Community Service

Life's most persistent question, King said, is "What are you doing for others?" As an Martin Luther King Scholar you will answer that question with regular engagement with the community.

Within a few weeks of your arrival at Ithaca, our staff will help you connect with a local service opportunity that matches your learning objectives, interests, and schedule. But do not expect to be doing solely volunteer work -- as an Martin Luther King Scholar, you will consider your service activities within the larger contexts of social justice and social policy.

  • Tutor young readers at an elementary school, and you might explore what practices and social conditions undermine the educational potential and moral basis of schooling in democratic societies.
  • Work with older residents at an assisted-care facility, and you may research barriers to the use of assisted living programs by ethnically diverse older adults.
  • Help prepare and serve meals at a community kitchen, and you may investigate the root causes and possible solutions to global hunger, poverty, and ecological degradation.

Through community involvement, Scholars are expected to learn skills that will serve them beyond their undergraduate education: time management, models of leadership and service, organizational and coalition building, the nature of group dynamics, effective strategic activism and the acquisition of resources. These skills and experiences contribute to the overall growth that takes place for scholars during their time with the Martin Luther King Scholar Program.