Penn Charter third graders and Chestnut Hill residents Aidan Bretschneider, Aidan Mehta, Walker Ball and Lauren Martz participated in the collection of more than 1,700 items — including new sports equipment, games, toys, learning supplies and books — for the new Police Athletic League (PAL) recreation center in North Philadelphia.

The Penn Charter community collected 1,700 items, including new sports equipment, games, toys, learning supplies and books, for the new Police Athletic League (PAL) recreation center in North Philadelphia this month, and spent Monday organizing the delivery of the mountain of items.

The youngest Penn Charter students and their parents worked to sort, tally and transport the items to the center on W. Somerset St. Students in second and third grade painted canvas murals for the interior of the new PAL center, and a crew of fourth and fifth graders and their parents spent the day at the center, building and painting a new library.

Before the service work began, David Kern, director of Penn Charter’s Lower School, engaged students in a discussion about Martin Luther King Jr., his life and his message. Kern shaped the students’ insight into an inspirational message for the day. “Today we are equality. Today we are justice. Today we are peace,” he said. “Learn from this experience today, and keep learning.”

Students in the Penn Charter Middle and Upper Schools were busy, too. They worked in smaller groups to landscape the grounds of St. James School in Allegheny West; clear trails and spread compost at Ivy Ridge; prepare food for St. Vincent’s shelter; staff the four-day Matt Miller Memorial Basketball Tournament at PC; and create a calendar for social justice.