Lawrenceville's Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day of Service is a day dedicated to allowing the School's students and faculty to do community outreach in the surrounding area. January 16, 2013 marked the 11th time Lawrentians have honored King through a day of volunteer work.
Students and faculty participated in one of 61 different projects this year, including tutoring at pre-schools, baking goodies, cleaning up damage done to the New Jersey shore by Hurricane Sandy, and singing at retirement homes.
"I worked with Lives Saving Lives, preparing food to donate to The Organ Donor Society," said Emily Mellen '13, who has been a member of this student-led club since her Second Form year. Mellen volunteers for the Society throughout the School year. "It really helps me to step out of the 'Lawrenceville bubble' and become aware of what is happening outside the campus. I am able to see those who need help and realize how much bigger this cause is than everyday classes."
Lawrenceville encourages students to engage in community service outside of the school. Each student is required to do 40 hours of community service, 20 of those hours are to be performed on the same project. Many students spend afternoons working with children or tutoring students from outside schools. Some of the projects and outreach programs go on all year, with the MLK Day of Service serving as a capstone experience.
On the MLK Day of Service, students often team up with their athletic squads, musical groups, or clubs to volunteer at an organization. Director of Community Service Rachel Cantlay (who co-founded the event with former Community Service Director Joanne Adams) said that the day can be what she called "a bonding experience."
"Many Houses have been going to the same places for years," Cantlay explained. "Kirby House, for example, goes to Mill Hill Pre-School in Trenton (N.J.) and Cleve House goes to The Catholic Youth Organization, also in Trenton."
Justin Kim '13, the Community Service Representative of the student body, believes that the event is "valuable because it is a good chance to teach students how to help those who are in need and contribute to society in order to make the world a better place to live." He said the day gives both Lawrentians and those they serve a chance to get to know about "someone who is different from the people they encounter on a daily basis."
He continued, "The day enables students and faculty members to connect with different communities and with different people through the noble and important work of helping and bettering the world through volunteerism. By giving a day, Lawrenceville bridges the gap between generations through its work in pre-schools and retirement homes. By giving a day, Lawrenceville forms bonds through projects that renew year after year. By giving a day, Lawrenceville gives to gain and sacrifices to earn the blessed prosperity we enjoy every other day of the year."
For additional information on all Lawrenceville School news, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of public relations, at email@example.com.