Emory volunteers spend King holiday giving back to the community

When many of their fellow students were sleeping late and enjoying a day off from classes, Dwayne Marshall, Damien Phillips, Kenya James and Jonathan Butler were hard at work sweeping, cleaning and helping to organize a community development warehouse in the Summerhill community near Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

The King National Holiday community service project, sponsored by the Caucus of Emory Black Alumni, the Atlanta Club of the Association of Emory Alumni, the Atlanta Host Committee of Alumni University, Summerhill One-to-One and the Summerhill Neighborhood Inc., brought approximately 30 Emory students, staff and alumni to Summerhill for an opportunity to give back to the community. Volunteers from Emory, along with Summerhill residents ranging from three years old and up, spent the morning working inside a warehouse used by several non-profit groups including Christmas in April, Summerhill Neigh-borhood Redevelop-ment and Com-munity Redevelop-ment Inc. The warehouse includes office and storage space for building supplies and the Atlanta Tool and Material Bank, which lends tools to non-profit organizations. Volunteers painted, broke up cement, built rafters and cleaned and organized the warehouse area.

"I'm an MLK Scholar," said Butler, "and every year during King week, I try to do as many things as possible that Martin Luther King stood for, especially working in black neighborhoods with black children."

Phillips agreed. "That's why I'm here. I don't think Emory gets enough recognition, especially African American students, for giving back to the community."

"It's an opportunity to work in Summerhill doing community service," said Marshall, "giving back to the community and making use of a day out of school."

The students worked alongside young boys from the community who sported Emory baseball caps donated by the Emory Bookstore. Although covered in dust and paint, the group of volunteers was pleased about the morning's work. According to Jeff Woodward, president of Community Redevelopment Inc. and an Atlanta attorney, the work will enable the organizations to use the space to its fullest potential. The organizations are planning an official open house in the next several weeks after the clean-up is completed.

After the morning's work, the group of students, staff, alumni and community volunteers gathered for lunch, provided by Frazier Dworet '67C, owner of a Philly Connection franchise, then joined together for an hour of discussion and reading of the works of Martin Luther King Jr.

-- Nancy M. Spitler