Sylvie Armstrong

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LU Students Turning Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service into a Day On, Not a Day Off

More than 100 Lawrence University students are expected to take advantage of a day free of classes by participating in various community projects Monday, Jan. 18 as part of 2010’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Coordinated by Lawrence’s Volunteer and Community Service Center (VCSC), students will volunteer several hours of their time Monday (12:30-3:30 p.m.) with nearly a dozen different programs and agencies in the Fox Cities.

MLK-Day-of-Service-logo-web.gifSome of the volunteer projects include working with Rebuilding Together Fox Valley to paint and clean at Holy Spirit School in Kimberly, helping prepare a meal at the Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley and assisting the Appleton Housing Authority renovate a duplex.

As many as 30 students will be involved in a diversity activity with students at Appleton’s Richmond Elementary School.

Kristi Hill, Lawrence’s coordinator of internships and volunteer programs said it takes dedicated student leaders and collaborative community agencies to make the MLK Day of Service possible.

“This year we have created strong relationships with 12 community agencies that are hosting a Lawrence AmeriCorps member serving in a volunteer liaison capacity,” said Hill. “This partnership has resulted in some well-planned community projects. Both the Lawrence Volunteer and Community Service Center and the Day of Service are entirely student-led, which speaks volumes of the passion our students have for the Fox Valley community.”

Sophomore Brenda Zuleger, the VCSC’s events coordinator, said the MLK Day of Service “provides a great opportunity for both Lawrence students and the Appleton community to connect and serve the needs of others.”

“Lawrence students learn a little bit more about the service organizations throughout Appleton on their day off from classes while making a difference in someone else’s life. That is truly a phenomenal feeling.”

The Day of Service also includes a volunteer fair coordinated by the VCSC from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center featuring representatives from 40 area agencies and several Lawrence student organizations with a service focus.

A presentation on VCSC summer volunteer opportunity grants will be conducted in the Warch Center’s Kraemer Conference Room from 4-5 p.m. Lawrence seniors J.B. Sivanich, who taught English to academically talented children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in Bangalore, India; Rebecca Bohl, who served as an intern for the Guatemala Human Rights Commission in Washington D.C.; Sylvie Armstrong, who worked as a dog adoption coordinator for Saving Paws Animal Rescue near Appleton; and Zachary Becker, who worked on the Ramchander Nath Foundation’s prisoner art project in New Delhi, India, will discuss their experiences as 2009 summer volunteer opportunity grant recipients.

The day’s events conclude with the 19th annual community-wide Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Rev. Wanda Washington, pastor of Grace United Church of Christ in Milwaukee, will serve as the celebration’s keynote speaker.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was founded in 1994 to transform the federal holiday honoring King into a national day of community service grounded in the civil rights leader’s teachings of nonviolence and social justice.