Kent State Together

Dr. King quote: "Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve."
Honoring Dr. King through Virtual Volunteering and Commemorative Events


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  noted that "Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve." While we continue to navigate the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the cancellation of the in-person elements of our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, we also maintain our commitment to commemorating Dr. King by providing opportunities to reflect on his work and message and make a difference, all while staying safe and healthy. 

Community Engaged Learning is revamping "Kent State Together," our collection of virtual volunteering opportunities launched in the early days of the pandemic, to provide a reflection on Dr. King's work from spoken word artist and KSU alumnus Calil Cage (Just. C.O.S.) and a list of engagement opportunities connected to Martin Luther King Day and aligning with Dr. King's vision of the Beloved Community

Just C.O.S.'s message below -- "Monarch" -- asks us to "choose to unleash one another in the light of service" as he reflects on the similarities between monarch butterflies and what humanity ought to be. We have also assembled a collection of local and regional virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities, while also including information regarding a variety of commemorative events in our local community. No general registration is required to participate, though participation in particular projects or events may require submitting a form or sending an email. Simply click on a project/event or two (or five!) and follow the instructions provided. 

Do you know of a great opportunity to help that does not appear below but should? Please let us know! 

Important note: Unless specifically noted, the opportunities listed below are not programs of Community Engaged Learning or Kent State University, and no vetting has been done in any way.


A Reflection for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: "Monarch," by Just C.O.S. 

Opportunities:


Virtual Volunteering Opportunities

Create Literacy Kits for Children in Portage County

The Literacy Kit program is an effort of the United Way of Portage County that encourages early grade reading by making the experience fun and interactive. The kits are assembled by volunteers and each one includes a children’s storybook paired with a hands-on activity. You can read more about the Literacy Kit program and see previous examples here.

Please consider volunteering to make Literacy Kits from home and spread the love of reading to children across the county, contributing to their long-term success! Here is how it will work:

  • Complete this form to request supplies be mailed to you. In the form you will see instructions and be able to determine how many kits you’d like to help make.
  • Your supplies will be mailed to your designated mailing address.
  • We ask that you mail back your completed supplies using the stamped return envelope which includes a return address.
  • All items must be returned by February 15, 2022.

How do I participate? Complete this form.

Questions? E-mail us at community@kent.edu.

Register to Vote and Request an Absentee Ballot

The Ohio Primary Election takes place on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. The voter registration deadline is Monday, April 4, 2022.

How do I participate?

  • Visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s website now to do the following:
    • Check your voter registration status
    • Register to vote or update your voter registration with new information
    • Request an absentee ballot for the May 2022 election
       
  • If you live outside Ohio, be sure to visit the Vote 411 website and input your information to access details regarding your state’s voting process.
     
  • Visit the Kent State Votes website to learn more about Kent State-specific voting information.
Serve as Reading Role Models for Children in Portage County

United Way is looking for volunteers to be Reading Role Models, people who can share the love and importance of reading to local students. Far too many children in Portage County struggle to read. Reading proficiency by the third grade is an essential step toward increasing the number of children who succeed academically and do well in life and career.

Volunteers will record themselves on video reading a children's book and submit the video to be included in the United Way of Portage County's video library. Local educators will then use the videos with local elementary school students.

How do I participate?

Complete the interest form at the link above.  

Questions?

E-mail community@kent.edu

Donate Blood

There has never been a larger need for blood donations. Policies governing blood donations have been relaxed during the pandemic.

How do I participate? Find a local drive by clicking here.

Volunteer at Regional Food Banks

Our regional food banks are experiencing high demand, and volunteers are crucial to their operations, saving them millions of dollars in salaries and increasing efficiency, which results in more food being distributed to agencies and clients.

Two food banks in Northeast Ohio are in need of volunteers:

  • Greater Cleveland Food Bank
  • Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank

How do I participate?

