January 19, 2013 9:04:47 PM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
For a group of Lowndes County citizens, Saturday's Day of Service was not just about donating their time to help out a local organization. It was about continuing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Dream 365 Day of Service, in conjunction with United Way, featured hundreds of volunteers, who descended on various parts of the community to lend a helping hand.
For Bre'Ana Marshal, a student at Mississippi University for Women and a member of the Young Black Leadership Association, volunteering her time at the Boys & Girls Club meant continuing a legacy that started 50 years ago. Marshal is one of 33 volunteers who worked at the club Saturday morning.
"We're a student organization all about service," she said. "To see that all the volunteers are diverse, that was his vision, for all races to come together."
Quintara Wright, also a member of YBLA, said she wanted to volunteer to be a part of King's dream.
"We came to help out and celebrate Martin Luther King's vision and everything that he has done in the past," Wright said. "We came to see it all come true. We're keeping the legacy alive."
Jeffry Smith is a member of United Christian Baptist Church and the church's Brotherhood Ministry. Smith said he volunteered at the club not only to practice what King taught, but what the Bible teaches as well.
"Our pastor teaches us to go outside the walls of our church and into our community," Smith said. "This is one of the projects we chose."
Thousands of volunteers across the country turned out for the Obama administration's Day of Service Saturday. The official Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service will be held Monday, which is also the national MLK holiday.
Linda Harris also volunteered at the Columbus Boys & Girl Club on Saturday. Harris, a member of the NAACP, said she wanted to volunteer in hopes that the community would come together for a greater cause.
"I wanted to come out and help the community any way I can," she said. "It's about coming together, working, helping, and making it beautiful for the kids that come here every day."
Johnathan Powell, a student pilot stationed at Columbus Air Force Base, said he and his friends heard about the Day of Service through United Way.
"We just decided it would be a great way to start off the weekend," he said.
Nadia Dale, the director for the club, said Saturday's volunteers transformed the club in a matter of hours.
"It's a brand new club," she said. "It's a fresh start. There are several different ways to support an organization but I'm always impressed when you see people give their time. To be able to see so many different folks from so many walks of life, it's very much appreciated."
In addition to the Boys & Girls Club, approximately 100 volunteers worked at Sim Scott Park and Sandfield Park where they laid mulch and cleaned up debris. Twenty volunteers worked at Loaves and Fishes, a local soup kitchen. Another 30 helped clean and organize the Palmer Home Thrift Store and the Salvation Army family store.
Lexi Allen, a senior at New Hope High School and a member of the Senior Beta Club, said she choose to spend the morning volunteering because she feels she is honoring black history.
"I feel like I'm really serving black history," she said. "I feel like I'm fulfilling his (King's) dream."
Daniyah Tate, 11, was one of several girls volunteering with her Girl Scout troop.
"Volunteering feels wonderful," she said. "I feel like God will bless me."
Debra Taylor, the leader of Girl Scout Troop 20901, said she brought the girls to volunteer to teach them a valuable life lesson.
"We wanted to come out and serve so the girls could see what it takes to help out others," she said. "One of Dr. King's slogans was 'What have you done to help other?' We've answered that call today by simply showing up and helping out wherever we can."
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.