Cheyney Students Participate in MLK Jr. Day of Service

January 21, 2014

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Some of the 30 Cheyney University students and staff who helped beautify Martha Washington School in West Philadelphia as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

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School was closed on Monday, January 20 but that didn't stop 30 Cheyney University students and staff from spending a 'day on' instead of a 'day off' on the National Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. They traveled by bus to Martha Washington School in West Philadelphia to volunteer their services in honor of the late Dr. King, the slain civil rights leader who spent his time serving others and, ultimately, gave his life for his community.

In addition to the Cheyney students, another 70 volunteers showed up at the school as part of Philadelphia’s 19th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.  The school, established in 1929, houses grades K-8. Those who converged on the school found the rustic building in need of some tender loving care.  Everyone was given assignments and got down to business, working side-by-side to beautify the school.

The Cheyney women's basketball team spent time painting a room while Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers from CU emptied a classroom of old furniture, and Education Majors decorated bulletin boards. Led by Mr. Cheyney, Rashaad Washington, they worked as teams to paint two cafeterias, bookcases, and closets. They also cleaned hallways.

“This service is our way of playing a role in making Dr. King’s dream a reality,” said Sharon Thorn, Cheyney's Director of Student Activities.  "It is very hard to make those very old school buildings compare to the new ones. However, we were looking to beautify them and provide some measure of equity."

"I chose to complete and do this community service project to take a few hours out my day and give back to my community," said senior student leader Desmond King. "It was so awesome working together as a team. I felt excited once we finished painting the classroom and bookshelf."

Martha Washington School was one of 1700 service project sites in Philadelphia on what would have been Dr. King's 85th birthday.