  • Click here to learn more and register to volunteer at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank
  • Click here to learn more about volunteering at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. 

Questions?

Local Events/Programs Commemorating Dr. King:

Monday, Jan. 17th: Akron Urban League's Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Breakfast (Virtual)

Description:

Speakers will discuss lessons from influential leaders of the past and share how Dr. King’s legacy has inspired people to be a voice for change, diversity and equality.

Date/Time: 

Monday, January 17th, 9:00-10:00 a.m.

How do I participate?

Click here to register.

Monday, Jan. 17th: Akron Art Museum's MLK Day Celebration (In-Person)

Description:

Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the Akron Art Museum and its community partners. The Museum will be free and open all day and activities will be scheduled throughout open hours. Admission and activities are FREE and appropriate for all age levels. No registration necessary.

The event will include:

  • I Promise School artwork on display
  • Photo booth available
  • Self guided tours
  • Open studio open during open hours
  • Elizabeth’s Book Store pop up store
  • Cookies, coffee, and hot chocolate bar

Each activity will be socially-distanced with the safety of patrons and staff in mind but circumstances may change at any moment. Event guidelines will comply with all current CDC, state and local regulations for COVID-19.

Date/Time:

11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 17, 2022

How do I participate? 

No registration needed; simply visit the Akron Art Museum at 1 South High Street, Akron, OH 44308.

Questions? Call the Museum at (330) 376-9186.

Monday, Jan. 17th: King Kennedy and Skeels-Mathews Annual MLK Day Event (Virtual)

Description:

King Kennedy Community Center, along with Skeels-Mathews Community Center, is hosting its annual MLK Day event--this year in celebration of PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE. 

Date and Time:

1:00 p.m. on Monday, January 17, 2022

How do I participate?

Questions? Contact King Kennedy Community Center at (330) 296-9957. 

Wednesday, Jan. 26th: Paint and Learn Event

The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, in collaboration with local business Culart, are hosting a Paint and Learn on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, from 4:30-6 p.m. virtually. No art skills are needed, and supplies are provided. 

Space is limited, so be sure to sign up soon! 

How do I participate?

Click here to register.

Questions?

Send all questions to diversity@kent.edu or call (330) 672-2442. 

In-Person Volunteering Opportunities

Wednesday, Jan. 19th: Supporting 'Flashes Fighting Hunger' Monthly Food Distribution

Flashes Fighting Hunger, started in 2011 as Campus Kitchen at Kent State University, is a student-created and student-run effort that runs on volunteers, recovers and distributes food on-campus and in the community, and prepares meals! By recovering food that otherwise would go to waste, FFH is able to prepare 350+ nutritious meals each week for those struggling with food insecurity. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Flashes Fighting Hunger has not only continued to recover and distribute food to an increasing number of community members through on-campus food distributions, but it also raised funds for and purchased a mobile food distribution unit--with assistance from Kent State's Dining Services office--that will be used to distribute food in the community. 

Support Flashes Fighting Hunger by volunteering to staff its monthly food distribution event in partnership with the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank on Wednesday, January 19th from 12:30-3:00 p.m.

How do I participate?

Questions? Contact Amanda Woodyard at apaulus3@kent.edu.

Wednesday, Jan. 19th: Making Fleece Blankets for Immigrant Families

Join our Service in a Flash event on Wednesday, January 19th from 12:00-1:30 p.m. in the CUE KeyBank Student Success Lounge and learn how to make fleece blankets, which will be donated to the immigrant families in the Beatitude House run by the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown!

How do I participate?

Click here to register for the event.

Questions?

Contact Community Engaged Learning Graduate Assistant Maggie Allphin at mallphin@kent.edu

Who should I contact if I have a question?

For the most part, each of the projects and events has its own contact person. You can find this in the project details by clicking on the project or event title and reviewing the additional information that appears. 

If you have questions about the website and collection of opportunities, please contact Community Engaged Learning at community@kent.edu