January 20, 2015

On August 28th, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his world-famous speech on the National Mall. A day in January is set aside to honor this great man and all of his service for the country, and the MLK Day Challenge is a reminder to Truman students that this is “A Day On, Not a Day Off.”

To accomplish this, more than 150 people came together to commit themselves to service and devote a full day to helping the community. The day started off at a brisk 9 AM in the Baptist Student Union, where the students gathered in their service groups. The teams created a poster, slogan, and name for their teams before the staff announced which team would be going to which site.

Kelly’s team, The Tinmen, headed to the Historical Society. There was so much to do! The team cleaned the building, moved furniture, and ultimately got to touch countless pieces of Kirksville history. They made a difference in the community by helping to preserve the past. Even after the work was finished, the Tinmen weren’t finished changing lives. The team went back to the Baptist Student Union to make Random Acts of Kindness notes to leave in various residence halls all over campus. What an incredible day!

Megan’s team, The Challengers, went to First Class Childcare. They tidied the playroom before the kids arrived, and once they did, playtime began! The Challengers played games and had fun with the little ones, and the day was filled with laughter and joy. The kids loved having cool college students come to visit them. Afterwards, The Challengers continued their crusade of community service by spending the afternoon making Valentine’s Day cards for Victim Support Services. Megan’s Team really knocked out of the park!

Abbey’s team, The Sea Slugs, joined Kristina Kohl’s team from good ol’ Missouri Hall for a day of renovation at Casa Guate. Casa Guate is a home for Guatemalan refugees that have come to the United States. The house is run completely nonprofit, and therefore relies solely on volunteer labor and donations. The Sea Slugs were up to the challenge,

During lunch, the teams took a break and reflected about the importance of being a servant in your daily life and helping others, even with no gain to yourself. However, all of the hard workers finished out the day with a lovely catered dinner by Sodexo. There was entertainment and fond memories shared for the group from each team. The testimonials were powerful and full of sincerity as the participants talked about their work and how it not only changed the lives of those helped, but also those helping. Even more importantly, the students and SAs who participated learned new skills and put their talents to good use. For instance, how to make a rack out of a pegboard. In addition, money management was an important skill (*wink wonk*) as the teams navigated hardware stores and Walmart for supplies with a limited budget. The MLK Day Challenge was a smashing success, and you could see the effects on the faces of the students. It truly was a day on, not a day off.