HOLYOKE – In honor of Martin Luther King Day, children from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke released balloons that contained their dreams for a better life and a better world at Heritage State Park on Monday afternoon.
Club members and staff marched from Nick Cosmos Way down to the park with signs that read “I Have a Dream” and held on to red, white, and blue balloons.
Yolanda Rodriguez, a staff member with the club’s after-school program, said the children read that when the first MLK Day was celebrated, children released balloons with notes inside.
“They were asking ‘are they going to come true?’ I said, ‘if you work hard towards them, they will come true,’” said Rodriguez.
She said it was a “great coincidence” that the day after the holiday, the nation’s first African-American president would be sworn in. “I think it’s a good history. Hopefully, everything is going to work for the better.”
Rodriguez said the holiday and the inauguration is a good life-lesson for the children.
Jaidalyn Santiago, 9, as she and her club member marched to the common outside the museum, rang bells that symbolized peace and chanted positive messages. She held a red sign with “I Have a Dream” printed on hit.
“I learned that people, white people, black people have to get along better,” said Santiago. She said she felt happy that Barack Obama would be president.
The Holyoke Community Charter School student said her dream, which she sent skyward, is to “design cloths.”
Santiago’s and her fellow member’s balloons filled the sky and drifted upwards. Within minutes the balloons reached a high-altitude and headed north. Once the objects got out of view, the children being children, began to play in the deep snow before they headed back to the club.