Crusaders Reflect on MLK Day of Service

DSC_0016On Monday, January 15, 2018 Brother Martin students engaged in a day of service with 200 other Catholic school students to acknowledge the birthday and life’s work of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on MLK Day Not Off, sponsored by the Archdiocese of New Orleans Office of Black Catholics. The day began with a prayer service at the new CYO Office just down Elysian Fields Ave. from Brother Martin High School.  The prayer service was led by Auxiliary Bishop Fernand J. Cheri, OFM. After the prayer service the students were sent to a dozen different work sites.  Brother Martin was assigned to work at the City Park Volunteer Center on Harrison Ave.


“Auxiliary Bishop Cheri said a phrase that will stick with me forever, “You are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.” After the prayer service, our group went to City Park. We were asked to get wheelbarrows, rakes, and pitchforks so that we could move mulch around and put it on the trails … The work was tiring, but I had a great time because I knew it will help other people…In my opinion, the meaning of that day was to get closer to God and help others.”

-Noah Hargrove ’20

Click each name below for a collection of reflections from more Brother Martin student volunteers:

Cameron Schultz '19

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is a day to commemorate the work of a man who tried to create a more accepting and just world for all future generations.  Just as he gave himself up completely to promote fair treatment of everyone in our society, we, as students step up this day to carry out his legacy and his message. From my personal experience on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, through the Day On Not Off program sponsored by the Archdiocesan Office of Black Catholics, I’ve learned the importance of service, the importance of assisting others, and of being there to help them.

The importance of helping others and reaching out to those in need is something all of us need to realize. When Martin Luther King, Jr. saw that his people were in need of justice, he took the steps he needed to take in order to give them that kind of world. He worked tirelessly day-in and day-out by making profound speeches and organizing public marches, all in the hope of having his dream become a reality, that “one day we will judge each other not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.” Believing that all men and women have inalienable rights, he dedicated his entire self to promoting those rights and fostering racial peace. We need also to follow his example to make a positive change in the life of others. Whether we do this in small ways like holding a door open for someone or cleaning the dishes, or in larger tasks like helping the homeless to make their life easier, we are called to be there for others.

At the new CYO office, once  everyone in the community who volunteered in the Day On Not Off program was settled, we started the day by watching a few videos involving the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and the different steps he took to do the great things he had done for the civil rights movement. As those videos played we were able to get a feeling of Martin’s life.  We then listened to a speech given by Auxiliary Bishop Cheri about the importance of the work we were about to do. Some very important points he made during his speech involved the fact that we were not there to receive anything for just ourselves, and that this work wasn’t just about us individually. Instead, we were there to serve and help others in the community and by doing so serve God. Another very important point that he had made was that even though some of us had menial tasks, we were to perform those tasks to our absolute best ability no matter what. When we were dismissed to our worksites, each of us took these words from the bishop and applied them to the service we were assigned. My group went to City Park to do trail maintenance in Couturie Forest.  Through the cold and tireless work, we had finally completed our task of mulching a hiking trail.  Once the day was done, I realized that though the  task may have seemed small, it was of great help to those who enjoy walking in the woods in City Park. This is what truly matters in the end, that we did the best job we could to serve others and God.

After the day had ended and we were all dismissed from the worksite, I had truly learned the importance of serving others, and I had an amazing and eye-opening experience doing so from the Day On Not Off program. The truth is that serving others is of great importance in this world, and it’s something we all should do in one way or another. Whether we help a friend do a simple task or do great and large tasks, everything that we do for each other matters greatly.

What can you do to give up your time  to help your neighbor?

-Cameron Schultz ’19

Andrew Winstein '19

My experience on the MLK Day On Not Off was a very enjoyable experience.  We worked hard, but the end goal was worth it.  Our goal was to help put mulch down on a path to make it smoother for people that wanted to walk the path.  This connected to what MLK wanted by making people from different ethnic backgrounds come together to complete a common goal.

