Hundreds of students volunteer for MLK Day of Service

Cleanup near SU
Cleanup near SU
Students from SU and Glen Oaks Park Elementary painting and cleaning up a woman's house on Scenic Highway
Students from SU and Glen Oaks Park Elementary painting and cleaning up a woman's house on Scenic Highway

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Hundreds of volunteers were all around Baton Rouge on Monday, to clean up the city for Martin Luther King Day. City officials estimated that 1,000 people would participate in the MLK Day of Service. Some local groups say by making it a day on and not a day off, they keep Dr. King's legacy alive.

In the northern part of the parish, along Highway 19, volunteers picked up trash from the roadside. No one is sure how long trash has been there, but some students from Southern University say it's not a decent display of how they feel about their community.

Several groups of sororities and fraternities from Southern, along with students from Southeastern University and East Baton Rouge public school students walked along the streets in the area and filled bags full with old garbage.

"Someone has to do it," one woman said, as the reason she was helping.

LSU's Office of Multicultural Affairs also spent the day cleaning up around downtown Baton Rouge.

"We had 240 people sign up," said Krystie Nguyen, LSU's Cross-Cultural Affairs Coordinator. "more people actually showed up to see if they could join in."

LSU students also put up pictures of local students, as part of a portrait project called, "Community Dreaming, Identity Through the Arts."

The theme of community and togetherness overwhelmed one woman, who was surprised to see so many volunteers show up at her house to help spruce things up.

"I knew it was going to be a few, but I didn't know this many people," said Sonya Joseph, the homeowner.

Her yard was filled with about 40 people who were painting, planting flowers, raking the yard and helping out in any way they could. Members of BRAVE and District Attorney Hillar Moore were also working in the woman's yard.

Helping Joseph was the first taste of community service work for a group of fourth and fifth grade students from Glen Oaks Park Elementary. One of the students told the teacher that was with them that this kind of work was something she wanted to do again.

If there's any question about whether Dr. King's legacy is alive, the younger generation understands and is passing on the message.

"To help other people, it's nice to help other people," said Chyna Williams.

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