The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey’s 9th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was its largest yet, with 800 pre-registered volunteers participating in 19 community service projects throughout Galloway Township and the surrounding areas.
The Day of Service took place on Jan. 21, and helped commemorat the 50th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Projects included local trips to the Kinetic Poetic Dance and Community Quest. Projects on campus included the Stockton Farm, CERT trailer organization and clean out sponsored by Stockton Neighborhood Watch and Books Without Borders.
Other projects included making lunch at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, food drives in and around Galloway Township, writing Valentine’s Day cards at The Shores at Wesley Manor, working with the Girl Scouts, working with the March of Dimes and assisting in Sandy relief at Tuckerton Seaport.
Participants included Stockton students and members of the community. Galloway Patch Local Editor Anthony Bellano volunteered at the Noyes Museum with a group of Stockton students and two veterans. The project included clearing leaves ad maintaining nature trails.
The number of volunteers was twice the number of volunteers from last year’s event, according to college officials.
The day began with the Stockton Community Engagement Awards ceremony.
Undergraduate Student Recipient: Saaya Jessica Okazaki, for her contributions toward restoring the environment with Water Watch;
Graduate Student Recipient: Jessica Hulten, for spreading awareness of human rights on and off campus in an effort to combat intolerance and prejudice;
Student Organization Recipient: Stockton Neighborhood Watch, for its efforts to help people in many arenas, including recovering in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy; and
Faculty Recipient: Jonathan Rosky, an adjunct instructor in Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies.
“I am motivated to try and make this a better world because I cannot imagine living any other way,” Rosky said in accepting the award. “I am not under the impression that my efforts will solve any major world problems, but sitting back and doing nothing when I have the ability and means to make a difference in some small way seems like the wrong way to live.”
The final award went to Brian Pluchino, Professional Services Specialist 4, Office of International Services, who was recognized as the Staff Recipient.
“I’m inspired because service can prominently improve someone’s life,” Pluchino said. “So many people have the potential to make positive impacts. Some just need an avenue. Others just need to know where to start.”