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Thousands of Volunteers Work Together on Day of Service

Jamestown Community College Students sit in front of American Flag during Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service

Jamestown Community College Students who participated in the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

The State University of New York kicked off a new partnership with the Governor’s Office and the Office of National and Community Service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this week. The partnership will foster volunteerism among SUNY students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

The launch, which included a slate of activities and opportunities to volunteer across the state in and around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, was coordinated by the Commission’s 10 regional volunteer centers and SUNY campuses. More than 80 volunteer projects, including ongoing drives for needed items and community-hosted projects and events were hosted, including 24 campus-based days of service.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a visionary leader who inspired us to take better care of ourselves, our neighbors, and our communities, and this partnership is an ideal way for all of New York to honor his legacy this week and throughout the year.

Thank you to the more than 2,000 New Yorkers across the state who volunteer as part of this effort Monday, to the hundreds of staff at our regional centers and food banks who volunteer year-round, and to the SUNY colleges and universities who collaborated to offer projects for students, faculty, and staff on-campus and in local communities.

female students from Canton with SUNY Serves shirts at Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service 2014

Canton students at Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service 2014

SUNY’s partnership with Governor Cuomo and the Office of National and Community Service is facilitating and deepening community engagement and volunteerism across New York not just for SUNY students, faculty, staff, and alumni, but for all of the state’s citizens. This coordinated statewide volunteer effort was a fitting tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and the hope and inspiration that he instilled in all Americans.

More than 80 volunteer projects are planned throughout the state this week, including opportunities to sort produce at food banks, repair homes, attend disaster preparedness trainings, and participate in a “Basic Need Drive” to collect needed items for local charities. A full list of projects and information is available at: http://newyorkersvolunteer.ny.gov/

Throughout 2013, more than 700,000 volunteers provided nearly three million hours of community service through the state’s Regional Volunteer Centers.

Here are just a few examples of outcomes for the partnership:

January 18th, 2014 – ‘King for a Day’ volunteers honor MLK

  • Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), The College at Brockport, and Genesee Land and Trust
  • Remembered MLK by picking up 265lbs of trash from the El Camino Trail in Rochester.
  • “At the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence on South Plymouth Avenue, University of Rochester students helped clean up and crafted luminary containers to hold candles to set out around the neighborhood to mark Monday’s holiday”
  • Projects were planned by RochesterCares who planned 20 some projects in honor of MLK.

January 20th, 2014 – MLK Day to be marked by service, leadership

  • SUNY Geneseo
  • Host speaker Lulu Westbrooks-Griffin: an woman who was arrested and imprisoned as a young girl in Americus, GA. “for opposing the system of segregation” during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Will hold 5 workshops and intergenerational service projects to assist home-bound senior citizens in Livingston County
    • “After lunch volunteers, including local senior citizens and students, will break into teams to assemble several kits to be distributed to 400 home bound seniors and low income K-12 students in area schools. The program will also feature musical selections by student soloists. In the past, groups have assembled soup mixes, written notes to shut-ins, and created snake-like stuffed tubes that are used to keep drafts from coming in under doors.”

January 20th, 2014 – February 3rd, 2014 MLK Day Events

  • SUNY Plattsburgh, Clinton Community College, North Country Community College, SUNY Potsdam, and SUNY Canton
  • North Country Regional Volunteer Center operated by the United Way of the Adirondack Region, Inc.
  • All campuses hosting a “Basic Needs Drive [for] Coats, Scarves, Hats, Mittens, socks, Pajamas, Lines, Personal hygiene items, Baby items, etc.”

January 20th, 2014 – King’s legacy lives on in MLK Day of Service

  • “Volunteers will fill backpacks from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with items like crayons, colored pencils, drawing pads, journals and personal care items that will be given to childrenunder the care of foster parents.”
  • Volunteers will also be scrubbing down the Trinity Episcopal Church Soup Kitchen facilities in downtown Plattsburgh
  • Article also indicates the “Basic Needs Drive” mentioned above, but no other SUNY affiliation

January 20th, 2014 – Fulfilling King’s dream requires effort, unity

  • “Calvin Butts, pastor of New York’s Abyssinian Baptist Church and president of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, delivered a sterling speech Monday at the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs’ annual Martin Luther King Jr.Leadership Breakfast.”

