Day of service encourages students, assists community

Volunteers organized the toys and other donations that have been brought to the Grace Centers of Hope throughout the year. 

On Jan. 23, over 170 students gathered in the Fireside Lounge in the Oakland Center to check-in for the MLK Day of Service.

Students were then sent to different groups for their assigned worksite.  

Students assembled between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. to meet their site leaders and grab a free sack lunch.  All volunteers headed off to various areas in metro-Detroit to serve for the morning.  

Site leaders were assigned to each work site and assisted in providing directions, organizing volunteers and helping out with the service work.

Some of the volunteer sites included the Baldwin Center in Pontiac, Grace Centers of Hope and HAVEN Oakland County.  

The service day has become a tradition at Oakland University.  Emily DeLano, Coordinator of Leadership and Service Learning, explained that MLK Day of Service has been at Oakland for over nine years.  

At Grace Centers of Hope, volunteers helped organize toys and donations that have been brought in throughout the year.  Some students painted the director’s office, while others from different organizations assisted in the kitchen.  

Students last year volunteered at similar locations.  Groups planted trees or helped serve food at charities among other projects.

Different student organizations registered for the service day together, though individual volunteers were present as well.  

“Last year, I did it with an organization…but this year I felt the need to give back because I had such a good time last year,” Ania McKoy, communication major, said. “I love being here at Grace Centers. Every time I come here it’s just a really positive environment and you just feel good to be here.”

McKoy assisted in painting the director’s office at Grace Centers of Hope for this year’s service project.  She had previously worked at the center in the kitchen with her friend Allie Outland, a human resources management major.  

“We came back here a while back to volunteer in the kitchen and that was a lot of fun,” Outland said. “It’s just good to give back and help out…It was just eye-opening to see that people really depend on these places.”

MLK Day of Service provides a way for students to give back to the community while honoring the legacy of Dr. King.  

“Volunteering can change the world,” DeLano said.  “It can help people in need, it can have an economic impact in Michigan and it can teach volunteers new skills.”

DeLano encourages everyone to take part in the service day next year and to get involved with the Leadership and Volunteer Center for more opportunities to give back.  

“When we give, we get something back,” DeLano stated.

For more information on the service day, please find the event on GrizzOrgs or contact Emily DeLano.