The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) was recently awarded a Martin Luther King Jr. Collegiate Challenge mini-grant in the amount of $1,000. The grant will be used to broaden the impact of Martin Luther King Day of Service, and increase and promote volunteering.
“We’re thrilled to be included in this national initiative that allocates resources to ensure meaningful and productive service experiences that align with Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision,” says Director of CCESL Katie Flowers. “Starting off the semester with service on the first Saturday after classes makes a statement about who we are as a community, and the grant will allow us to further celebrate this important event.”
Participating in an annual day of service since 1994, the Colleges have expanded in the past three years to add two more days over the course of the year, including the Martin Luther King Day of Service. During the 2010 Day of Service, the Colleges sent volunteers to 15 community partners, including America Reads, Smith Opera House and local schools and churches.
“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,” said 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.”
Money from the grant will be used to help offset transportation costs and food, two of the biggest expenses of this annual event. Since many community partners can be up to an hour away, the student-run Day of Service committee must transport the volunteers to where their time and efforts are most needed. Additionally, the food does more than just attracting volunteers, it also offers students the opportunity to gather together as a whole and hear motivational speeches about their service from several campus representatives.
“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.
The most recent day of service in October succeeded in providing 24 community partners with more than 300 student volunteers and nearly 1,000 service hours. Thanks to the success of their most recent event, Days of Service plans to implement that same momentum and the funds supplied by the MLK grant to make this year’s MLK Service Day even more successful.
The MLK Collegiate Challenge grants are sponsored by the Michigan Campus Compact in partnership with Wisconsin Campus Compact and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
For anyone interested in participating in the MLK Day of Service, look for the Day of Service committee volunteers tabling in Scandling Campus Center upon return from winter break or email DOS@hws.edu.