|Palm Beach Atlantic University student Kimberly Felix paints the exterior of Haverhill Baptist Church on Monday as part of the University's annual MLK Challenge.|
“It feels good just to spend time giving back to the community,” said Felix, a sophomore and a student leader in PBA’s Workship program. “It’s more rewarding that just sitting around or sleeping.”
“College students don’t just study all the time,” added Johnson, also a sophomore Workship leader. “We go out and help people.”
Felix and Johnson were with a group of students helping to repaint the exterior of Haverhill Baptist Church in West Palm Beach on Monday. Since 2001, PBA students have spent Martin Luther King Day performing service projects through PBA’s Workship program. Classes were not in session on Monday.
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In all, 115 students took part in the MLK Challenge at six locations across Palm Beach County. At Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, students helped to organize a block party for neighborhood children. At Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center in Loxahatchee, teams helped prepare the grounds for an annual event.
At the Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach, students helped with landscaping and beautification, and at the Lourdes-Noreen McKeen retirement community in West Palm Beach, students visited with residents.
The students at Haverhill Baptist helped church volunteers with an ongoing beautification effort on the church property, which also houses a school. Their assistance was greatly appreciated, said Pastor Chris Hudson, a 1999 graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic.
“Without community partnerships like this, it would be extremely difficult to accomplish our goals,” Pastor Hudson said.
Several miles to the north, a team of PBA students at Quantum House prepared a lunch of chicken, pasta and vegetables for families whose children are receiving treatment at nearby St. Mary’s Medical Center and other local hospitals.
“I feel that it’s a good way to spend your day off serving the community,” said senior Aris Rogers, who has participated in Workship projects on the Martin Luther King holiday for the past four years. “Service creates balance in your life.”
Senior John Baggerman, a student in PBA’s School of Ministry, said he also enjoyed spending the day in service. “I love serving,” he said. “The Bible talks about having spiritual gifts, and I feel like this is one of mine.”