Inspired by MLK, UConn students help others

Jan. 17—STORRS — On the third Monday in January each year, Americans celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which the U.S. Department of the Interior states is the only federal holiday that is also designated by Congress as a national day of service — a "day on, not a day off."

University of Connecticut Storrs students spent the day on Monday giving back to the community, as part of the school's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

"While a lot of people have the day off from school today, we utilize this day for students to give back," said Brooke DiVasto, a sophomore physiology and neurobiology major who helped organize the day of service.

DiVasto organized this year's day of service along with Imani Morgan, a graduate student at UConn pursuing a master's in social work, as well as members of the UConn Community Outreach Program.


On campus, students made blankets for infants at Yale New Haven Hospital and assembled literacy kits to give to area preschools with lower test scores. The literacy kits contained three books and an activity.

Students also took part in a panel discussion, where they got to ask several college professors a variety of questions pertaining to Martin Luther King Jr.

UConn students spent the day serving meals to those in need at the Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic.

Other students made donations and provided additional assistance to the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry in Willimantic and the Manchester Area Conference of Churches in Manchester.

The final off- campus venue for UConn's day of service was the Windham Heights apartment complex in Willimantic. Since most of the children living there had the day off from school, UConn students kept them entertained by playing games and providing lunch for them.

Many students who participated in the day of giving, spoke of their approval of the event.

"It's important to remind people to do community outreach and do community service," said Joelle Russell, a sophomore human development and family studies major at UConn.

Melanie Garcia, noted that giving to others on the day of giving provided her with a sense of fulfillment.

"To come together to do something for the community you live in is very impactful," she said.

Follow the Chronicle on Twitter — @ theCTChronicle.