Published Jan. 31, 2013
Springfield, Ohio – Inspired by the vision of Springfield Promise Neighborhood to form a local collaborative, neighborhood-based effort to ensure children are school-ready by kindergarten, and college and work-ready by graduation, Wittenberg students focused on service projects with elementary school students during the university’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at Wittenberg University and the Springfield Center for the Arts on Jan. 26.
The event was organized by Wittenberg’s Community Service Program in collaboration with Concerned Black Students, an organization that advocates for African Americans on campus. Wittenberg students spent about four hours with students from Lincoln and Hayward Middle School, celebrating the teachings of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and creating a literacy service craft that will be donated to the Warder Literary Center.
Throughout the day, there were opportunities to discuss how young people can take action for positive change in their own lives and their communities. The event also included a readers’ theater to learn about King’s legacy.
“We knew we wanted to continue to strengthen the bond that Wittenberg has formed with Lincoln and Hayward through this event, and we thought the day could be an even more unique experience for all if we tried out a new location,” said Emily Bermes, class of 2014 from Northbrook, Ill. “Holding the event at the Springfield Center for the Arts was a great way to integrate the arts as we celebrated Dr. King through a day of service, collaboration and action.”
The event is part of the National Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, which is observed the third Monday in January each year. It is a national holiday, created to encourage individuals to view Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a “day on, not a day off.”
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which coordinates the service day at the national level, views the event as something that “empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, addresses social problems and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of ‘Beloved Community’.” Wittenberg’s Community Service Program plans the event on a Saturday later in January since the university already offers the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Convocation and other events to remember King on the actual holiday.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
Photo By: Kate Causbie '14