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"Giving" of a different kind marks Martin Luther King's holiday
The importance of community and of helping each other are especially associated with MLK Day

Tim Rudell
Kent State student volunteers use their lunch break to make special greeting for residents of an elderly care center
Courtesy of TPR
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Giving is an important part of many of our Holidays.  But, the giving that is now traditional for Martin Luther King Day involves a special sort of generosity. WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports.

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We remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with “In Service” volunteering—a gift of community. 

Students giving
Kellie Kilbane, a Kent State University Junior from the Cleveland area, and half a dozen other students are grabbing a quick bite after volunteering all morning. “I think you give back on this holiday, instead of expecting things.  That’s how other holidays are.  Like Valentine’s Day…Oh it’s a gift, you know.  But today, you want to give back, and help people in the community.  “We were all at Habitat for Humanity [this morning] and helped clean up the store property in the Plaza.”

Helping each other
While they eat the table is a-flutter with construction paper and scissors. Kilbane and Jacquelyn Jandscisko from Pittsburgh explain.  Friends who are also volunteering--at a restaurant that provides jobs for the developmentally disabled and at an elderly care center--are running late; and this group has decided to given them a hand with something hand-made that they want to give to the folks they're visiting. "They coming back (for lunch) and wanted to make [the decorative items] for the people they were talking too this morning.  And because we finished early at Habitat, we decided to help out and make some of the decorations.  They’re going to hand them out to the resident to maybe decorate their rooms or their doors."  

Growing popularity
The students are part of an in-service program sponsored by Kent State’s Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement, and Hillel.  Taylor Kowalewski is a student service leader at Kent State and she says that that the in-service concept  highlighted on Martin Luther King Day is becoming increasing important year round. “A lot of people showed up today. It was really awesome.  And even on the weekend trips that we lead, there’s a decent amount of people that come out.  And its very inspirational."

Wide ranging
Similar programs are in full force all over north eastern Ohio.  And nationally, President Barack Obama has called for people to get into the spirit of the Martin Luther King holiday and its traditions of  community service and  volunteering to help others.

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