Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne’s MLK Club is more than an organization that honors the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It also provides academic scholarships for college-bound Fort Wayne area students. In 2017, Purdue freshman Jordan Bridges was one of three students to receive a $1,000 scholarship. “I’m really grateful that they were able to provide me with the money to go on to Purdue University in West Lafayette and continue to follow my goals,” said Bridges. “I’m majoring in Human Resources with a technology focus.”
Bridges’ community outreach is one of the reasons he won the scholarship. He’s involved in the Bloom Project. It’s a program that mentors boys 12 to 18. Bridges participated in the group for three years. Now as a college student he regularly makes a point to attend meetings as a mentor and encourage students to pursue a college education.
Bridges is also heavily involved in the Voices of Unity Youth Choir, a group that has received international acclaim after winning gold medals in World Choir competitions. But good grades and a good essay were the biggest factors that helped him secure the MLK Club scholarship. “I wrote about what Martin Luther King Jr. means to me,” said Bridges. “His efforts to help people achieve civil rights really stuck with me and the fact that there’s a group still promoting something that happened so long ago is really empowering. That’s definitely one of the reasons why I said I’m glad to be part of this.”
Fort Wayne’s MLK Club has awarded dozens of academic scholarships. “Over the last 15 years, we’ve probably given away $35,000 to $40,000 in scholarships,” said MLK Club President Bennie Edwards.. “We want our young people to realize and know who Dr. King was and what his mission stood for. We want to keep the memory of Dr. King alive.”
The MLK Club also holds a Santa on Tour event every year that provides gifts and a trolley ride to needy children. It also provides trips to historic civil rights locations and offers leadership seminars. Its main event is the annual Dr. King Unity Day Celebration at the Grand Wayne Center. In 2017, Bridges received his scholarship at the event. This year he’ll perform as others receive theirs’. “Yes, I get to perform with the Voices of Unity Youth Choir. We are actually putting on a concert for the club and I’m definitely excited about that because now we’re putting two forces of excellence together and that will be something really good for the city.”
The 33rd annual Dr. King Unity Day Celebration will take place Monday, January 15th at the Grand Wayne Center at 120 West Jefferson Boulevard in Fort Wayne. It runs from 10:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is $10 per person.