Four hundred volunteers from Palm Beach Atlantic University and the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County teamed up to give thousands of hours in service to their communities for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
This marks the second year of the interfaith partnership, which resulted in 750 volunteers serving 6,200 hours last year. This year, volunteers cared for shelter animals; picked produce for the hungry; packaged basic necessities for those in need; painted; and completed neighborhood beautification projects by working with a dozen community organizations.
Palm Beach Atlantic students are required to serve 45 hours per year through Workship, a distinctive community service program that responds to human needs with Christ-like action in the community and the world. Students have volunteered more than 3.5 million community service hours since the University began in 1968. Nine PBA alumni returned to lead MLK Day of Service projects.
LaTrae Weiters, who studied management and now works in security for a professional basketball team, took the day off to lead a project repainting the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Riviera Beach that was ravaged by fire in 2019. Habitat for Humanity hopes to reopen the store this March.
“PBA gave me so many opportunities to go out and make an impact in the community and give other people an opportunity to create their own stories,” Weiters said. “It’s good to hear other people’s stories as well. We only see one part. We don’t know the whole journey.”
Members of the women’s Sailfish Soccer team joined the painting project, too. Sydney Cromwell, a freshman biology major from Boise, Idaho, was among them.
“We saw the opportunity as part of MLK Day and thought painting would be a good way to give back to the community,” Cromwell said.
Floyd Clark, who graduated in 2020 with a degree in computer science, served as a Workship leader for three years. He traveled from Marianna, Florida, to pick peppers in a Boynton Beach field.
Asked what stood out about his three years as Workship leader, he immediately replied, “MLK Day, and how many people came out to serve others.”
The community-wide day of giving is capped by a virtual solidarity service to commemorate King’s vision of diversity and equality. PBA Professor Dr. Terriel Byrd, an expert on the life and teachings of MLK, will speak. There will be inspirational musical performances by children from Tabernacle Church and Arthur I. Meyer Jewish Preparatory School. Chani Ezagui, founder of Kind Kitchen Palm Beach, and Christine Sylvain, founder of the Path to College, will be recognized with the Tikkun Olam Award.
Photo 1: Floyd Clark gleans peppers in a Boynton Beach field for CROS Ministries on MLK Day of Service on Jan. 18, 2021. Floyd, a Workship leader for three years, graduated in 2020 with a degree in computer science.
Photo 2: Cade Tjomsland, a freshman studying sports broadcasting, paints the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Riviera Beach on MLK Day of Service on Jan. 18, 2021.