In honor of Monday’s holiday, Montclair State participated in the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service, a nationwide initiative where attendees celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy by serving the community through various volunteer projects on campus and in neighboring towns.
The event was organized by the Center for Student Involvement, the Volunteer Resource Center and the Office for Service Learning and Community Engagement and provided various community service opportunities.
Volunteers and coordinators met at 8 a.m. in the Student Center to register for the day, enjoy a breakfast buffet and listen to a few speakers as an introduction to the event before heading out to their various locations.
The day’s opening remarks were given by Alex Finley, the Service-Learning Coordinator, and Adam Janacek, the Volunteer Resource Coordinator. The goal of the Volunteer Resource Center (VRC) is to aid members of the Montclair State Community to “create a lasting, productive and meaningful connection through community service. Through its resources, the VRC is able to carry on the Red Hawk tradition of community service and giving back,” according to HawkSync.
Along with Finley and Janacek, attendees listened to a short speech by guest speaker Mayor Lester Taylor III of East Orange, N.J., in which he said, “I am proud to return to my Alma Mater, Montclair State University, as guest speaker for their Dr. [Martin Luther King], Jr. Event. In the words of Dr. King, ‘Intelligence plus character: that is the true goal of education.’”
The volunteers consisted of Montclair State students, faculty, staff and alumni, along with workers from AmeriCorps, the Montclair Township Fire Department and other members of the local community.
The volunteers were organized into the various service groups and those doing off-campus jobs were bused to their assigned locations.
Some groups spent their time spreading fire safety awareness by going door to door in the community, handing out information packets and talking to as many residents as possible, while members of the fire department installed smoke detectors in homes that needed them.
Other service projects included socializing with senior citizens at Canterbury Village in West Orange, packaging medical supplies for those in need at MedShare in Secaucus, quilt-making for senior citizens residing in Gates Manor in Montclair and making sandwiches for Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless and Eva’s Village.
The Martin Luther King Day of Service is a way to unite Americans around the country through the spirit of King’s legacy and teachings in order to strengthen local communities and create respect for other people.