learn how Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream relates to present day and potential job seekers, the Reston-based Martin Luther King Celebration Committee held its third Career Challenge workshop Jan. 14.

"We want to emphasize to young people that they themselves can be involved at keeping Dr. Martin Luther King's dream alive," said Adelle Jones, chair of the workshop. "We offer them suggestions on how to do that in the community through justice, peace and love for all people."

The workshop highlighted eight professionals of color from local area businesses to facilitate small group discussions between the eighth through 12th grade students at the Reston Community Center.

"Part of this was that area minority — or even majority — students don't have exposure to people of color who've done something with themselves," said Joe Watson, president and CEO of StrategicHire and founder of the committee.

"It's important for these kids to see people in the flesh," said the former Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce chairman.

Watson said in addition to emphasizing the importance of pursuing a higher education, the speakers — some who came from nothing — touched on how they incorporate King's dream into their professional lives.

"They share their story," said Watson. "But, more than share that, they reflect on the lessons of Dr. King in terms of Dr. King's influence in their life."

Jones said roughly 130 students from Herndon Middle, Herndon High School, Langston Hughes Middle School and South Lakes High School attended the four-hour workshop — the largest number of students yet.

"We want to emphasize participation," said Jones about the goal of the workshop. "But, the bottom line is, what can you do to continue to keep the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King alive?"

<1b>— Brynn Grimley