MLK Day of Service is a good way to give back on three-day weekend



Natalie Harrington

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is most popularly celebrated by students for and with its anticipated, customary three-day weekend, but on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, UK students will be able to celebrate with a Day of Service hosted by the Center for Community Outreach and Martin Luther King Jr. Wildcats For Service.

MLK Wildcats For Service is a subsidiary campus organization, part of CCO, “dedicated to the advocacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy through Service, Education & Volunteerism,” according to their social media biography, and has created an especially wide-reaching opportunity to immerse oneself in these principles with this event.

The Day of Service is meant to honor one of MLK’s most cherished values, service, as well as actively engage UK students in the Lexington community by putting them in the position to create a direct, visual impact and encourage reflection by increasing the understanding of the many social inequities present in the community surrounding campus.

“The purpose of MLK Day of Service is to continue Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy on UK’s campus through service and advocacy. Students will participate in community service concerning many different issues within the Lexington community,” said Isaiah Brown, Director of the Center for Community Outreach and senior neuroscience major.

Volunteers will meet at the Worsham Theatre at the Gatton Student Center from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and complete registration, which includes the assignment of the service location. There are over 130 service spots available, including NAMI, Catholic Action Center, Ronald McDonald House and the International Book Project, among others, so there is no shortage of space for any students interested in participating.

When asked for specifics of the types of service students might be performing, Brown said, “Many of the service sites are understaffed so students help out by doing everything from cleaning, painting, reorganizing, spending time with kids, cooking, etcetera. Most of the actual service is up to the faculty at the sites.”

Transportation to and from service spots will be provided, as well as lunch and T-shirts after the service is completed. Service begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at noon, followed by a brief period of group reflection over lunch. The event concludes with free T-shirts at 1 p.m.

“Afterwards during reflection, students learn how to discuss these issues and how they can make an impact,” said Brown. “Awareness is a huge part of what we do to make sure MLK’s legacy lives on in the students at UK.”

“I’m looking forward that education and collaborating with different groups across UK’s campus,” Brown said. “I’m also looking forward to revealing the location of the civil rights trip.”

The Civil Rights Trip is the biggest out of the numerous service events hosted year-round by CCO, “where [CCO] take[s] a maximum of 40 [students] to visit historical sites and museums in various parts of the United States,” according to Brown.

There really is something for every kind of volunteer available at the MLK Wildcats For Service Day of Service, and it can be a great way to give back to the Lexington community and use that three-day weekend to its fullest, intended extent by honoring MLK and doing something for others.

Sign-up for the event can be found on, and more information about the event can be found on the MLK Wildcats For Service Instagram page @ukmlk_wfs.