News & Events
The spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. is alive and well as exemplified by more than 200 members of the university community and area residents who spent the holiday volunteering at several locations.
(Dr. King) “was about many things and at the center of those things was service to humanity,” said President Dana Mohler-Faria at a kickoff breakfast held in the East Campus Commons.
That event marked the start of “A Day On, Not a Day Off,” which turns the holiday in honor of the slain civil rights leader into a day of service in his name. It was attended by more than 100 students from the New Bedford school system who participated in the Bridge program, which brings the middle schoolers to campus each summer for extra-curricular activities.
Student Sam Bellanton addressed those gathered for the breakfast, recalling the plight of black Americans in previous decades and the important role Dr. King and others played in changing things. “What was a reality for them is history for us,” he said.
Beginning mid-morning volunteers began to fan out across the region. The beneficiaries of their efforts were: Father Bill's Distribution Center- Brockton, Cradles to Crayons- Boston, VA Hospital- Brockton, Girls, Inc.- Taunton, Bridgewater Nursing Home, and Gifts to Give- New Bedford.
On campus, the Jumpstart program alone had more than 100 volunteers who created activity books for Head Start programs in Brockton and Taunton, as well as Children’s Hospital in Boston; and made sandwiches for a food pantry.
“It’s nice to spend time before classes begin to do some community service,” said BSU sophomore Ashley Deschenes, as she put together an activity book.
Joshua Osegueda, a site manager with the Jumpstart program, said he might need more space next year if the urge to volunteer grows any more. “The Bridgewater community is really into service, and all this work helps area kids,” he said.
Many of those who spent their holiday as “a day on,” seemed committed to the very thing Dr. Mohler-Faria said in closing his breakfast address: “There’s no better way to honor Dr. King than to serve and make this a beginning,” he said. (Story by John Winters, photos by John Winters and Karen Callan, Office of University Advancement)