Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?" On Thursday, Jan. 16, students in the Waynesville R-VI School District could answer, "lots!"
In celebration of their 3rd Annual MLK Jr. Day of Service, Waynesville students participated in a multitude of service learning and volunteer projects, such as making oatmeal packets for Snack in a Pack, homemade dog biscuits and toys for the Waynesville Animal Shelter and making homemade laundry soap and other items for the Genesis House, Good Samaritan and Supporting All Lives Together (SALT).
Throughout the district, Fort Leonard Wood soldiers – including Maj. Gen. Leslie Smith – volunteered alongside Waynesville AmeriCorps and VISTA members to assist the students with their activities.
"Our goal is to engage the youth and broaden their understanding of service," says Joellyn Dean, Waynesville VISTA and MLK Day Jr. of Service project manager. "Students don't always realize the people they are helping in the community may possibly even be a student in their own class."
Students at Waynesville Middle School went "all hands in" with their service projects and received some great advice from MG Smith, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general; Dr. Kim Hawk, the school district's community resource director; and Dallas Ernst, a Waynesville High School senior and recipient of the Congressional Award.
"It is by volunteering and helping the community that I have had so many doors open up for me that I would not have otherwise known about. It is very beneficial to get to volunteer in the community," Dallas Ernst shared with middle school students.
A small group of Waynesville Middle School students spent time at the Waynesville Animal Shelter on Thursday walking dogs and learning how to best care for them.
"Teaching your dog to be mild mannered is going to help him. Animals need as much love and attention as a three-year-old child. All they need is time," said Kelley Surma, Waynesville animal control officer.
Waynesville High School National Honor Society members spent their MLK Day of Service fundraising for the Waynesville R-VI School District Snack in a Pack program. Currently, the Snack in a Pack program provides supplemental food to more than 260 students in the school district at a cost of $3.33 per student per week.
Mr. Vern Fuller, account executive for Radio One Inc. of St. Louis and talk show host of "St. Louis Presents," was a guest speaker for Waynesville students.
Fuller told students to focus on facts and their accomplishments.
"One important thing is to live in your results, not in your story," Fuller says.
Page 2 of 2 - Students from elementary through high school were involved the day of service and made an impact in the local community.
"We hope students are inspired and will continue to volunteer after such a great day of service to the community today," Dean says.
Adults interested in volunteering with the Waynesville R-VI School District or students looking to begin a volunteer project should contact the Waynesville R-VI School District Community Resource Office at (573) 842-2530 or email email@example.com.