Twenty-seven UNC Pembroke students transformed their holiday into a day of action by participating in the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service.
From left: Andrew Taylor, Kaci Marcus, Nina Thao, Tianna Scriven, Darryl Glover and Vanessa Diaz prepare pet transport boxes.
On January 19, the students put in 216 hours of community service at two projects in Hoke and Robeson counties. They were led by AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer Yasmine Farley and Tamikka Gilmore, a graduate assistant, both with UNCP’s Center for Leadership and Service.
“The purpose is to make Martin Luther King Day a day on, not a day off, and to do something in the spirit and memory of Dr. King,” Farley said. “We want to transform a holiday to a day of service.”
“It’s about commitment and service to mankind,” Gilmore said. “President Obama also volunteered on this day and stressed its importance.”
The group went in two directions, one to The Haven, a no-kill animal shelter in Hoke County, and another to Lumberton to give a housewarming for a family moving in to housing supplied by the Lumberton Housing Authority. Farley led the group to the animal shelter.
“We worked hard, and the volunteers felt like they really accomplished something,” she said. “Working at an animal shelter changed their perception of what community service can be.”
From left: Leila Davies, Alicia Jones, Lamar Courmon and Nakia Lane pack a gift basket with house warming gifts.
“One of the students adopted a cat that she named Humble,” Farley said.
The project was funded in part by a grant from the North Carolina Campus Compact, a group representing North Carolina colleges and universities to promote community service and service learning. It included $25 for lunch.
“They had to be creative to buy lunch for 16 people with $25, but it was a fun challenge,” Farley said.
“We contributed our $25 to the family we were helping,” Gilmore said.
Farley is working on another food-related project on campus.
“We are organizing a student group to create a ‘campus kitchen,’” she said. “We want to work with our food service company to repackage unused food for soup kitchens and shelters.”
Each year, UNCP’s Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) organizes thousands of volunteer hours on community service projects including First Book and the National Day of Service. CLS rewards the student volunteers at an annual awards dinner and with honorary sashes for graduates to wear with regalia during commencement.