January 18th, 2014 – Long Islanders Remember Martin Luther King Jr.

Volunteers from Stony Brook, Suffolk Community College and Long Island sit at Stony Brook University during Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service

Volunteers from Stony Brook, Suffolk Community College and Long Island sit at Stony Brook University during Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service

  • Senior staff of Stony Brook University and Suffolk County Community College were represented and spoke; Dr. Stanley in particular was truly eloquent and inspiring.
  • 200 volunteers comprised students (including AmeriCorps members), faculty, staff and alumni as well as community members representing seniors, millennials, and families
  • 250 disaster preparedness kits were created for two nonprofit organizations that serve vulnerable populations, EOC of Suffolk and Wyandanch’s Gerald J. Ryan Outreach Center
  • 9 exhibitors were on hand to introduce attendees to additional ways to serve the community including American Red Cross, Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Suffolk, and Pet Safe Coalition
  • The event was kicked off by Dr. Stephen Post (author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping and Why Good things Happen to Good People) who presented some interesting statistics on the impact of volunteering and set a great tone for the day.
  •  Newsday published a pre-event and post event article.  In addition, Stony Brook University arranged for a videographer which will document and celebrate this launch event.

January 18th, 2014 – MLK Day of Service Volunteer Events Scheduled on Long Island January 18th-27th

  • Nassau County Community College:
    • 234 volunteers attended and comprised students, faculty, staff, Asian American Association, NCC Chapter of SUNY Veterans of America, Philippine Club, Caribbean Student Organization, Make A Difference Club, CANstruction, and School of Nursing.
    • The volunteers helped create 250 disaster preparedness kits for three nonprofit organizations that serve vulnerable populations, Helen Keller Service Center, Long Island Council on Independent Living, and Long Beach Magnolia Senior Center.
    • 6 exhibitors were on hand to introduce attendees to additional ways to serve the community including American Red Cross, All Hands Volunteers, Nechama, UMCOR.
    • The event was kicked off by Dr. Joseph Muscarella, Vice President Administration, who gave an inspring talk on “Kindness” and how NCC was a significant contributor to Sandy relief by operating two shelters on campus for displaced Long Islanders.
    • A Newsday photographer came today and a photo with caption should appear tomorrow.  The photographer said to me during the shoot, “This is an awesome event.”
    • Volunteers received a certificate of appreciation and a gourmet cupcake at the conclusion of their service act.  “Build a kit, get a cupcake” was a tag line of the project and became a fun focal point of the assembly line.
  • 40 Farmingdale State College students and faculty will
    • “work with fire departments, veteran’s facilities, senior centers, community centers and parks to rebuild and recover from the damage that Superstorm Sandy left behind.”
    • SUNY Old Westbury:
      • 105 student volunteers attended mostly from the Freshman class with high energy and enthusiasm
      •  The volunteers helped create 250 disaster preparedness kits for two nonprofit organizations that serve vulnerable populations, EOC of Nassau and The INN (Interfaith Nutrition Network soup kitchens and shelters); select student leaders delivered the kits to the organizations and got a presentation and tour at their facilities
      • 5 exhibitors were on hand to introduce attendees to additional ways to serve the community including American Red Cross, All Hands Volunteers, LIVC, Nechama, and Nassau County CERT.
      • The event was emceed by Dr. Mary Langlie, Vice President for Student Affairs, and the keynote speaker was Scott Reich (author of The Power of Citizenship, Why JFK Matters to a New Generation) who gave an inspiring talk on the importance of public service.
      • Volunteers received an engraved commemorative pin at the conclusion of their service act

January 22nd, 2014 – Day of Service continues King legacy

  • SUNY Geneseo’s Day of Leadership and Service had 105 participants, including 67 students, 20 senior citizens, and 18 faculty or staff members. Together, the volunteers put together:
  • 398 breakfast mix bags
  • More than 250 backpacks for the Kids Backpack Program
  • 209 information packets for distribution by the Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse
  • 145 health hygiene kits including 1750 donated items
  • 132 greeting cards for Get Well and Valentine’s Day
  • 130 dog treat bags

See more photos at our Storify following the events and activities.

    Maxwell Morgan

      Written by Maxwell Morgan

      Maxwell was a Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.

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