While many people were off of work in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a group of 160 college, high school and junior high students gathered at Queens' Levine Center for a day of "on." For more than five years, Queens has joined efforts with Right Moves for Youth, an organization that helps Charlotte-Mecklenburg students succeed in school and in life, for a day of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. This year, Johnson & Wales University also joined the effort.
Bright and early, the day started with a blessing from Queens Chaplain Diane Mowrey before students broke into groups to venture out into the community and volunteer at one of six organizations: Hornets Nest Park, Supportive Housing Communities, Hope Haven, Charlotte Rescue Mission, Carolina Raptor Center and The Grove Presbyterian Church. Students of all ages bonded as the morning was spent picking up garbage, painting houses, cleaning, yard work and much more.
"I love to give back to my community. Just a few decades ago, this would not be a reality. I have no choice but to serve in remembrance of all the people in the past who have made this day possible. "
- Carmen McIver, sociology major and junior at Queens
Groups returned to the Levine Center in time for some lunchtime conversation on the civil rights movement and how it relates to their day of service. After lunch, students ended the day with a moment of reflection. Each was asked to write down his or her dream on the MLK Day "What is your dream?" banner hanging in the Levine Center.
"One of the most memorable questions Dr. King is known for asking is, 'What are you doing for others?'" said Zach Thomas, Queens' director of diversity and inclusion. "Today, we came together and took that question to heart. Everyone can go home knowing that one person can make a difference."