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Franklin College volunteer program reaches out to community

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A group of Franklin College students played sports, painted and wrote letters as part of a national day of service Monday.

On Monday, 60 students from Franklin College participated in volunteer activities for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, according to Terri Roberts, coordinator of multicultural and diversity services at the college.

Franklin had set up volunteer activities for students on the holiday in the past but not in recent years. This year, the college wanted students to have the chance to give back to the community, and more students signed up than he expected, Roberts said.

“Originally, we had only 45 slots. But we had more people want to sign up, so we expanded the activity here,” she said.

Volunteer activities included exercises with residents at two assisted living facilities and writing thank-you cards to members of the military.

Some students were required to take part by their professors, but others, like 20-year-old Keaton Lyons, chose to go.

Lyons played a lively game of volleyball with a group of residents at Morning Pointe in Franklin, which was not what he expected when he went to the assisted living facility. He thought he and the two other student volunteers would just talk to the residents.

He chose to go to the assisted living facility because his grandfather lived in a similar facility and said he enjoyed it when people visited.

“He said it was hard to not be around family. It’s nice to have younger people visit,” Lyons said.

His classmates Vinny Lococo and Nick Sanders, also spent two hours at Morning Pointe helping residents paint decorative shovels.

Lococo, 18, said he also volunteered at Morning Pointe because he wanted to visit the residents, and he likes working with people. He helped resident Neva Teipen paint a decorative snow shovel. The two joked about who was more artistic.

Lococo said he liked spending time at the facility and thought students should volunteer as a way to give back to the community, not just because of the holiday.

“I think everyone gets caught up in yourself and everything you want to do. This is a way to give back and help others,” Lyons said.

Students also spent the morning at the Franklin United Methodist Community, where students did chair exercises with residents.

Facility employees led the students and residents in exercises that included twisting in their chairs and stamping their feet. After the sets were complete, the students got up and tossed balloons at the residents, who hit the balloons with foam pieces.

Kelly Kincaid, 19, was surprised by how hard some of the residents hit the balloons and asked if they played baseball.

Kincaid and the other students were required to participate on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and she said she chose the retirement community because she wanted to help the residents.

“It helps them, and they’re excited to do it,” Kincaid said.

Franklin United Methodist Community resident Catherine Long said she tries to exercise often and enjoyed having the college students there to exercise with.

“It’s kind of fun seeing somebody else up there,” Long said.

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