During High Point University’s annual MLK Day of Service, volunteers touched up the murals at Welborn Middle School.
HIGH POINT, N.C., Jan. 20, 2020 – In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, High Point University faculty, staff, students and community members participated in 46 service projects today, totaling 1,500 hours of community service throughout the city – part of the 110,000 hours of service the university contributes annually.
“As High Point’s university, we are committed to serving our city and making it a better place,” says Rev. Mary Beth Foust, assistant director of civic responsibility and social innovation. “We are grateful for the opportunity to connect students with our community partners through service projects and carry the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through all that we do.”
In 1994, Congress designated a federal holiday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service – “A Day On, Not a Day Off.” HPU has taken that charge to heart by leading hundreds of volunteers in service to the city of High Point and surrounding areas each year.
This year’s service projects included packaging meals, planting community gardens, painting buildings, hosting a teach-in and more. The projects took place on HPU’s campus and at partner organizations throughout the city of High Point.
At Northwood Elementary School, volunteers painted paw prints leading into the school’s entrance and added inspirational quotes on the bathroom walls, including “Have courage and be kind,” and “Mirror mirror on the wall, there’s a leader in us all.”
“We wanted to create a space where these elementary school students feel comfortable, welcome and invited,” said Natalee Laasch, AmeriCorps VISTA and 2019 HPU graduate. “Working with the Americorps VISTA program to plan the MLK Day of Service offers a whole new perspective. As an undergraduate, it was fulfilling knowing I was making a difference in my community; however, now that I am on the other side and support the planning and execution, I’m able to see the larger picture, bringing students, faculty, staff and community members together, and I am very proud to be a part of this program.”
The HPU women’s lacrosse team volunteered at the Heroes Center on a variety of projects, from cleaning out cabins and painting, to building a hydroponic system.
“Being able to work as a team off the field to make a difference and give back to the community is rewarding,” said Brielle Prouty, HPU junior strategic communication major and member of the women’s lacrosse team. “It truly is a day on, not off. As I look around and see so many of my fellow classmates here giving their time and their gifts, I am thankful.”
“When you do for yourself, it is quickly gone; however, when you do for others, it lasts forever,” said Paula Sieber, urban farming director at the Heroes Center Veteran Support Camp. “As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said ‘Life’s most important and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?’”
The HPU community also volunteered at West End Ministries, a nonprofit organization dedicated to short-term solutions and long-term sustainability for all who live, learn, work or worship in the West End of High Point.
“We’ve got more than 25 HPU students who will be here throughout the day,” said Brad Bowers, executive director of West End Ministries. “The amount of work they provide in a four- to five-hour timeframe would normally take us a month to do. The volunteers are able to do so much and it’s a big help to us.”