Despite an approaching winter storm, 200 GW volunteers set out to serve the community and celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Saturday morning.
Students were assigned to six different service sites less than a week after Martin Luther King Day, and project coordinators stationed at each location guided small groups of students. We are Family, an active community service organization in the D.C. area, worked with a portion of the students.
For the day’s activities, some volunteers joined together and visited the elderly who reside in nearby apartment complexes, while others bravely made the trek through the snow and successfully delivered groceries to the physically disabled.
Although most students remained in their beds on a snowy Saturday morning, roughly 20 volunteers gathered at the We Are Family site at 1425 N St. in Northwest D.C., excited to begin their service mission.
“The best way to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is to serve the community,” senior Leila Siddiky said.
For some, the priority was helping out the less privileged in an urban areas that the average student seldom sees.
“I wanted to come out and explore a part of D.C. that I have never seen before,” freshman Kathy Wollner said.
Jenn Kotlewski, a sophomore and Alternative Spring Break leader at GW, did not participate in the King service program last year but said she was happy to help out this time around.
“I thought that this would be a really great service opportunity,” she said.
Mark Anderson, coordinator of the We Are Family program, has been involved in community service for 16 years. He has gotten to know senior citizens that GW students visited and said he has developed meaningful relationships with many of them.
“I sometimes see pictures on the senior citizen’s walls of Malcolm X, or John F. Kennedy, but I see Martin Luther King, Jr. on their walls all the time,” Anderson said.
Anderson told the GW participants that senior citizens have transformed the way he thinks.
“I came to give, and it is a beautiful thing. It is great to remember Martin Luther King Jr. by service,” he said. “It is extremely important because we live in a time when there are many challenges and divisions between the rich and poor. We have to remember that MLK Jr. was a prophet of justice.”
Hilda Reynolds, 81, said it was “sweet and thoughtful” of students to volunteer their time to help her and other senior citizens.
“When young people come and visit, it makes me remember back to when I was young,” she said. “I really do enjoy visitors.”