More than 180 students and members of the faculty and staff gathered in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center to kick off a Day of Service held in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday, Jan. 22. Following a moment of silence in remembrance of the devastating earthquake in Haiti a year ago, participants were sent to locations across Geneva where they spent the afternoon lending a helping hand.
“I couldn’t have been more happy with the amount of work the students and Professor Donna Davenport accomplished on Saturday,” says Rev. Allison Stokes, the Director of the Women’s Interfaith Institute in Seneca Falls, one of the 15 locations volunteers were sent. “The day was wildly successful. It was way beyond what I hoped for and could have imagined.”
Although the group at the Interfaith Institute was scheduled to be back on campus by 4 p.m., the volunteers insisted on staying later, determined to get as much work done as possible.
“The Day of Service was meaningful on many levels, most importantly the Colleges’ commitment to honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the character of the students with whom I worked,” comments Professor of Dance Donna Davenport. “I was moved by the generosity, diligence and positive energy of the students and proud to be associated with them. By the day’s end there is no doubt that I received more than I gave.”
Other sites included Geneva Middle School, the Smith Opera House and many churches where HWS students and faculty painted, cleaned and moved equipment. “The Day of Service is our way of giving back to the greater Geneva community and showing our appreciation,” explains Libby Clark ’12, a member of the Day of Service Committee and the House Manager for the Community Service House.
“This Day of Service was exceptionally special because it truly honored Martin Luther King Jr.’s tremendous work advocating for service,” says Celeste Smith ’12, who helped in the planning of the event. Now serving as chair of the Day of Service committee, Smith has participated in every Day of Service since her first year at the Colleges.
“I believe the Day of Service is one of the best service programs our campus offers because volunteers simply show up and the event is already planned, making it easy and fun for the participants,” adds Smith.
The Day of Service included visits to the following 15 sites: America Reads; Community Lunch Program; First Baptist Church; Geneva Community Center; Geneva General Living Center; Geneva Middle School; Iglesia de Dios; Mt. Calvary Church of God in Christ; Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church; North Street Elementary School; Seneca Lake Terrace; Smith Opera House; St. Paul’s Full Gospel; Trinity Church; and the Women’s Interfaith Institute.