Lawrenceville Adapts MLK Day of Service
The Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day Committee has adapted Lawrenceville’s annual MLK day of service to a series of meetings spanning from January 13 through March 27.
The Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day Committee has adapted Lawrenceville’s annual MLK day of service to a series of meetings spanning from January 13 through March 27. The MLK Day Committee, consisting of Student Council Community Service Representative Lauren McKinnon ’21, Josh Cigoianu ’22, Ari Codjoe ’21, Zack Finnacchio ’21, Director of Community Service Rachel Cantlay P’07 ’09 ’11, Associate Director of Community Service Elizabeth Ferguson, Associate Director of College Counseling Beth Foulk, Religion and Philosophy Teacher Nuri Friedlander, Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement Rick Holifield, and Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Kelly Wise, has been working hard to develop an immersive and interesting program. After a brief introduction to the series at school meeting last Wednesday, students had the chance to select a topic of their interest from the following groups: education, hunger, poverty, environment, social justice, senior citizens, special needs, and public health.
Reflecting on the new format of MLK Day, McKinnon commented, “The mission of this program is to create an environment where students can foster an understanding of the communities we serve. In doing so they’ll be able to create more meaningful service and a more meaningful understanding of themselves as volunteers.” She believes this year’s program will give students a needed reflection period to “prepare for service and provide training and understanding prior to conducting service, an important part that has been missing in prior years.”
According to McKinnon, each topic group will consist of around 120 students who will meet on February 17 to hear a presentation specific to their topic. During the session, each group will go over current and historical issues about their selected topic, including their issue’s background, prominence, and relevance today.
For the next session on March 26, Finacchio explained how each topic group will break out into smaller groups with around 12 students per group and a student leader facilitator “with experience and training in community service and diversity work.”
Finally, in the final session on March 27, each group will be joined by a community partner. Finacchio noted that although the community partners have not been officially selected yet, the MLK Day Committee is working on “reaching out to organizations they have worked with in the past.”
While no one will be able to perform in-person service this year due to the virtual Winter Term, McKinnon is sure this year’s virtual program will be just as effective and meaningful, and she hopes that future service representatives will continue developing this program. “It’s definitely sad that we won’t be able to do in-person service this year and help up organizations that appreciate our time and our help, but at the same time, this is a really good opportunity to capitalize on the understanding of service that we need to solidify,” she said.