MARION -- For 30 years, members of the Marion community have come together to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Hosted by the Boyton Street Community Center, the program is held at The Pavilion and includes performances by local groups, speeches, tributes to King, and a lunch.
This year's theme, "The Dream: Where We Stand," was woven through the events, including the keynote speech by Jeff McGoy, motivational speaker and director of Exploratory Student Advisement and the Center for Learning Support Services at SIUC.
"My goal today was to definitely pay respect to Dr. King's dream but also to encourage people to continue to dream, to never stop dreaming," he said. "Whatever nightmares people may face, to remember to dream for themselves and dream for others. The service we provide for others will be everlasting, just as Dr. King and all the other individuals who worked for us to be able to dream."
McGoy's words were not wasted as the Boyton Street Community Center gave a $1,000 scholarship honoring Kathleen Pape, thanks to the funds raised each year at the dinner.
"This event helps so much with the Kathleen Pape Scholarship every year," said Demitri Crosby of Marion, a board member at the BSCC. "We do not set a goal; we do like to give a $1,000 scholarship every year."
This year's recipient was Kaitlyn Dunbar.
Dunbar has been a volunteer at the center for three years.
"I would tutor kids and help with their homework through the week, any where from kindergarten to junior high," she said. "This program has impacted my life in so many ways. It has really taught me the importance of giving back to your community and the importance of teaching others."
Dunbar is a freshman in the nursing program at John A. Logan College.
Dunbar's experiences are exactly what McGoy spoke of.
"It's always important to try and look through somebody else's eyes," he said.
Crosby said that funds left after the scholarship is funded are used to help children throughout the year.
"This past year, we were able to take the children to the St. Louis Science Center," he said.
Crosby said he knows firsthand how important the BSCC is to those it serves.
"I started coming to the center when I was 13," he said. "I grew up in the center. I learned leadership, responsibility, and community. Without donations from our community, those programs wouldn't be there to help me or our children today."
McGoy said that was the vision of King.
"Dr. King's life was all about others. If you think of the speech, he says 'I have a dream' but then he also says 'We ...'. It wasn't just about him, but also everyone else ... for the generations to continue to have that vision for themselves but hopefully seeing the bigger picture.
"I think once that happens justice can be served, unity can happen, and so many more amazing possibilities for everyone."