A group of civic-minded students at Missouri University of Science and Technology will participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service by taking “A Day ON, Not a Day Off” on Monday, Jan. 15. This year, more than 200 students and staff will volunteer throughout Phelps County.
“We aim for students to build stronger relationships with the Rolla community and learn about themselves and others,” says Jessica Haywood, student service coordinator in student life at Missouri S&T. “We hope that those who participate will feel empowered to continue making active contributions to their communities.”
Following registration and breakfast, Haywood will give a call to action. Student groups will then work from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 19 projects in Rolla and St. James, Missouri.
Projects are planned at CASA of South Central Missouri, Audubon Trails, Greentree, Mound Ridge, Russell House, WomanSpace, New Dimensional Christian Ministry, Great Circle, Rolla Presbyterian Manor, The Rolla Mission, Camp David of the Ozarks, Rolla Health and Rehab, Rolla Lions Club and The Community Partnership.
On-campus projects include baking cookies for emergency responders, painting and placing encouragement rocks, making cat and dog toys for local animal shelters, decorating lunch bags and making Valentine cards for the elderly, and assembling weekend food bags for the homeless.
The first Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed in 1986. In 1994, as a tribute to King’s personal commitment to service, Congress designated the day a national day of service. Missouri S&T volunteers will join the efforts of thousands of individuals and organizations across the county to commemorate the day.
“It is a day when we come together across the United States to improve the places we work and live,” says Sierra Shields, student coordinator of the project. “it is important for students to feel connected to the Rolla area because that is their home for several years. Volunteering gives them a sense of accomplishment and community at the end of the day.”
“Students say that serving in the Rolla and St. James areas helps them to broaden their perspective of current issues affecting their communities, contribute to the solution of these issues, feel like an active part of a team, and identify new ways to impact their own life-long development,” Haywood says.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is sponsored by the Missouri S&T student life department. This year will be S&T’s 10th year to participate.