Amid the assortment of symposia and lectures honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision yesterday, one event in particular expressed respect for King”s message of reaching out to others in a very literal way.
Yesterday marked the 7th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, sponsored by Project SERVE and the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives.
The event fulfilled this year”s theme, Acting on the Dream, in many different ways, said LSA senior Megan Memmer, one of the project coordinators.
In addition to addressing environmental concerns by writing advocacy letters to the government, more than 200 student participants contributed by assisting several groups, including children, the elderly, and the homeless, in Ann Arbor and the neighboring cities of Ypsilanti, Saline and Detroit. SERVE also offered students the opportunity to work at site agencies with migrant farm workers and AIDS patients, Memmer said.
Yesterday”s Day of Service was founded after a speech made by Coretta Scott King, said Anita Bohn, founder of Project SERVE.
“She said if we really wanted to honor her husband, instead of talking we should go out and do service,” Bohn said.
LSA freshman Fadeel Mahmood acted on King”s dream by canvassing Ann Arbor restaurants to collect food for the hungry.
“I want to help people. I want to make a difference,” he said.
Even simple services such as Mahmood”s make a difference, Memmer said.
“Sometimes it”s not the most glorious work, but it”s work that agencies can”t do themselves. We”re helping them out so they can fulfill their community”s needs,” she said.
LSA senior Nicole Rappaport, who has been participating in Project SERVE”s days of service since she was a freshman, agreed. From painting houses in Detroit to working with kids at the local YMCA, she said she has become increasingly committed to performing community service.
“It”s real rewarding. There”s a lot out there we take for granted. This day helps me remember there are a lot of people out there that don”t have things to take advantage of,” she said.