DAYTON, Tenn. -- For Bryan College senior Laura Maye, participating in the school's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day service projects has allowed her to experience community involvement while earning her business degree.
Maye, who has volunteered for two years with projects at the Women's Care Center in downtown Dayton, said she valued the center's anti-abortion mission and its outreach to expectant mothers.
King Day activities, Maye said, had given her a "sense of ... belonging to Dayton" and allowed her to explore service-oriented areas that she might not have considered.
This year, Maye said, she helped organize the Monday service projects, and she "definitely" plans to continue working with women's centers once she returns to her Knoxville hometown after she graduates in the spring.
Danielle Rebman, the college's assistant director for faith and mission and its 2012 King Day activities coordinator, said the 70 scheduled projects are focused on organizations such as churches, children's homes, nursing homes, senior centers and local libraries. Some projects involve visitation with the elderly while tending to their yards or housework, she said.
Fellow senior Carlin Nasiatka, a psychology major from Boston, said she has participated annually and helped to organize the activities and projects.
Once her registration and initial duties end, she said, she hopes to help with painting or other work projects planned at Bethel Bible Village in Chattanooga.
Nasiatka said participating in the annual work day helps to implement the college's mission statement and helps students develop as servants of Christ while making a difference.
The King Day activities were begun in 2005 by college President Stephen D. Livesay.
In an email, Livesay said that outlet to "give back to the community and support it" was the service mission that King had valued and advocated to others.
Last year, Livesay said he would like to coordinate with Jerry Levengood, the Rhea County director of schools, to incorporate high school students with the work day activities.
He said there was "initial discussion, but frankly we did not follow through. I still like the idea."
Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.