MSSU MLK Day of Service 2012 took on a whole new look. About 11 years ago, the MSSU campus began hosting MLK Celebration Breakfast. It was predominantly a black community event. Two years ago, the campus began the Day of Service Program. Now in its third year, the MLK Day of Service programming exceeded expectations. The Celebration Breakfast was a huge success, definitely a coming together people from many communities. At the direction of the MLK Celebration Committee, a sub-committee of the MSSU Diversity Committee, the MLK festivities expanded to an entire week. This was a vision of campus leaders that took many years to accomplish. Another notable contribution was made by Melodee Colbert-Keen, Joplin’s Mayor Pro Tem. She was incredibly supportive of the MSSU MLK Day of Service efforts. She will help us launch additional community-wide programs for 2013. MSSU hopes to use lessons from these past few years and new friendships to build even stronger programs and valuable community events.
MSSU MLK Day of Service 2012 conducted a campus-wide, week-long food drive.. These donations were sent to the Carthage R-9 Hungry Tiger program. This grant project, funded through State Farm Youth Advisory Board, engages Junior High students in a Family and Consumer Science class to create nutritious meals which are supplied to their food-insecure peers for weekend meals.
MSSU MLK Day of Service 2012 implemented the MLK Challenge Model. The Missouri Southern State University Student Senate passed a resolution to adopt MLK Day of Service Challenge by inviting eight schools to participate in MLK activities. One school, Pittsburg State University, our regional rival, accepted the challenge. They reported that seven of their student organizations volunteered at the Southeast Kansas Recycling Center They also conducted a food drive. The relationships built during this collaboration between the Student Senates were the first of its kind. We look forward to many more successes.
MSSU Resource Development Center partnered with the Art Department to bring a community art project to the MLK 2012 Day of Service activities. Hosted in the Lion’s Den, the project invited passersby to trace and cut out their hand print. A pensive image of MLK, projected in large-scale onto a wall covered by two pieces of corrugated plastic, provided guidelines for participants to glue the construction paper hands. The completed project was revealed at the MLK Day of Service 2012 Reflection Ceremony. The finished piece, a 12 foot by 8 foot image of MLK, has been well received by the campus community.
The Handy AME Chapel, located at 311 West 4th Street in Joplin, was the site of featured project of MSSU MLK Day of Service 2012. The church was donated to the African American community by Thomas Conner in 1903. The architecture of the building makes this a vital piece of the Joplin community. The congregation consists of mainly older African-American women.
Historic Murphysburg Preservation is a group dedicated to restoring historic landmarks. The organization had been planning projects at the Handy AME Chapel for over a year. They needed help with the labor required.
On MLK Day, volunteers helped repair this historic church to prevent further deterioration of the structure. Tasks completed include painting, repairing windows, debris removal, weather proofing, interior repairs, window cleaning, revitalizing woodwork, etc. Joplin’s Mayor Pro Tem, Melodee Colbert-Kean worked on the project; she enjoyed seeing the community come together for such an important day.
MLK Day of Service would not be possible without the many partners who come together to help our community. The 2012 partners include:
Handy AME Chapel, Historic Murphysburg Preservation, East Middle School, Joplin Museum Complex, Joplin NALA Read, Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission, Ronald McDonald House, Art Feeds, MSSU Art Department, MSSU Library Staff, Kappa Alpha, Muscular Dystrophy Association, GreenTown Joplin, Hungry Tiger Program with Carthage R-9 Schools, Letters to Soldiers, PSU Student Senate, MSSU Student Senate, Recycling Center of SW Kansas, PSU project food pantry, 7 PSU student organizations, Regal Plastics, MSSU Student Activities Office, MSSU Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, MSSU Diversity Committee and MLK Sub Committee, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Joplin, New York Says Thank You Foundation, MSSU Broadcast Department.