– Submitted by Kimberly Buchholz
Santa Fe College students joined forces with University of Florida students and community members Monday in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by performing service work at area agencies. Following service work, participants attended a group reflection luncheon and participated in a MLK Commemorative March from downtown Gainesville to the MLK Multipurpose Recreation Center on Waldo Road.
Promoted as “A Day On, Not a Day Off,” MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service.
Hosted by the UF Center for Leadership and Service, the event attracted more than 200 participants serving at work sites throughout the community.
“MLK Day of Service is an all-embracing opportunity to engage with the Gainesville community, interact with UF students and proudly represent Santa Fe College,” said Lisa Walker, team leader of a group consisting of 14 SF students, UF students and community members, including children, who performed landscape work at Historic Haile Homestead at Kanapaha Plantation, “It was definitely a day dedicated to character, compassion and values.”
Walker, a marketing majoring in her sophomore year, also served as the group reflection leader at a post-event luncheon held at Gator Wesley, 1380 W. University Ave.
The newly-expanded SF College Office of Civic Engagement and Service worked closely with student organizations, Student Government and other service-oriented individuals to increase participation, resulting in the largest number of Santa Fe College students taking part in this event in recent memory.
“This was a very successful event, with over 200 students participating in service and about 190 coming back for reflection,” said Josh Funderburke, Executive Director, UF Center for Leadership and Service, “the largest number returning for reflection we have had.”
Following the group reflection luncheon, Santa Fe College students headed to Bo Diddley Plaza to participate in the city’s MLK Commemorative March, with nursing student Eliza Gray and family carrying the Santa Fe College banner along the 1.5 mile route.
Lithza Lorenzo, a sophomore psychology major whose team hosted a carnival for residents at Tacachale Developmental Disability Center, participated in the MLK Day of Service for the first time and said she was humbled by the experience.
“When you give to your community, in reality, the community is giving back to you,” said Lorenzo.
For more information, contact Kimberly Buchholz, Santa Fe College Office of Civic Engagement and Service Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-381-3660.