NOTE TO EDITORS: Students will leave for the service trip at 7 a.m. at The Bonner House for Campus-Wide Community Service, located at the corner of Mill and Cooper Streets in Athens on the Concord University campus. Members of the media are welcome to take advantage of photo and video opportunities.
Athens, W.Va. – For several Concord University students Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be “a day on, not a day off” as they join people from Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., in a daycare renovation community service project.
The “MLK Day of Service Daycare Facelift Project” will divide volunteers from the two Universities into teams at several area daycare facilities. The teams will compete in a friendly competition for awards. The students will leave early and travel to Blacksburg to participate in the opportunity.
“We are excited to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and answer the recent challenge by President-Elect Barack Obama by dedicating what would otherwise be a day off to be a day of service through the Renew America Together initiative and to help make much-needed improvements to help out our students of the future,” said Jesse Call, an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA). Call helped organize the trip.
Concord University is officially closed for the holiday, and classes do not begin until the next day for students. But, this did not stop more than 20 students from volunteering to start their semesters earlier with the service project.
While there is much to be done in the area, event organizers thought the daycare facelift project created a unique service opportunity.
“We obviously consider Blacksburg to be a part of our regional community, not only because of its proximity to Concord University, but because we have several students, faculty and staff members who reside in that area,” Call said. “We were also impressed with the efforts of Virginia Tech University to honor Dr. King through service and wanted to support those efforts.”
“Plus, we’re going to dominate those other teams,” he laughingly added.
The service trip will also include an educational component as students will begin their day by listening to speakers on topics related to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. before rolling up their sleeves for the rest of the day.
The students will be led by two AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America that have helped to create The Bonner House for Campus-Wide Community Service, the new community service center for Concord University, which is providing funding for the service trip. The service events in Blacksburg were organized by the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships at Virginia Tech and funded through a grant.
Concord University has a long history of service to the community, and this is designed to bring about a new way of continuing that tradition.
“This is designed to be a kick-off of a new annual tradition of having members of the Concord University community honor the legacy of Dr. King through participation in community improvement efforts through service,” said Jesse Call, an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) that helped to organize the trip.
The service project will be one of hundreds of activities held in states and cities nationwide to honor the legacy of Dr. King. In 1994, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, directing the King Center and the Corporation for National and Community Service to carry out a day of service reflecting Dr. King's life and teachings.
David Eisner, chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, said, "Martin Luther King said, 'Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.' We honor the life and legacy of Dr. King by doing things that help others and strengthen communities."
For more information about the national day of service, please visit www.mlkday.gov.