Local students participate in service day for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


By Haylee Pence

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PIQUA – On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the YMCA Youth Center, Young Life, and Piqua area churches teamed together to host the 2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service event held at the Piqua YMCA Youth Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., which provided junior high and high school students an opportunity to earn four service hours.

To begin the day, the students met to clean various areas of the YMCA. The students broke into teams to tackle the work together. The students cleaned the “third-floor gym, the multi-purpose room, the closet outside the cycling room, the cycling room, and the warrior room,” according to event organizers. These involved wiping down “mats, benches, jump ropes, dumbbell racks, weights, exercise balls, cycling machines, and other various equipment.”

“Once we finished cleaning the warrior room, my group went up to help clean the multi-purpose room,” said student volunteer Logan Tucker, a junior at Piqua High School.

Following the cleaning of the rooms, the students had some free time to play various sport activities.

Piqua High School freshman Tatiana Foos said, “I enjoyed playing dodge ball during our free time.”

“My favorite part of the day was the free time, not only because it was free time, but because all the kids were together and having fun in the gym,” said Lehman High School sophomore student Seth Kanapke.

A lunch was provided to the students, which was donated from various pizza places, including Little Caesar’s Pizza. “Chips and fruit were provided courtesy of Walmart in Piqua,” according to Abigail Jordan, Teen Leadership director of the YMCA Youth Center.

The students went back into their groups to review a list of five various quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our group chose the quote, ‘All my adult life, I have deplored violence and war as instruments for achieving solutions to mankind’s problems. I am firmly committed to the creative power of nonviolence as the force which is capable of winning last and meaningful brotherhood and peace’ as the most needed in our world today because there’s a lot of violence in the world today and people today need to resolve issues without violence,” said Piqua Junior High School eighth grader Jack McMaken.

Other quotes the students discussed included: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” and, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

“It was fun getting to know other students since it was my first time here,” said Piqua High School senior Christopher Proffitt.

Abigail Jordan thanked Dianna Mengos from St. Boniface and St. Mary Churches, Katie Miller Loehr from Young Life, and Taylor Mabra from Valley Church for participating and helping to hold this event.

Executive Director Jim McMaken said that, to him, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is “a day of service, and what better way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King than have a day of service.”

“It’s great for kids to get outside of themselves and give back,” Jim McMaken said, “My two boys participated in this event, and it gave me a chance to explain Martin Luther King’s legacy.”

Following the event, the students were allowed to stay and participate in recreational activities until 6 p.m.

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