Centre College’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion recently hosted its 2nd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, but the day of service itself celebrated 25 years.
“The holiday observing Dr. King was promoted by his wife, the late Coretta Scott King in 1986,” Ashley Oliver, director of diversity and inclusion programming. “The first day of service was promoted by Senator Harris Wofford and Congressman John Lewis in 1994. The federal legislation challenges Americans to transform the holiday into a day of volunteerism to serve the community.
“This day means that Centre is following the tradition of many other institutions in reclaiming the history of Dr. King and reclaiming his legacy—Dr. King was devoted to the community, the beloved community, and it’s important to keep that tradition alive,” she continued.
This year, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion partnered with the Office of Community Service. Over 90 faculty, staff and students volunteered at six different sites. The sites this year included the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge, Morning Pointe, the Boyle County Public Library, Soup’s on Us at First Christian Church, Blue Bird Market and the Presbyterian Church of Danville.
“Twelve students acted as site leaders, who helped facilitate discussions on service and the needs of the Danville–Boyle County community,” said Sophia Lombardo, coordinator of community service and the Bonner Program.
Volunteers completed a variety of projects outside and cleaned up the nature center at the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge, a 500-acre preserve, located 13 miles from Danville. Service projects at Morning Pointe, a community dedicated to providing services that enhance the wellness, lifestyle and enjoyment of senior living, focused on cleaning and organizing. Those who volunteered at the Boyle County Public Library assisted the library youth staff in creating a financial literacy display, as well as cleaning and organizing displays across the facility.
Soup’s On Us is a local program consisting of four churches that all partake in preparing hot meals each week on Saturday mornings for more than 300 Danville residents. Volunteers at this site assisted with making sandwiches, assembling meals and meal delivery. Blue Bird Market, a non-profit organization that sells second-hand treasures, uses its proceeds to support therapies and pre-school education for children from birth to age five at the Wilderness Trace Child Development Center. Participants at the service site helped set up and organize the items in the market, cleaning and dusting the store, breaking down boxes and pricing items.
Lastly, at the Presbyterian Church of Danville, volunteers assisted with building “Blessing Boxes” or “Little Free Pantries” to place around town. These are essentially public cabinets for people to donate food and other goods and also take whatever they need.
by Kerry Steinhofer
February 10, 2020