A Day On, Not Off: Students to Commemorate MLK Through Service Day
BATON ROUGE – In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16, more than 160 LSU students, along with community partners and residents, will volunteer at several sites in historic Old South Baton Rouge, or OSBR, to facilitate a home rehabilitation and provide site improvements for one church and two community gardens.
The “Day of Service” is one of several events included in LSU’s MLK Commemorative Celebration, which is coordinated by the LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs. Partners include the LSU Community University Partnership; the Center for Planning Excellence, or CPEX; the Working Interfaith Network, or WIN; and Shell Chemicals of Geismar.
“At LSU, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King than to give back,” said Chancellor Michael Martin. “LSU is a premier public university today in part because of the courage of Dr. King and others, who championed equal rights and opportunity for all.”
Local community leaders anticipate that the volunteers’ service will have impact beyond just one day. For example, the “Stamp of Hope” garden, an outcome of CPEX’s Community Gardens Initiative, will be prepped for the spring, so that programs aimed at youth engagement and education can bring life to the soil.
“Stamp of Hope” is one of five community gardens started in OSBR with help from neighborhood residents, the South Garden Project, LSU AgCenter, LSU Hilltop Arboretum, City Year, Baton Rouge Green and members of the South Baton Rouge Civic Association.
“Improving homes and community hubs, along with developing programs that bring better access to healthy foods, represent a critical piece of our larger strategy to revitalize Old South Baton Rouge,” said Boo Thomas, president and CEO of CPEX. “It is an honor to work with these dedicated volunteers to fix up houses on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, nurturing the spirit of community service and recognizing the pride of this historic neighborhood.”
CPEX’s home rehabilitation work is funded by the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, NeighborWorks America, the East Baton Rouge Mortgage Finance Authority, Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, Capital One and Chase. The community gardens are funded by NeighborWorks America, the Home Depot Foundation, Chase and Capital One.
For more information on the MLK Day of Service, please contact the LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 225-578-4339. For more information on CPEX and its community initiatives, visit www.cpex.org.