Utah Valley celebrates Martin Luther King Day by serving


People from all over Utah Valley gave service both on and off BYU campus the morning of Jan. 20 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Roughly 1000 people attended the Community Outreach Day, sponsored by Y-Serve. This was not the event’s first year, but Y-Serve sought to broaden the reach of the service activity with an expanded advertising plan.

“We also have a large banner hanging over University Avenue so that many people driving past can see what’s going on,” said Bethany Cherry of Y-Serve. “We had a news interview with ABC 4 News this past Monday to reach out to more people in Salt Lake City area and other areas of Utah to tell them about the event.”

Some of the activities included blood drives, making quilts, working on animal shelters, writing letters to veterans and spending time with the elderly.

“We know that [King] was a great speaker, and he helped with civil rights, but he was an advocate for service,” said Y-Serve program director Marlena Smith. “He helped millions of people, and he just wanted to show that idea of love and that we’re all here for each other and that the best thing you can do is serve.”

Some of the organizations Y-serve teamed up with to sponsor the day of service included UVU, Deseret Industries, Animal Medical Services, Friends In Need Animal Rescue and Habitat for Humanity.

Cherry said the day was all about helping others and giving back to the community. “I feel like we’ve all been given so much, so why not serve and do some good?” she said. “Martin Luther King was a huge proponent of service, and I feel like we should continue to live his dream and continue his example of service,”

Cherry said she hoped the day’s events would jump-start habits of service.

“Community Outreach Day is not just a one-day event, but it’s an opportunity to jump-start the desire to serve every day.”

Bret Ahlender, a public relations major at UVU and volunteer said he loved the scope and breadth of the event’s varied service opportunities.

“For the longest time I loved doing service, and this wide variety of service projects reaches out to a lot of areas in the community,” Ahlender said. “I think that’s really great we’re not just building a house, we’re not just helping little kids, but we’re doing both of those along with other things.”

In the mood for more service? Check out these campus service opportunities.

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