By Karina Stephens

Madonna is offering volunteer opportunities at the very beginning of the winter 2013 semester in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Students and Madonna faculty alike will have the opportunity to help out in many areas and can choose what activities they would like to take part in.

“Historically, MU has honored Dr. King's legacy with diverse activities like guest speakers, musicians, and performances and also in corporate celebration with postsecondary institutions from the area,” said Olga Martinez, the Director of Service Learning Olga Martinez, the Director of Service Learning. “However, for 2013, we have worked diligently to create a program that offers several opportunities for students to ‘get involved.’ The university celebrates Dr. King's memory with a ‘day on, not a day off.’ By this I mean that we, as students, faculty, and staff have opportunities to honor Dr. King and our Franciscan Values through service with others.” 

Beginning on Thursday, Jan. 17, volunteer activities on and off campus will take place for the entire weekend.

On Thursday, students can write cards of encouragement to U.S. troops in the Take-5 Lounge from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  This activity is sponsored by the Center for Students in Transition and everyone is encouraged to stop by and participate.

If you’re a writer and want something else to do after you’ve made a card for our troops, you can also participate in a diversity poetry writing contest in the Take-5 Lounge.  This will take place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and is sponsored by the Writing Center.

For a more hands-on volunteer activity also on Thursday, try serving at the Gleaners’ Food Bank of America.  This event is brought to you by the Office of Service-Learning and will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Transportation will be provided for this volunteer event by the Office of Service-Learning.

For science and nature people, there’s something for you, too. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, you can help remove invasive species with the Southeast Michigan Land Conservatory in Ypsilanti.

Friday offers many volunteer events as well, with everything from blanket making to serving lunch to the homeless.  In the Take-5, students can make blankets for the Children’s Hospital of Detroit from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Off-campus activities on Friday include reading with children at Harms Elementary School in Detroit from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. as well as serving lunch to the homeless at Star Presbyterian Church in Royal Oak from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., an “I Have a Dream” service project in Detroit, and organizing supplies from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the All Saints Neighborhood Center.  Transportation will be provided for the last volunteer activity.

There is an array of opportunities, perfect for all kinds of people who are willing to lend a helping hand for the MLK Week of Service and Remembrance.

Another organizational volunteer event (“Arts and Scraps”) will be held on Saturday in Detroit. Transportation will also be provided for this activity by Madonna University. 

On Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the MU Writing Center will host a service reflection letter writing opportunity from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Practice writing skills, and get to keep a record of how your service helped others.

Attend a Candlelight Vigil the evening of MLK Day at the Livonia Public Library at 5:30 p.m.  Anyone is welcome and everyone is encouraged to join the festivities.

“Just last year, over 1,100 students participated in community engagement through their courses and student organizations,” Martinez said. “Over 28,000 hours of service were completed. Service is at the heart of what we do at MU; it's part of who we are so I expect great turnout.” 

Contact Martinez, the Director of Service Learning, at or (734) 432-5704 for more details or to sign up for any of these events.


MLK Days of Service debuts in January