In the midst of Black History Month at Kean University, several events have taken place to commemorate various aspects of black culture and history on campus. From events such as the flag raising ceremony that took place on the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 1, to the Ladysmith Black Mambazo performance inside of the Enlow Recital Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, the options that students, faculty and other members of the Kean community had to celebrate the historical month were abundant.
Starting on Thursday, Feb. 15, The Martin Luther King (MLK) Week of Service will have its official kickoff, commemorating the life and times of the civil rights activist. During the week of service, the opportunity to serve the community around Kean students will not be just for Black History Month, but it will be for the satisfaction of helping others who need the support. Primarily hosted by the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS), the events during the week, in chronological order, can be found below:
- The Martin Luther King (MLK) Week of Service will have its official kickoff, commemorating the life and times of the civil rights activist. The week begins in Room 228 of the Miron Student Center (MSC) as the first event, titled the MLK Week of Service: Blood Drive, where Kean University will cooperate with the New Jersey/New York Blood Services to assist in sharing the gift of life with the less fortunate. Starting at 11:30 a.m., students can give blood for a good cause. Walk-ins are welcome, but an appointment for the blood drive can be made at the official page for Kean Blood Drives.
- Starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Garden and the Human Rights Institute located in the Nancy Thompson Library, CLS will host this event that will honor Black History Month and Dr. King himself through the sharing of his writings, speeches and sermons. Additionally, a brief moment of silence will be observed at this meeting.
- At 2:45 p.m., Kean's Jumpstart program and CLS will host a trip to Bernice's Place, an after school and summer program designated for homeless and at-risk children. Bernice's Place prides itself on providing a safe and fun environment for these children to socialize, eat healthy and receive a proper education. On this particular day, those who are interested can join the Jumpstart program and CLS as they celebrate Read Across America. Volunteers will assist with a variety of reading activities, crafts, and educational games for the children of Bernice’s Place and Transportation will be provided, but pre-registration on Cougar Link is required to attend this trip.
- CLS will host another trip, this time to the New Eyes for the Needy headquarters in New Jersey. Leaving Kean University at 11:45 a.m., students will take the trip to the headquarters. New Eyes for the Needy is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the vision of the poor and less fortunate. This organization purchases prescription eye glasses through a voucher program for men, women and children in the United States who cannot afford glasses of their own. They also accept, recycle and distribute donated glasses from the unfortunate people overseas. By joining CLS on this day, volunteers will be tasked with sorting, testing and boxing prescription eyewear for the New Eyes' overseas program. This event is currently at maximum capacity.
- At 9:15 a.m., CLS will host another trip as they travel to the Arc of Union County. The Arc of Union County, Inc., is another non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over 1,000 adults and children from 21 towns in Union County and the greater Northern and Central New Jersey counties are served by this organization. Those volunteering will help out with the weekend respite program developed to provide support and assistance for families with people who suffer from a disability. Volunteers will play games, arts & crafts, and participate in other social activities with the children and adults. Transportation will be provided and, much like the other trips in the week hosted by the CLS, pre-registration is required on Cougar Link. This community service opportunity is also at maximum capacity.
- CLS will be hosting another trip at 10:45 a.m. The Community FoodBank of New Jersey has over 150 employees who purchase and collect food for distribution, package food orders for local soup kitchens and food pantries, help people in need through food stamp application assistance, reach communities with limited resources with mobile pantries and encourage others to get involved. Transportation for volunteers from Kean University will be provided, and pre-registration is necessary to volunteer at the food bank.
- The MLK Week of Service will conclude on a Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m., as CLS hosts one more act of service with the Union County Parks Environmental Specialists in removing debris and litter from public parks in the Union area. Volunteers should dress accordingly, as the physical labor of this task will require a comfortable outfit. Again, pre-registration on Cougar Link is a prerequisite to attending that Sunday's event.
If one is interested in an event that is currently full, don't be discouraged. Students can still sign up for the event. They will be placed on a waiting list, and if a spot opens up, they will be notified as soon as possible.
For more information on the week, please contact CLS, located in the Miron Student Center Room 219, by calling (908) 737-5170 or at the email firstname.lastname@example.org