Panthers volunteer on MLK day of service

Photo by Giselle Cancio/FIUSM 

Giselle Cancio/Staff Writer 

Since 1994, the Center for Leadership and Service has planned and executed the annual MLK Day of service. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the purpose is to bring Dr. King’s teachings to life by bringing together the community in celebration of diversity and freedom for all.

Usually, the day of service is held on the FIU Campus, but for the first time this year, it will be held on multiple sites.

“We are excited to be partnering with six different organizations within Miami Gardens to bring out volunteers to seven different sites,” Zach Gruenhagen, one of the staff members from CLS said.

The day of service will be dedicated to the residents of Miami Gardens. Volunteers will be working at several different sites focused on social issues such as housing equality, at-risk youth, public safety and health services.

Across the nation, many individuals, corporations, organizations and schools chose a day to be “a day on instead of a day off” by participating in service around their community. FIU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service will be held on Saturday, January 18.

“We are expecting 200 to 400 students to be in attendance, assigned to different sites around Miami Gardens in a three-hour span,” Gruenhagen said. “So far, the sites include a kick-off at Betty Ferguson rec-center, Miami Gardens Food Pantry, Parks and Recreation of Miami Gardens, Rebuilding Together and Miami-Dade County Fire & Rescue.

The tentative agenda for the day is as follows:

7:15 AM – Registration at MMC and BBC Campuses

7:45-8:30 AM – Travel time to kickoff location for FIU students on buses,

                     Registration at Betty T. Ferguson

8:30-9:15 AM – Breakfast and welcome speaker and instructions

9:15-9:30 AM – Travel Time to Sites

9:30-12:30 PM – Service at Sites

12:45-1:30 PM – Travel Time to FIU Campuses

At the City of Miami Gardens site, the students will be assisting with a day of peace that is being held to promote anti-violence in Miami Gardens. They will also help create a butterfly garden with the department.

At the City of Miami Gardens Park and Recreation, there will be service projects at three parks: Cloverleaf Park, Bunche Park and Bennett M. Lifter Park. At Cloverleaf park, students will be creating a butterfly garden with a girl scout troop and the office of sustainability. At Bunche Park, students will be painting concrete seating areas to bring some color to the park. At Bennett M. Lifter Park, students will be painting parking blocks and fences to bring color to the park.

At the Miami Gardens food pantry, students will be helping with the weekly distribution as well as collecting canned goods from all volunteers in order to re-supply the food pantry.

At a Miami Gardens home, with “Rebuilding Together Miami,” skilled volunteers from OHL School of Construction will work with FIU students to re-construct a home.

At the Miami Dade Fire and Rescue, FIU Students will help install fire detectors within Miami Gardens homes.

At the last site, in conjunction with “Mentoring Valuable Proteges,” and partnering with Barry University and Florida Memorial University, students will assist with a basketball clinic at Betty T. Ferguson Rec Center.

“This is my third day of service, and I am excited to be a part it. The different locations sounds like a fun, new idea,” Monica Sanchez, junior majoring in broadcast journalism said.

As Dr. King would often say, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” 

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