Students Rally for MLK Day of Service
Service: it’s a way of life at Bluefield College, a time-honored core value, a part of the school’s mission statement, and integrated heavily into students’ overall academic experience.
January 24, 2014
Bluefield College students assemble decorative baby bottles for the Abel Crisis Pregnancy Center as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service.
BC students move furniture as part of a clean-up project at the historic Sanders House, one of four sites where students volunteered a day of service.
That’s why when the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service comes around every year, there is no question BC students are involved. This year, 42 Bluefield College students took part in a day of service at four separate locations in the community, designed not only to fulfill the BC mission to be in service to God and the community, but also to pay tribute to the legacy and service of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“A central core value of Bluefield College is that, ‘We are a compassionate, globally-minded community that serves to transform the world,’” said BC president, Dr. David Olive. “Our intention is to show that compassion every day, but especially on this day as we serve local non-profit organizations throughout our community.”
Sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia, the annual MLK National Day of Service is designed to mobilize thousands of non-profit groups, faith-based organizations, schools and businesses in a nationwide day of service to others. Additionally, the event helps keep Dr. King's legacy of service alive and challenges individuals to make service a part of their everyday lives.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Dr. Olive, “while also making a statement to our community that we care and are engaged in making our community a better place for everyone.”
The 42 BC students volunteered their time at the Bluefield Union Mission, the Abel Crisis Pregnancy Center, the Historic Sanders House, and the campus of Bluefield College. Katilyn Duggins, a community service advocate for BC who organizes the annual MLK Service Day, said the motivation behind the students’ efforts comes from scripture in Ephesians that says, “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Completing those “good works,” she added, brings “JOY” to the students.
“We’ve always been taught not to be selfish and to live more like Christ,” said Duggins, a 2012 BC graduate, “and to give to Jesus, Others, and then Yourself (JOY).”
At the Bluefield Union mission, students made sandwiches and bagged food for what turned out to be an unusually large group of visitors to the Mission’s charity kitchen.
“We’ve been going strong all day long,” said Craig Hammond, executive director of the Union Mission. “The demand for food has been incredible. With the weather the way it is, you wouldn’t think there would be that many people in here to get a meal, but boy, we’ve had them all day long.”
At the Abel Crisis Pregnancy Center, students helped assemble and decorate dozens of baby bottles used in the agency’s annual money bank fundraiser.
“The softball team decided to volunteer together,” said Madison Fielder, a sophomore from Tazewell, Virginia, and a member of the Lady Rams softball squad. “It’s nice that we’re getting familiar with the community where we go to school while helping with projects that need to be done.”
At the Sanders House in Bluefield, Virginia, students took down, boxed and stored Christmas decorations. They also cleaned floors, walls and furniture in the house. For senior Jahlisa Harvey of Pompano Beach, Florida, and many other students who volunteered, it was their first time in the historic museum and community center.
“The school does a lot of community service projects, and for the MLK National Day of Service, we just thought it was important to reach out to the community,” said Harvey. “Being a senior at Bluefield and living here for four years, I know what an impact the students can have on the community. And, I had never been in the Sanders House, so Ithought this would be a great place to come and help out.”
On campus, students cleaned atheatre stage. All in all, the students helped members of the community achieve more in one day than they ever could have achieved alone.
“Working with the Bluefield College students was a joy,” said Joyce Johnston and Lynn Harman from the Sanders House Board of Directors. “We accomplished in an hour what would have taken us days to achieve on our own. This is a community-based house, so these students really are helping the community.”