Not a Day Off, But a Day On event will honor MLK through community service

Penn State Greater Allegheny will commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 20 with volunteer opportunities for students. 

Instead of having the day off, students from Penn State Greater Allegheny will travel to Penn State Shenango to join students from other local Penn State campuses for the Martin Luther King Jr. Not a Day Off, But a Day On community service event. Students will be volunteering to help the community and could be doing anything from cleaning, organizing or working with the elderly or children. This is the sixth year that these campuses have provided community service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Some of the service sites where students will volunteer include AWARE, a victim services agency dedicated to eliminating domestic/sexual violence in Mercer County; Shenango Valley YMCA; The Children?s Center of Mercer County, which serves the educational and physical needs of developmentally challenged children; The Salvation Army; Riverview Manor, an assisted living facility with senior housing services for aging adults; and The Buhl Recreational Center, a community-centered nonprofit organization that provides quality recreational, social, fitness and educational programs.

A trip to the August Wilson Center for African-American Culture is tentatively planned for students from Penn State Greater Allegheny on the same day. The center is offering a free exhibition from 1 to 6 p.m. Since there will not be any classes on campus that day, if there is sufficient interest in this event, the Office of Student Affairs will provide van transportation.

The event, sponsored by the Friends of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, a Pittsburgh-based charity that supports a large and successful reforestation project in the Artibonite Valley highlands of Haiti, is held in the spirit of celebrating the arts of the African Diaspora. Titled "Haiti's Artists Envision the Natural World," the exhibition of art celebrates the creativity of the artists of Haiti and their respect for the natural world.

The vibrant and colorful works of art were inspired by the interaction and interdependence of the people of rural Haiti with their environment. This selection of paintings and metal sculptures celebrates the deep reverence Haitians feel for the natural world ? the trees, plants, flowers and animals ? surrounding their homes, extended-family courtyards and villages.

In addition to the above opportunities for Penn State students, the Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP) is offering a field trip to the campus for students in grades four to 12. The trip itinerary includes an honoring of King, lunch with some of the campus students and specialized workshops designed to give children a taste of college seminar course style. The seminars will include art, music and social sciences.