January 22, 2016

More than a day off: Students give back on MLK holiday

By Ronica Hutchison–


The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was more than a day off school for some U of L students. U of L encouraged  students to make it a “day on, not a day off” during its seventh annual MLK Day of Service.

The day is organized by the Office of Student Involvement, in partnership with the Cultural Center and the Engage Lead Serve Board. The program consisted of a keynote speaker, lunch and ended with volunteer work at assigned service sites. Volunteer services ranged from working with La Casita Center and Family Scholar House, making cards for Kosair Children’s Hospital, to beautification efforts for recreational parks around the city.

Sophomore Cornelius Sanford had the opportunity to impact his community up close at Street Academy, an after school program for elementary school kids.

“Each one of the volunteers had one buddy for the day. We read and analyzed the ‘I Have A Dream Speech’ with them. After that we helped them write their own speech,” said Sanford.

“We finished it off with playing games and mini tour of campus. Being able to take a moment out of our lives to give back to the community, more specific the youth, I believe directly ties into King Jr.’s vision. He ultimately preached on the fundamental principle that we need to express love care for each other. Events like these during MLK day is an amazing way to do just that.”

Freshman Kurt Brown said spent his day at La Casita Center, a charity that focuses on the well-being of Louisville’s Hispanic and Latino community.

“I think what was so rewarding about my experience serving for MLK Day of Service was the shared experience of working together for a common cause for the good of people. I think it’s a great way to commemorate the work of Dr. King particularly because his legacy was that of bringing us together to fight for the common cause of alleviating institutional racism in America.

“At La Casita Center, we didn’t march on Washington or lead a Civil Rights Movement, but we all got to help in our small way to remedy the real problems of immigrants in America by sorting through donated clothes, toys for kids and other supplies to be handed out to immigrant families.  That is the most rewarding day off from school I can think of,” said Brown.

Brown was one of over 200 U of L students who volunteered their time on this day of painting, preserving, serving and remembering.

Photo courtesy / University of Louisville

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