The Catholic University of America

Jan. 15, 2015

Catholic University to Mark MLK Day with Service

  Students participate in last year's MLK Day of Service.

More than 750 students, faculty, and staff from The Catholic University of America are expected to serve neighbors in need on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 19 — the largest contingent in the 10 years the University has participated in the MLK Day of Service. It also will mark the largest community service event ever at Catholic University.

Volunteers — including University President John Garvey’s wife, Jeanne — will assemble in the Great Room of the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center on the morning of Jan. 19 and then fan out across Washington, D.C. (President John Garvey usually participates in the MLK Day of Service but is traveling this year.) More than 15 buses will transport volunteers to some of the 23 sites Catholic University is partnering with that day. Many of those sites include parks that volunteers will help clean and restore. Other volunteers will travel by foot to sites nearby, including Little Sisters of the Poor Residence and Beacon House.

This is the 10th consecutive year Catholic University has organized service projects on MLK Day. When the MLK Day of Service began in 2006, 26 volunteers participated. Last year, that number had grown to 549 participants.

“We saw a huge jump in numbers last year, which was a surprise,” said Emmjolee Mendoza Waters, associate director of campus ministry and community service. “Ten years in, this event has become a tradition. People know about it. It’s our marquee service event.”

Mendoza Waters adds that this event is a great way to kick off the year with service. Those who have committed to service projects later in the year, like Habitat for Humanity or mission trips, often participate as a way to launch their commitment. The number of student-athletes, faculty, and staff has continued to grow as well.

This year, the theme for the day of service stems from a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl. But by all means, keep moving forward.”
Reflection cards bearing that quote will be handed out to volunteers.

“I want people to reflect on this quote and this day of service. I want them to ask ‘What does this mean for me? How do I move forward from this one day?’” says Mendoza Waters. “I also want them to recognize the power of our numbers. As one group, we can make a huge impact in terms of service.”

Breakfast, lunch, transportation, and T-shirts will be provided to volunteers. To sign up, visit
MLK Day celebrates the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., who organized and led nonviolent marches, protests, and boycotts for the civil rights of African-Americans in the 1950s and 1960s.




More news from CUA