In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s remarkable activism and significant impact on greater equality for underserved communities, Marymount University’s Saints Center for Service partnered with Volunteer Arlington for the “A Day On, Not a Day Off” service event.
Volunteer Arlington coordinated multiple events on January 18 to activate the local community for a day of civic engagement to continue Dr. King’s legacy of strengthening communities by enacting solutions to social issues and empowering individuals. The Saints Center for Service partnered with nonprofit Bridges to Independence on a joint project benefiting families in need. The nonprofit aims to break intergenerational cycles of poverty by providing housing, workforce development and more support services for hundreds of families across Arlington County.
More than 100 participants, including Marymount students, community leaders and local residents, volunteered to assemble ‘welcome home’ kits, which included purchasing kitchen essentials and cleaning supplies.
“The MLK Day of Service event with Volunteer Arlington is an important tradition at Marymount University,” explained Dr. Kelly Dalton, Director of the Saints Center for Service. “With over 100 people registered for our joint service activity, we exceeded our goal of making 50 ‘welcome home’ kits for families who turn to Bridges to Independence for shelter and resources. Our collaborative efforts ensured that as families move into their new homes from the family homeless shelter, they will have items needed to start a new journey — building a new bridge to opportunity, hope and empowerment.”
Volunteers could also choose to create a ‘birthday in a box’ for youth in the organization’s shelter. All kits were dropped off at the Bridges to Independence office through a contactless dropbox in an effort to keep all volunteers safe amidst the ongoing pandemic.
“Bridges is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Marymount University’s Saints Center for Service and students on this volunteer project,” said Christina Armstrong, Chief Philanthropic Partnerships Officer with Bridges to Independence. “These kits can change the trajectory of someone’s outlook who is experiencing homelessness or facing financial hardship during this prolonged pandemic.”
Additional Volunteer Arlington service events included blanket making for children in affordable housing (hosted by the Arlington Rotary Club), assembly of cheer bundles for older adults residing at the Culpepper Garden senior living center and park restoration at Potomac Overlook Regional Park.