UM-Dearborn celebrates 30th Annual MLK Day of Service

January 16, 2023

The MLK Day of Service hosted nearly 400 volunteers who served at 10 sites at UM-Dearborn and in the community.

Photo of UM-Dearborn students Vanessa Coly, Savannah Welch and Morgan Jones
UM-Dearborn students Vanessa Coly, Savannah Welch and Morgan Jones making roll up mats out of plastic bags that will be donated to organizations like Vista Maria. Photo/Sarah Tuxbury

On Monday, athletes, academics, alumni and others came together as advocates. For the 30th year at UM-Dearborn, hundreds of people went out to help others in the name and memory of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

During that 30 years, Chancellor Domenico Grasso said 8500 people have volunteered 42,000 hours in Detroit and the surrounding areas.

“This year is especially important to us because a few months ago we dedicated our University Center after James Renick, who was the chancellor that started this MLK Day of Service,” Grasso said. “We are indebted to him, not only for starting this, but for reaching out to our community and building stronger partnerships.”

Volunteers from UM-Dearborn, Henry Ford College and throughout the community lent a helping hand and inspired positive change. They had the option to serve in person or work remotely to support community agencies like the Capuchin Services Center, Gleaners, Eternal Light and Forgotten Harvest.

At the Arts & Scraps table in UM-Dearborn’s Fairlane Center, Delta Sigma Theta sorority chapter President Destiny Proffett sorted craft supplies to be used in schools and community programs. Proffett said she looks forward to volunteering on MLK Day because of the solidarity she sees.

“It’s important to get out and give of yourself to help others,” said Proffett, who volunteered with members from her organization. “Dr. King strongly believed in service. Hopefully a day like today creates a spark that lights the way for a lifelong commitment to service.”

During welcome remarks, UM-Dearborn Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Keisha Blevins talked about the power of voice. She said people honor Dr. King’s legacy by getting involved and by speaking up — not just on MLK Day or this week, but every day.

“Dr. King’s determination for equal rights and service to others should speak to all of us as human beings. He believed that we had a responsibility to not only use our own voices but to also speak on behalf of those whose voices are being silenced and to make room for them,” she said. “We are fortunate to be a part of a university that believes in inclusion and community impact.”

See what UM-Dearborn and Henry Ford College volunteers did during the 30th Annual MLK Day of Service.

Chancellor Domenico Grasso works with Brooke Gardener at the Arts & Scraps table.

Chancellor Domenico Grasso works with Brooke Garland at the Arts & Scraps table in campus' Fairlane Center North to create bags of materials to send to local schools and community organizations.

Photo of UM-Dearborn students Jack Meyers and Allyssa Decato sorting boxes of supplies at Arts & Scraps in Detroit

UM-Dearborn students Jack Meyers and Allyssa Decato sorted boxes of craft supplies at Arts & Scraps in Detroit.

Photo of UM-Dearborn Day of Service volunteers

Fairlane Center was set up to pack meals for Kids Against Hunger, which has provided a total of 162 million meals to children and families in need in 65 countries.

Photo of UM-Dearborn Chief Officer for Inclusion and Diversity Keisha Blevins and graduate student Alvita Yathati

UM-Dearborn Chief Officer for Inclusion and Diversity Keisha Blevins and graduate student Alvita Yathati package the nutrient mix, which will be sent to hungry families.

Photo of MLK Day of Service volunteers at the Capuchin Services Center in Detroit

MLK Day of Service volunteers spent the day at the Capuchin Services Center in Detroit.

Photo of Abigail Awood, 10, and her mother Rebekah Awood, Graduate Programs coordinator croquet hats and scarves to donate to homeless shelters for the MLK Day of Service

Students, alumni, staff and children spent time knitting hats and scarves to donate to homeless shelters. Abigail Awood, 10, crocheted with her mother UM-Dearborn Graduate Programs Coordinator Rebekah Awood.

Photo of UM-Dearborn cross country runners Gavin Llewelyn and Luke Kaferle making rollable plastic mats with carrying handles for homeless shelters.

UM-Dearborn cross country runners Gavin Llewelyn and Luke Kaferle made rollable plastic mats with carrying handles for homeless shelters.

Photo of MLK Day of Service group who volunteered at Gleaners in Taylor

MLK Day of Service volunteers spent time at Gleaners in Taylor, where they sorted food items, packaged boxes that will be distributed to people in need in the southeastern Michigan region.

Photo of fleece blanket making during the 2023 MLK Day of Service.

Office of TRIO Programs Adviser Rachel Leonard, right, and UM-Dearborn TRIO tutor/mentors Gigi Nassir, left, and Austin Kipfmiller, center, finish making a fleece blanket. The blankets made will be send to nonprofit organizations like Vista Maria.

Have photos of the MLK Day of Service that you'd like us to add? Reach out to umdearborn-news@umich.edu.