Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a holiday that many students look forward to for a day of rest and relaxation, but about 160 TCU students had other plans.
Brittany Shamlin, student director of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, said this year they had about 160 students sign up for the community service day, about twice as many as last year which was the program’s first year.
Students went to about 10 various service sites around Fort Worth. Some of the sites were the Day Resource Center, Samaritan House, and YWCA Resale Shop.
Shamlin said that serving is an important part of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
“Martin Luther King talked a lot about justice and the civil rights movement. He is famous for his “I Have A Dream” speech and that is all people really typically remember about him,” Shamlin said. “But he also had a speech called “The Drum Major Instinct” in which he talked about [how being a] great leader is equivalent to being a great servant. So serving is part of his legacy and most people don’t realize that.”
Shamlin said she hopes students leave the day with an understanding of what it means to be a servant, something Martin Luther King, Jr. believed to be an important job for people.
“Serving is not the same thing as helping someone,” Shamlin said. “You don’t have to change their lives by painting their fence or planting some tulips for them. It’s really about how you affect them [in a relationship] like forming those bonds, having a conversation.”
Serving is something that you can do every day, Shamlin said.
“Sometimes just smiling at someone can brighten up their whole day, and I really wish that people knew that more,” Shamlin said.
John Do, a sophomore psychology major, said he likes to volunteer in his spare time. He volunteers with Meals on Wheels, a tutoring program and LEAPS.
“Most students like to take the day off but I want to be productive about what I do. [Volunteering] help[s] get my mind back on track because we just got back from winter break,” Do said.
First year studentCurtizia Alexander said she is a part ofCommunity Scholars, a program that gives scholarships to students from area high schools who are pursing higher education. The program requires a certain number of volunteer hours a semester, Alexander said. This is the reason Alexander said she decided to volunteer for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
A required number of volunteer hours may have been the reason that Alexander volunteered to begin with, but she said she was having a great time and would participate in the service day again next year.
Shamlin said she is graduating, but she hoped the service day continues on in some capacity in the future.
“Even if they change up how they are doing it, I really hope that MLK service doesn’t end here with me today,” Shamlin said.