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Thursday, January 13, 2005
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King's legacy celebrated through service

ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 13, 2005) -- For many Ohio University students, the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service marks a time to help children in the area. In commemoration of King's legacy, on Monday, Jan. 17, the Center for Community Service (CCS) and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., along with other student organizations and leaders are hosting Project Exchange, a program involving Ohio University student leaders who will serve as mentors to children from local youth organizations during a day that combines remembrance and volunteerism.

"It is important for us to remember the work and the legacy of Dr. King," says senior Karl Daniels, Alpha Phi Alpha president. "Without strong individuals like him, who knows what the world would be like today. It is important to wake up and respect this day as a day of service for those less fortunate than us."

Children from Girl Zone, an empowerment program for girls in southeastern Ohio; Big Brothers Big Sisters, a mentor program for children; Kids On Campus, an after school enrichment program for economically disadvantaged children; and Youth Act, which consists of volunteer youth grant-making councils from three rural middle schools, will participate in Project Exchange.

Following a mentoring session from 9 to 11 a.m. in the 1954 Lounge of Baker University Center, the children and their mentors will attend Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's annual Martin Luther King Jr. brunch in the center's ballroom. Guest speaker at the brunch will be Jamie Washington, who serves as president and co-founder of the Washington Consulting Group, a multicultural organizational development firm in Baltimore, Md.

A silent vigil march to Mt. Zion Baptist Church, located at 32 E. Carpenter St., that will feature a tribute to King given by Ohio University President Roderick McDavis will follow the brunch.

The service project for the day is Love Luggage, which will begin at 2 p.m. in the Corner Cafe of Baker University Center. Love Luggage is a program that involves painting and decorating donated pieces of luggage and filling them with items to give to children in foster care. This year's recipient for Love Luggage is Sojourners Care Network in Vinton County, Ohio.

"Dr. King's legacy inspires us to engage in meaningful connection with people in our community through service," says Janeece Henes, the community service coordinator in CCS. "Our service project will focus on positive relationships between rural children in the area and college students at Ohio University."

Donations are still being collected for Love Luggage. Items needed include suitcases, backpacks, luggage, canvas totes, gym bags, toiletries, art and school supplies, books and baby items. All donations may be given to CCS 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in 033 Baker University Center. Those interested in volunteering or making a donation may contact CCS at (740) 593-4007 or community.service@ohio.edu.  

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Media Contacts: Community Service Coordinators Janeece Henes or Sarah Truesdell, (740) 593-4007 or community.service@ohio.edu, or Media Specialist Marisa Long, (740) 597-2938 or longm1@ohio.edu

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