Madonna students serve community for MLK, Jr. Day

By Sarah Rachfal

Monday, Jan. 17 marked the 25th year Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has been officially observed in the United States.

Celebrating the life and many achievements of Dr. King as being an influential American civil rights leader. He is best known for his campaigns to end racial segregation and promoting of equality in America.

To commemorate the national holiday, 600 area college students, with 75 from Madonna University, registered to devote their time to volunteer throughout the community.  

“The event was attended by students from Madonna, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Henry Ford Community College, Davenport University, Oakland Community College, Wayne State University, Northern Michigan University, and Oakland University,” said Nicole Nagy, a First- Year Experience Assistant.  “The day included breakfast and a welcome at UM-D, and then students went out to their sites to serve.  There were approximately twenty different sites that students went to.”

The sole purpose of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service was to give students an opportunity to serve their community and for students to gain inspiration to volunteer in the future.

Nagy was a member of the planning committee and visited two of the sites throughout the day.  One project entailed volunteers to paint bathrooms, arrange classrooms, and put together shelves to help organize parts of the school at McKinley Elementary.  The other project utilized students by working with Arts and Scraps, a project that required volunteers to sort through various craft materials, such as cut strings of beads.

Sign Language Studies student Emily Zaleski was a team leader for Bridging Communities in Detroit whose responsibilities throughout the day included organizing clothes, delivering food and cleaning. 

“Big days of service are fun.  It’s great to see so many people involved,” said Zaleski, who plans to partake in future days of service. 

After the service was complete for the day, students went to UM-D to have lunch and nationally known poet, Jessica Care Moore, who read poetry and there was also a choir performing.

Later in the evening at Madonna, a lecture was held as a joint effort between the City of Livonia and the Madonna University Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.  The Theme was “The Richness of Global Diversity” and approximately 70 people were in attendance.

The lecture included a panel of Madonna students comprised of Father Stephen Owusu Sekyere (Ghana), Mengfei Niu (China), Renata De Godoy (Brazil), and Anastasija Baranovska (Latvia).

“I thought that it was a very good event and spoke to a larger issue: As we grow and expand our network, the world is shrinking and with that in mind, we have to move past our “isms” and stereotypes and look at the similarities that we possess,” said Glen Brooks from Madonna’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.