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Students, Staff to Volunteer at School on MLK Day of Service

Nearly 30 students and staff from Providence College will kick off the spring semester by participating in a national day of service project at a local school on Monday, January 21, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The MLK Day of Service, planned in conjunction with the national holiday, commemorates the late civil rights’ leader’s legacy and spotlights service as a powerful force to bridge economic and social divides. This is the first year that the College will be formally participating in the annual event.

Students volunteering for the day of service will return to campus a day early to prepare for the project through an array of activities, fellowship, and reflection. They also will listen to guest speaker Sal Montero from the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence in Providence and watch The Freedom Riders, a film about college students using the power of non-violence for social justice.

Working alongside students from the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy in Central Falls, R.I., the PC contingent will spend the holiday cleaning up multiple areas in the middle school and painting its community room. After the work is completed, the College volunteers will prepare for and lead a cultural night for the school’s students and their families.

Families of the Seton Academy students will bring food from their country of origin to share. The evening will include presentations by several of the College’s student music and dance clubs and organizations.

Nurturing the “Beloved Community”

Dr. King believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this country a better place to live — creating the Beloved Community. 

“My hope is that students will understand MLK’s vision for the Beloved Community through the means of service that empower others,” said Elena Yee, director of the College’s Balfour Office for Multicultural Activities (BOMA), whose team is organizing the service project and cultural night. “We want this to be less about us helping others and more about us learning and serving together.”

The MLK Day of Service provides another opportunity to expand the ongoing relationship between Providence College and St. Elizabeth Seton Academy, said the school’s principal.

“We deeply appreciate the continued, practical support that Providence College has offered to Seton Academy in the form of tutors, dance instructors, and now the makeover of our lunch room on this MLK Day of Service,” said Doreen Engel.

Lecture, vigil also planned

In addition to the day of service, the College has scheduled two other campus events to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy:

• Dr. Terence A. McGoldrick, assistant professor of theology, will present a lecture on January 23 at 4:00 p.m. in the Center for Catholic and Dominican Studies. His talk is entitled “Selma: The Turning Point for the Catholic Church’s Support of MLK.”

• An MLK Vigil of Remembrance will take place on January 29 at 7:00 p.m. in St. Dominic Chapel. The vigil will include reflections, readings, and songs, with musical presentations featuring the PC Liturgical Choir and the Footprints Gospel Choir.

— John Larson​

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