MLK Day becomes Day of Service for George Fox

By George Fox University

Students, staff from George Fox volunteer at MLK Day of Service in Portland Jan. 21

Students and staff from George Fox University will join about 1,000 volunteers from 10 other colleges and universities to serve at the fourth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 21. George Fox hopes to bring at least 100 volunteers.

The event, organized by Oregon Campus Compact, begins with a rally at Concordia University at 9 a.m., followed by a day of service in the Portland area until about 2 p.m. Service projects will focus on the theme of literacy.

According to a 2009 National Center for Education Statistics survey, only about 15 percent of African-American students and only 17 percent of Hispanic students are proficient in reading entering high school. The same survey revealed only one-third of all students entering high school are proficient in reading. Volunteers will work with students in need of literacy assistance.

The goal of the day is for college campuses to “unify together to serve others and be the ‘beloved community’ that Dr. King envisioned,” said Shelley Yonemura, director of multicultural student programs at George Fox.

The Portland event ties into a national day of service. Initiated by Congress in 1994, Martin Luther King Day of Service builds on the civil rights leader’s legacy by transforming the federal holiday honoring him into a national day of community service grounded in his teachings of nonviolence and social justice.

Service is nothing new at George Fox. For 14 years the university has hosted Serve Day, when it closes school for one day in early September to send students and staff members out to surrounding communities to perform various volunteer projects.

To learn more about George Fox’s involvement in the day, contact Shelley Yonemura, the university’s MLK coordinator and director of the school’s multicultural student programs, at 503-554-2318.

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