On January 16, 2023, AmeriCorps members across the nation participated in the MLK National Day of Service to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Our cohort of 29 members serving with Campus Compact’s VISTA Program participated in service projects to give back to their communities.
Campus Compact AmeriCorps members volunteered with a variety of organizations throughout the United States. They served at organizations such as the Library of Congress, House of Hope, Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center, Letters Against Isolation, Marymount University, and Manchester Community College.
Jacob Lau and Allyson Schmude, Campus Compact AmeriCorps members at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, provided childcare for infants whose mothers were in parenting classes and sorted boxes of diapers into small packages to disperse to shelter residents at the House of Hope.
Lisa Huynh, Campus Compact AmeriCorps at Manchester Community College, assisted with receiving FoodShare deliveries, stocking the food pantry, reorganizing and restocking pantry shelves and answering questions at the front desk. On the same day, workers and volunteers at the food pantry helped set up for Opening Day which included a presentation on Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and a call to inclusiveness on campus. In reflecting on her personal experience from the service day, Lisa stated, “It was wonderful to see how capacity building created a beautiful environment for students, and allowed them to build a safe place to grow and learn from each other.”
Mae Flibotte and Grace Thayer participated in Letters Against Isolation, a project that was started during the pandemic to help lessen seniors' loneliness from social distancing. Throughout the week they took time to write hand-written letters to senior citizens and personalized them with colored pens, small drawings, or a paper craft inside each envelope. Regarding their service project Flibotte said “I'm excited about the prospect of potentially being able to write more [letters] in the future… At the beginning of this service week, I didn’t anticipate connecting quite so personally with the project as I did in the end.”
More than six of our Campus Compact AmeriCorps members, such as Alex Costa at the University of Rhode Island, opted to serve virtually on MLK Day of Service. AmeriCorps members transcribed historical documents for the Library of Congress in order to increase accessibility for researchers and the public. In reflecting on his personal experience from the service day, Alex stated, “It was definitely interesting to see how labor intensive it is to transcribe historical documents and how difficult it is to read old style cursive!”
“When we unite in service, we have the power to reimagine and reform systems that perpetuate inequality and deny opportunity. Service takes us on a path from charity to justice and brings us one step closer to Dr. King’s vision of creating the Beloved Community—one in which no one is left behind.” - Acting CEO of AmeriCorps, Michael D. Smith