MLK Day of Service coming up

Integrity. Love of people. Commitment. Positive attitude. Dependability.

These are all qualities of a volunteer worker, and they’re qualities that will be seen in students on next month’s Martin Luther King Day of Service.

Like the previous Day of Service in honor of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., the occasion will take place on the first day of spring classes in January. Students who want to sign up to help with the MLK Day of Service should do so by the end of the fall semester.

“The whole idea of Martin Luther King Day of Service is a tribute to him and his work,” said Rikki Smith, service learning coordinator. “His significance is kind of overarching in his work in terms of influencing how we should be living, how we should be serving each other. He really believed that serving each other is one of the most important things that we can do.”

The day starts at 7 a.m. Jan. 17 with a breakfast in the Billingsly Student Center Ballroom. Tickets for the breakfast cost $3 and can be purchased at the bookstore, coffee shop and ticket office.

As for volunteer work, Smith said one of the major efforts will be school improvement. A major project will take place in the East Middle School’s library, where people will work on bookshelves and apply property stickers on the East Middle School books.

“It’s a significant amount of work over there,” Smith said.

A few groups will also visit Habitat for Humanity and probably Crosslines Churches of Joplin and the Boys and Girls Club. Dental hygiene majors will help out during the day by educating children about taking care of their teeth at childcare centers in Joplin.  

The theme for the day is “Morning’s Possibility.” Smith points out that “morning” is possessive, and the idea comes from a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. where he said, “Social change is not merely the glimmer of breaking dawn on the morning horizon, it is something we ourselves must become, by dispelling injustice, serving our fellow man and building a community upon which we can gather strength.”

At 4 p.m., the day’s volunteers will cap off the experience with a reflection ceremony. Students interested in volunteering should contact Smith at 625-3521 or at her office in Spiva Library, room 329.