Catawba students pay tribute to King by giving back

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Catawba College News Service

Forty Catawba College students spent their Martin Luther King Holiday doing volunteer work at six local non-profit agencies. Their participation in the so-called MLK Challenge was sponsored by Volunteer Catawba and the Student Government Association.

Seven different teams of students spent most of their day at these agencies: Saving Grace Farms, Abundant Living Adult Daycare, Habitat for Humanity, the Arc (Association for Retarded Citizens), Rowan Museum and Rowan Helping Ministries. For the Rowan Museum, students traveled to the Old Stone House in Granite Quarry and cleaned up on the grounds, while at Habitat for Humanity, another team primed walls and helped construct and exterior deck and outbuilding.

Two teams of students pitched in at Rowan Helping Ministries – one cooked and served lunch to clients, while the other was involved in yard work and landscaping. At Abundant Living Adult Daycare, students helped clean a basement in preparation for that organization’s move to a new facility.

“I worked with the team at the Old Stone House,” explained senior Hilah Teague of Southern Pines. “It made me feel really good that I could spend my holiday doing something that would benefit the community. I was part of something bigger than myself and in my own way, I was able to commemorate the ‘service to others’ legacy of Dr. King.”

Prior to the start of the work day, students gathered in the Cannon Student Center on campus to hear from Catawba College Professor Dr. Michael Bitzer who spoke of King’s legacy not just as a civil rights leader, but as a servant leader. Bitzer challenged the students to step up as servant leaders and by doing so, to improve their community.