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Students & staff volunteer for MLK Day of Service

A program to promote youth literacy was among those assisted Jan. 21 by civic-minded Elon University community volunteers.


Dozens of people volunteered Monday to help area nonprofits with renovation work, building clean-up, book packing and more as the campus community took part in the Martin Luther King Jr. "Day of Service" event organized by the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement in partnership with the Multicultural Center.

The service events, held on the federal holiday that honors the legacy of the slain civil rights leader, benefited the Positive Attitude Youth Center and Allied Churches in Burlington, N.C., and Kids Read Inc., a Georgia-based nonprofit started by a current Elon University senior to provide new and used children’s books to service agencies in poverty-stricken communities.

Students in a Winter Term course on wealth and poverty taught by Professor Rebecca "Toddie" Peters gave volunteers a brief overview about poverty levels in Alamance County before the crowd inside McKinnon Hall headed to various service sites.

Those who stayed helped pack more than 200 books into boxes destined for a YMCA and at least two elementary schools in Atlanta. Boxes will be delivered over "Fake Break" later this month when a service program visits the hometown of Brenna Humphries, who created Kids Read Inc. in 2007

"I really believe service is a way to make a lasting impact on communities, and that's exactly what Martin Luther King Jr. did through his own service," the Elon University senior said. "I started this as a way to give back."

Other Elon students at the service event made similar observations about the role of service in their lives "It's important to help others and reach past ourselves," said sophomore Lauren Packard, a neuroscience major from Highlands Ranch, Colo. "And education (through literacy) is one of the most important ways to solve poverty."

In addition to student volunteers, faculty and staff brought their children to McKinnon Hall for help making decorations to adorn a local assisted living facility.

The "Day of Service" was the final event in a week-long series of campus happenings that honored King. Previous activities included a special College Coffee, a scholar on social justice who spoke at an annual commemorative program, a peace journey through the heart of campus and a dialogue led by Elon University students.

Eric Townsend,
1/24/2013 3:17 PM