When Franklin College students volunteer at a senior living community next week, officials there know they will see immediate changes in residents’ behaviors.

“It makes them feel younger, makes them want to get up and moving and do something, it brings life into them,” said Mary Beth Piland, the life enrichment director for Morning Pointe of Franklin.

To honor the legacy of the man who led the civil rights movement in America, Franklin College students and staff do volunteer projects and invite the community to learn about the importance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. On Monday morning, nearly 200 students, staff and faculty will head out to eight sites across the community to perform service projects, said Terri Roberts-Leonard, who is the director of the center for diversity and inclusion at Franklin College.

Later in the day, a series of events is planned, including a march, speaker and film, to remind people about the legacy of King and the civil rights movement he was a leader in, Roberts-Leonard said. On Monday evening, the college will have a public showing of “Hidden Figures,” which tells the story of several African-American women who worked for NASA at the start of the space program. Roberts-Leonard said they selected the film because of its ties to the civil rights era.

The volunteer projects are a significant component of the college’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day program because the holiday was originally created to encourage people to serve their communities, Roberts-Leonard said.

“We want to stay true to the intention of having a day in his legacy,” she said. “The legacy of someone who did so much for our country should be respected.”

Some of the sites volunteers will be heading to include Compass Park, Morning Pointe of Franklin and Access Johnson County, she said. The students will be tasked with everything from cleaning to playing games with seniors.

At Morning Pointe in Franklin, the students will work with residents one-on-one to make Valentine wreaths, which will be later delivered to cancer patients at Franciscan Health, Piland said.

The students also will be joining the seniors in their favorite activity — chair volleyball. The students have an immediate positive effect on the seniors, she said.

“We’re blessed beyond measure to have them,” she said.

If you go

Franklin College will be hosting events on Monday to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Here’s a schedule of events, which are free:

  • 1 p.m. Chapel Service, Richardson Chapel, “Building Up a New World,” by guest preacher H. Brydie Harris
  • 3:15 p.m. MLK Day Commemorative March, begins at the Indiana Alpha Gazebo near the Richardson Chapel
  • 4 p.m. MLK Day Convocation Lecture, Richardson Chapel, “Freed in Deeds,” by Dr. Shambra Mulder
  • 7 p.m. Movie showing of “Hidden Figures,” Richardson Chapel
Author photo
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.