Students Mark MLK Day with Service Activities

Published on January 28, 2019

For USciences students Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity to connect with the community we are lucky to call home and serve the various residents and organizations.

More than 300 students participated in the service activities and related events on Monday, January 21, 2019, which are dubbed a “day on, not a day off” from the regular semester class schedule. Students spent the day volunteering at community clean-up activities, helping out at a youth health and science fair, staffing a community health clinic, making things to be donated to those in need and attending educational events.

The day began with a lively discussion about the importance of investing in the community with Charles L. Howard, PhD, university chaplain at University of Pennsylvania, who discussed his how he honor’s Dr. King’s legacy.

“We need to care and have compassion to build relationships with people who look differently than you, speak differently than you because then, and only then, are you honoring the life of Dr. King,” said Dr. Howard.

Dr. Howard spoke about the importance of getting some “skin in the game” with service and really getting to know the people and the issues that face those people to work toward social justice and King’s teachings.

“An aspect of King Day that has been lost.. there is so much good in service, but we are loosing the aspect of working for justice,” said Dr. Howard. “Don’t forget that part of King.”

Several physical therapy and occupational therapy students participated in a unique event with Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics, disassembling donated prosthetic limbs to be used for parts for those who cannot afford new prosthetics in Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador and the United States. The event was covered by NBC 10 Philadelphia.

"As a student, sometimes you get wrapped up in your own work your own life and [MLK Day] is just a day to put it into perspective that you are part of a bigger community," said Leana Detweiler MOT'20.

USciences also hosted two free public events for the holiday. Children from the community conducted hands-on science experiments, played educational games and participated sports clinics led by student athletes at the Youth Health and Science Fair held in the Athletic/Recreation Center. Partnering with Mt. Zion Baptist Church, located at 50th Street and Woodland Avenue, students from many different programs provided a health clinic to community members, offering health screenings and guidance on how to develop a healthier lifestyle.

MLK Day of Service 2019

"The majority of us are healthcare and science majors so we will be giving back anyway for the well being of others and for the well being of society," said Jarod Sinahon DPT'23. "I feel like today is just a great day to reinforce that principal." 

Students helped with clean up activities at the 48th and Woodland Playground, Cancer Support Community, and the S. Weir Mitchell School’s Parent Center. Other students made items to be donated to organizations in the greater Philadelphia area including knitting squares to be used to make blankets for hospitalized children, created toys for animals at the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, and created paracord survival bracelets for soldiers.

Categories: News, Students, Misher College of Arts and Sciences, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Samson College of Health Sciences, Department of Physical Therapy, Department of Occupational Therapy, Interprofessional Education, Event, Community Service, USciences, West Philadelphia