Instead of taking a day off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 21, students, faculty, and staff from Cleveland State Community College are choosing to take a day on helping others. They will be joining hundreds of other colleges and universities across the country in an effort to honor the life and contributions of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cleveland State has recruited six teams of students, faculty and staff who have signed up to use this day as a day of service while providing hours of help to a local non-profit agency. These teams of ten are responsible for securing the supplies they need in order to complete the much needed project(s) that the agency has asked them to complete during their time at their facility.
"This opportunity allows students, faculty and staff to come together to do accomplish amazing feats for six deserving agencies,” said Tracey Wright, director of Special Programs and Community Relations. “The projects that the agencies will complete are things that cannot be accomplished by a volunteer who comes in and works for one hour and then leaves.”
The teams in Athens will be assisting the McMinn County Senior Citizen Center and the McMinn Family YMCA. The group at the McMinn County Senior Citizen Center will primarily be working in a newly acquired facility that the organization has secured cleaning floors, walls, cabinets, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, etc. They will also assist in locating indoor/outdoor carpet and a space heater for the screened porch, locating lighting for the front room and painting some of the rooms. The group at the McMinn Family YMCA will assist in weeding, tilling, and prepping a community garden.
The teams in Monroe County will be working with Amedisys Hospice and Keep Monroe County Beautiful. The group at Amedisys will work with residents to help them create “Memory Boards” or life story boards. These boards will aid the residents who are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in preserving some of their precious memories, as well as aid those providing care in better understanding and knowing the patient.
The group at Keep Monroe County Beautiful has three projects that they are to tackle on this day. Project 1: The group is to secure bricks or blocks to provide a border for a plant area around the sign at Tellico Plains Jr. High School. They will also need to get rocks or mulch to fill the area once it has been created. Project 2: The group will provide topsoil and mulch for a flower bed. They have also been asked to purchase and plant three rose bushes for this area. Project 3: The group will help install playground equipment at the local ball field in Tellico.
The teams in Cleveland will be working for Tri-State Therapeutic Riding Center clearing a four-acre pasture so that it can be used for the program equines. The group might also have the opportunity to work with a group of students with disabilities during their ride time. There is another team working at Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland preparing donations in the receiving room at the ReStore. Additionally, this group will be asked to hang posters for the 2013 Bike to Build Fundraiser that will take place in April. It is also possible that the group might be able to assist with a home repair or construction.
Director Wright said, “This day of service provides a win-win for the agency and for the volunteers from Cleveland State Community College as the agencies are able to have projects that need to be accomplished, and the volunteers are able to contribute back to their community, learn new skills, learn about the work of the agency and meet new friends—all while reflecting on the life of Dr. King and others who were a part of the Civil Rights movement.”