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Friday, August 12, 2022

UF students kick off MLK celebration week with ‘Day of Service’

Despite some outdoor site cancellations due to rain, about 200 UF students participated in a Day of Service around Gainesville to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday morning.

“The rain has affected the turnout, but not nearly as much as we had expected,” said Steven Vutsinas, UF’s graduate assistant for the Center for Leadership and Service.

The MLK Day of Service is a national event meant to bring people together to serve their communities, according to its website.

About 85 students spent the day volunteering indoors at the Children’s Home Society of Florida’s Tot Spot Thrift Store located on Main Street.

“CHS is an organization that works with abused and neglected children, as well as children in the foster system,” according to Beth Nahlik, UF’s assistant director for the Center for Leadership and Service.

The thrift store allows its low-income clients to essentially shop for free.

Eddie Bell, an aerospace engineering senior at UF, said they are cleaning and reorganizing the garage to make it neater.

Bell volunteers at the thrift store every Saturday.

He said that it is always good to have help.

Chris Jones, a graphic design sophomore at UF, said that he likes knowing that he is spending his day off wisely by volunteering at the thrift shop instead of sleeping in.

The morning ended with the Day of Service Closing Ceremony at Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium where lunch and door prizes were provided for the volunteers.

This is the first year students were given the opportunity to reflect on their community service experience.

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The Day of Service was the first scheduled event in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week.

“In the spirit of the day we encourage students to be active in their community, trying to leave their mark as Dr. King left his,” Vutsinas said.

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