SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Each year Wesley United Methodist Church sponsors the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship Breakfast.
22News spoke with this year's scholarship winner about why MLK Jr. is such an inspiration to young people.
"I know Martin Luther King Jr. was such a big person, especially for my race, so I was really honored," said scholarship recipient Yvonne Hamisi.
Scholarship winner Yvonne Hamisi says she has learned a lot from Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights activist who taught non-violence, patience and perseverance.
"I know that many people came against him. That kind of inspires me that no matter how many people come against me, I can still keep going. I know that I'm going to make it," said Yvonne Hamisi.
And to inspire teens like Hamisi, hundreds of people gathered at the 31st annual Scholarship Breakfast Saturday morning.
This year's theme for the breakfast is "Our Children Can Soar." Organizers of the event told 22News they wanted to let all students know that no matter where they grew up or where they live right now, their dreams can come true.
"Some kids, they don't have that influence to tell them that you're somebody and that you can achieve," said Rosa Lewis a co-chair of the breakfast.
"Life has not always been the way it is today. Sometimes we have to remind our youth that we haven't always had the freedom to walk into a restaurant and sit anywhere. We haven't always had the freedom to sit anywhere on the bus," said Regina Jeames of Westfield.
"There's a lot of bullying and hatred. It's all about learning to love," said Joyce Huff a co-chair of the breakfast.
They also hope teens will stand up for what they believe in, just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did in the 60's.