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Flagler's MLK Day of Service inspires students to give back to the local community

Jan 20, 2023
by Carly Hargroves

Senior Strategic Communications Major, Carly Hargroves, joined her peers in volunteering for multiple St. Augustine organizations on Flagler’s MLK Day of Service. Hargroves reflects on the service project she participated in and the importance of giving back to the community in honor of MLK Jr.’s legacy.

It doesn’t take a grand gesture of service to make a positive impact. Even if I don’t see the impact of my efforts first-hand, I know my community will feel the positive effects.  

Being in a philanthropy-driven organization like Flagler College’s Phi Alpha Omega gives me a network of peers who also believe in the power of giving back time and energy to the community we call home. Commitment to the cause of supporting the community we live in is why I participated in Flagler’s MLK Day of Service alongside my peers. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which celebrates the historical figure’s birthday, was elevated in 1994 when MLK Day of Service was created by federal legislation called King Holiday and Service Act. It’s a day that encourages participation in acts of community service to honor Dr. King’s legacy.   

On our College’s Day of Service there were multiple volunteer opportunities for students to participate in. Some students spent the day volunteering at the St. Francis House for the Port in the Storm Homeless Youth Center in their kitchen, pantry, or clothing closet. Other students volunteered at The Lincolnville Museum to help set up for a panel event featuring multiple guests like the Reverend of Grace United Methodist Church, Former Vice-Mayor of the City of St. Augustine, and City Commissioner and Flagler Associate Professor Barbara Blonder. All volunteers were welcomed to stay and attend the panel after setting up.  

Alongside my friends from Phi Alpha Omega, I had the opportunity to serve a local animal rescue group and no-kill pet shelter, S.A.F.E., or Saving Animals from Euthanasia. S.A.F.E, which runs fully on donations, was founded in 2008 and has been able to save over 27,000 animals since opening. This organization rescues animals that are sick, elderly, abused, or animals that people consider less adoptable and gives them the loving and caring home they need.  

To support this shelter, we were tasked with crafting dog toys for the constant stream of animals they house and care for. I gravitated towards this volunteer opportunity because of the happiness that I know my dog Bella gets from her favorite chew toy. As a group, we were able to make about 70 chew toys for S.A.F.E. to take back to their animals.  

Despite the seemingly small nature of our volunteer activity, everyone showed up ready to put their best effort into working on this project. That type of enthusiastically selfless behavior truly inspired me. MLK Day of Service was a happy reminder of why I serve, why Phi Alpha Omega prioritizes philanthropy, and why countless people across the country take this day to honor MLK’s legacy through challenging work, kindness, and generosity. 

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