CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston community was being brought together through educational art, games, and birthday festivities all in celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Charleston-Institute Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, an international not-for-profit organization serving African Americans and all those with African decent, was host to its 3rd annual birthday celebration for the prominent pastor and civil rights leader Monday to honor everything the MLK holiday stands for.

President of Charleston-Institute Links chapter Betty Spencer told MetroNews that the event’s focus is on the children of the community and passing along Dr. King’s history, teachings, and impact onto them.

“We want Dr. King’s legacy to continue for years,” Spencer said. “He was a very important person in the lives of many people.”

Many other organizations focused on continuing a path of racial equality in the area and the state were a part of Monday’s event, as well, including NAACP of Charleston, WV, and the YWCA Racial Equity Center.

One of the educational games being introduced to kids at the event was a scavenger hunt about the history of MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. They were also being given the opportunity to make collaborative art pieces, and a showcase of area youth talent was also expected to be a part of Monday’s event.

Mckenzie, a student at South Charleston High School, said she was excited to learn more about the history and legacy surrounding Dr. King at Monday’s event, as what she’s learned about him so far already holds a place of deep meaning to her.

“It means to me that future generations get to learn about what he did for us and the sacrifices he made for for black youth to get to where we are today,” Mckenzie said.

Event Chair Kitty Dooley said the legacy of Dr. King and the impact in civil rights work he had made has placed the new generation in a better position than the generations that came before, and it’s important for kids to know that and what it took to get them here.

“In order for us to not repeat history, we have to understand the past and what it has taken to get to the point of where we are today, even though we’re not where we believe we should be as a people,” she said.

However, Dooley said once kids understand the past’s significance, they will understand what needs to be done for the future.

“They will understand the importance of citizenship, of the democratic process of voting and being responsible, and really taking up their own responsibilities within our community,” said Dooley.

In addition, Patricia Rosebourgh and Kristy Lyles were going to be honored during Monday’s event as Links Community Champions for their mentorship of young girls in the Kanawha Valley a part of Xinos, a guidance group for them that’s sponsored by the local Phi Delta Kappa Sorority. The group for girls grades 9 – 12, conducts community service projects, speech choirs, and helps others in various ways.