Indiana State University Newsroom

Record number of students volunteer for MLK Day of Service

January 19, 2012

Taking advantage of a day without classes, a record number of Indiana State University students volunteered Monday in honor of the Martin Luther King Day of Service.

"We took it as a day on, not a day off," said Heather Dalton Miklozek, associate director of the ISU Center for Community Engagement. "Basically, since the students don't have school today, we encourage them to provide service at various agencies throughout the Wabash Valley."

"We had a great turnout," she said, adding that a record high of 236 students came out to the event.

"It's really good to see this many people wanting to come out and help the community of Terre Haute," said Jordan Adams, a junior aviation major from Borden.

Adams volunteered at Ryves Youth Center at Etling Hall, one of nearly a dozen locations students assisted within the Wabash Valley. Other nonprofit organizations included Bethany House, Catholic Charities, Light House Mission and Terre Haute Children's Museum, where freshman Arica Wellman worked.

"I've always enjoyed volunteering because you meet so many different people and the little kids here are so cute, they're amazing," Wellman said. "It's actually really fun."

The MLK Day of Service is in its sixth year at Indiana State, reinforcing one of the university's fundamental goals of incorporating community service and experiential learning for students, Miklozek said..

She said the hope is that students will return to assist local nonprofits again before they graduate. Many campus organizations emphasize the importance of volunteering by encouraging their members to get out in the community.

Sophomore Gary "Rashad" Elis, who spent the afternoon at Ryves Youth Center, came with BOSS-Brotherhood of Successful Scholars-and the MAPS Program, or Mentoring Assistance for Prospective Scholars at the university's African-American Cultural Center at ISU.

"This was just an opportunity for us to do some community service," Elis said.

"I'm glad I'm here because I get a chance to do some good, help with my resume and do something positive in the community," Elis said.


Making a positive impact was also the motivation for freshman Hannah Bledsoe, who spent her afternoon at Catholic Charities, sorting food that later will be distributed to some 90 food pantries throughout the Wabash Valley.

"If we were in this situation, we'd want someone to help us out," she said, noting that the day without classes offered a great opportunity to volunteer.

Catholic Charities Terre Haute Director Tom Kuhl said the help students offered was invaluable.

"It takes a lot of manpower to distribute the food, so we're very appreciative when groups come in to lend a hand," he said, adding that the organization serves 90 food pantries in west- central Indiana.

"What we do here could not be done without the help of volunteers," Kuhl said.

Elis, a communication major from Indianapolis, sees helping out the community as part of his role as an ISU student.

"I think it's a good thing that the kids [at Ryves] see that ISU cares about them," he said.

"We're not here just to get good grades, we want to have a positive impact not only on ISU, but on the community as well."

Photos: - Freshman Arica Wellman, who volunteered at the Terre Haute Children's Museum, was among more than 230 Indiana State University students who spent "a day on, not a day off," for the 2012 Martin Luther King Day of Service. (ISU/Rachel Keyes) - Catholic Charities Terre Haute's food bank was among a dozen locations where Indiana State University students volunteered during the 2012 Martin Luther King Day of Service (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Contact: Heather Dalton Miklozek, associate director, Center for Community Engagement, Indiana State University, 812-237-8996,

Writer: Bethany Donat, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773.