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GW Honors the Legacy of Martin Luther King
January 19, 2010
Hundreds of University community members donate their time to a local school on Jan. 18.
More than 550 members of the GW community teamed up to improve the Theodore Roosevelt High School in Northwest D.C. — and logged approximately 1,500 service hours — in honor of the national Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 18. GW volunteers painted hallways, cleaned stairwells and beautified the outside of the school as part of a larger effort spearheaded by the L10 Project, a local education advocacy group, to rehabilitate the school and enhance student learning. In addition, the University donated $8,000 and more than 800 books to the school.
"I am proud that so many George Washington University students have devoted their holiday to revitalizing Roosevelt High School,” said GW President Steven Knapp at the event. “By coming together to improve our community and strengthen our schools, they honor the legacy of Dr. King. On this day of service, we also send our thoughts and prayers to the people of Haiti and those who are engaged in relief and recovery efforts, including members of our GW family.”
At Roosevelt, GW volunteers worked alongside members of the L10 Project, students from Howard University, Trinity University and Roosevelt, and other members of the D.C. community, including D.C. Council members Muriel Bowser, Mary Cheh and Harry Thomas Jr. The hours accumulated by the GW volunteers counted toward the service challenge issued by First Lady Michelle Obama this past September.
Freshman Safia Razzuqi led a team of 10 students on a project improving the school’s lockers. “I volunteered because I identify with the message that anybody can serve and our community is re-empowered for it. I believe that service should be a continuous and sustained effort,” she says. “In a much larger context, what we did goes beyond the physical effort; the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service demonstrates our generation's spirit of service and dedication to community building.”
“It was really rewarding to be working at a school, knowing that people would be using the building we made nicer, and hopefully inspiring the students of Roosevelt Senior High School to push themselves further and go far in life,” says sophomore Nick Giovacchini, a team leader for the painting crew. “It was also nice to see a large amount of GW organizations represented there, especially the large contingent from Greek life.”
The day, sponsored by GW’s Office of Community Service and Multicultural Student Services Center, was part of a larger ongoing effort by the L10 Project to provide Roosevelt with an overall facelift and encourage a healthier and stronger learning environment.
“It was the largest Day of Service in GW’s history, and it was impressive to see more than 500 students, faculty, staff and alumni come together with students from other universities and Roosevelt High School as a team of 800 strong to help Roosevelt High School,” says Amanda Formica, Neighbors Project coordinator in GW’s Office of Community Service. “It is my hope that participants will be inspired to continue working with Roosevelt and other D.C. public schools throughout their time at GW.”
Upon hearing of the service effort, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty remarked, “We are thankful for those organizations like George Washington University and the L10 Project who have stepped up to assist in the transformation of public school facilities. It’s fantastic that so many have come out to both honor the memory of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and support District students, faculty and parents."