Students at Virginia Tech celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by giving back to the community.
This past weekend, 165 students donated their Saturdays to help out day care and head start centers in the New River Valley. This was part of the Martin Luther King Week of Service, sponsored by the Center for Student Engagement & Community Partnerships.
Groups of eight to 15 volunteers went to 16 day care facilities in the New River Valley Saturday, with projects ranging from construction to painting and cleaning.
Jim Dubinsky, founding director of CSECP, said the local centers are “one of the foundational kinds of organizations” in a community.
Dubinsky said this is especially true in an economic downturn, when families with two working parents or a single parent need reliable day care.
“They’re almost always underfunded, and they’re almost always understaffed,” Dubinsky said.
While they have enough staff to take care of children, Dubinsky said day care facilities often lack the resources to do maintenance and improvements.
Tech’s lacrosse club was hard at work cutting wood and building platforms that will make up decks in a play area at Rainbow Riders Childcare Center on Ramble Road. About 30 players showed up to help.
“As a team we feel very privileged to be in such a great area, and we’re blessed to be going to such a good school,” said C.J. Babb, the team’s treasurer. “We want to give back to the community.”
Babb said the team was just having fun and helping out.
“This is a good experience, a good way for the team to come together outside of lacrosse,” Babb said.
Another group from the lacrosse team was doing cleanup and maintenance at another Rainbow Riders facility down the road.
Karl Rice, a freshman engineering major, was carrying an armful of debris to a trash bag.
“I actually enjoy this a lot, to be honest. Just kind of us hanging out, having a good time,” Rice said.
Not all of the service projects were done by organizations. A group of friends who met in theme housing were painting at Children’s Nest.
“I like getting involved with the community more, and helping out,” said Molly Wagner, a sophomore marketing management major. “It’s little things like this that mean a lot to the people we are doing it for.”