Students Give Back on MLK Day
BC students make a difference on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service.
January 27, 2012
For BC students, Jan. 16 was a day off from classes, and for many it was a day of giving back to the Bluefield community as well.
In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort.
Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service.
Dani Preservati volunteers at WISE Women's Center
Kristen Garrett, director of BC’s Bonner scholarship program, which is based on community service, organized the service day events for BC.
“Service is very important to Bluefield College and to make sure that students give back to their community,” said Garrett.
Students had the opportunity to serve at one of three locations: the Bluefield Union Mission, the WISE Women’s Center, and the Bland Missionary Center.
Dani Preservati, a sophomore from Princeton, W.Va., and criminal justice major Courtney Dutton volunteered their time at the WISE Women’s Center, a resource for women seeking jobs, where they organized four rooms and 15 bags of clothes.
Preservati and Dutton separated the clothes into two piles: One pile of business attire and one pile of casual clothes. The business clothing is sold to the women at a reduced price, and the casual clothes are donated to the local Salvation Army.
“A whole dressy pant suit is $7, and a blouse is $2, and skirts are $3,” said Dutton. “Five of us went through racks and put clothes we wouldn’t wear to a job interview in bags, and they were donated to the Salvation Army.”
The WISE Women’s Center is operated by Ada Morris. Morris’ job is a temporary work experience program for women over age 55.
“Ada was so grateful,” said Dutton. “I’ve arranged stuff before, but she was so grateful. I didn’t think I was helping that much, but she was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing!’
Community service is an opportunity for students to help their community while having fun.
“I would like to go back with a group and help again,” said Preservati. “I just had a lot of fun!”
BC observed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by giving students the day off, but Preservati, Dutton, and 38 other BC students spent the day working hard.
“It was neat to see them give on their day off for someone less fortunate,” said Garrett. “This generation is more what can I get out of it, and not what can I give to someone else.”
For more information about the Bonner Program or ways you can serve the community, contact Kristen Garrett at or to find out more about the MLK National Day of Service, visit www.MLKDay.gov.