“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.”
In remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s courage and commitment to bringing greater equality to underserved communities, Marymount University partnered once again this past Monday with Volunteer Arlington to support the County’s annual MLK Day of Service.
Following Volunteer Arlington’s opening ceremonies, Marymount’s Saints Service Network hosted more than 60 volunteers in the Rose Benté Lee Center along with community partners PathForward and the Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture’s (FOUA) Plot Against Hunger program. Activities were hands-on, educational, family-friendly and designed to raise awareness of the work that goes into feeding the greater community throughout the year. Approximately 200 meals and 50 hypothermia kits were packed and assembled, while volunteers also sorted and packaged hundreds of seeds to distribute throughout the area with the collaboration of FOUA.
Dr. Natoschia Scruggs, Assistant Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Marymount, spoke on Dr. King’s impact, mission and dedication towards service that is reflected today in the U.S. and around the world, nearly 55 years after his assassination.
“Here we all are gathered together doing exactly what Dr. King did during his lifetime,” Dr. Scruggs said. “Giving of ourselves, caring about others, addressing poverty, fighting hunger and acting to create ‘The Beloved Community’ that he dreamed of and that we still have the chance to be part of. Here we all are standing in the shadow of a great man’s legacy, creating our own legacy for generations to come.”
After several years of being held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s MLK Day of Service saw the return of in-person volunteering. With participation from young children, parents, Marymount students and employees, corporations and government officials, the event served as a reminder that acts of service are pivotal to improving society, and that everyone can be involved regardless of age, skill level or background.
“We are always thrilled to work with Volunteer Arlington as a host site for the MLK Day of Service,” said Susan Thomas, Program Coordinator for the Saints Service Network. “Programming like this embodies not only Marymount’s pillar of service, but demonstrates the care and commitment that Arlington County has for all of the people living in this wonderful community. I am thankful that Marymount’s administration is so supportive towards events like this, and for the students, faculty, staff and community partner volunteers who contribute countless hours to bringing this day of service to our campus.”
Additional Volunteer Arlington events during MLK Day of Service included habitat restoration at Potomac Overlook Regional Park with Arlington Regional Master Naturalists, making no-sew fleece blankets for children in affordable housing with Arlington Rotary Club and creating cards to uplift the community with Recovery Program Solutions of Virginia.