-Andrew Winstein ’19

Nathan Lien '20

I was captivated by the silence that followed me as I walk through the trail and the beauty of the nature. We then wrapped things up and I headed home fascinated by the experience.

 – Nathan Lien ’20

Drew Gardner '21

Bishop Cheri inspired me to go to work for others not yourself. He explained how the work as a Christian where we do everything for Christ, not ourselves. After the speech, we went to City Park where we did some work. The work was moving mulch to fix the trail so people can enjoy mulch and not mud. I learned from this we can do stuff for the community as followers of Christ even if we are different races.

-Drew Gardner ’21

Colin Herasymiuk '20

The day started off with a motivational speech from Bishop Cheri.  The thing that stood out the most to me from that speech was when he said that it is always the right time to do what is right.

– Colin Herasymiuk, ’20

Joseph Bon-Mardion '20

The final prayer with Fr. Green, [from the Office of Black Catholics] made all of us feel good for what we did for the community and I think we all left happy and proud that we did this for the community and that what we did helped people.

John Buchert '18

The day is really about realizing our identity as servants of God. At the same time, we are all equal. It does not matter whether we are black, white, or anything in between, we all must work to spread the Good News of the Lord. Helping to spread the mulch in the City Park forest may seem like a meaningless task, but it can definitely influence others. The forest can be used for relaxation or exercise. It can make someone’s day to see a soft, newly paved path. The prayer service before the actual service was also very inspiring. The bishop talked about giving up selfish desires. We are called to be servants with our lives rather than trying to make our own lives better with money or entertainment.

-John Buchert ’18

Dillon Delaune '18

Although it may be hard to find a connection between Martin Luther King and mulching a trail, one rather thing struck me. MLK paved the way for many African-Americans and other marginalized people to receive fair and equal treatment in a country similar to how we paved the literal trail through the forest in City Park. While we may have not had as much of an impact on our country as MLK did, paving the trail will impact our community in a small way that many citizens will appreciate. If only everyone was able to do something small to better their community, the world would be a much better place.

-Dillon Delaune ‘18

Peter Baier ‘21

I was hesitant to sign up for doing service on my off day, but ending up going…mostly to get the service hours required for exemption. However, my mood throughout the day got better as I told myself “I don’t have to do this, but I get to do this.” This helped sink into my brain the message of the bishop’s motivational speech, “It’s always the right time to do the right thing.” We then proceeded to go do the service work, wheel barrowing mulch to make better trails in City Park. The labor was strenuous at first, but after awhile but it was nice to be in the quiet (for the most part), serene, park. This was a pleasing break from the business of school, friends, and family. From this experience, I saw the results of hard work paying off and I learned that a break from my busy life every once and a while is good – especially if it’s doing something for nature or my community.

-Peter Baier ‘21

Tyler Damare’ '21

For my day off, I wouldn’t have rather done anything else. At the beginning of the day, I didn’t realize how mulching trails in City Park was community service. However, after we finished I saw how it was. We made the park more enjoyable and appealing to others. While doing this, we also helped beautify God’s creations and help others to enjoy and appreciate them more. Throughout the day I learned that it is important to always do service that will benefit others, and not just yourself. I think the purpose of the day was to help us realize how the service that we take part in has such a great effect on others and to teach us to always do the right thing, no matter the time or work it requires.

-Tyler Damare’ ‘21

Collin Rupp ‘20

It was great exercise and character building.  The purpose of this day was to serve everyone by doing something beneficial for everyone. It is supposed to teach respect for everyone. The ending prayer [by Fr. Green] was phenomenal for its purpose was to inspire the people there to do service for others and to respect everyone, no matter their race or gender.

-Collin Rupp ‘20

Warren Martin '21

I thought that when I was going to do work on a school off day that I was going to be very bored and wasn’t going to enjoy it and I was wrong. The bishop and Fr. Green made the day very inspirational for me. It felt like I was doing work for a purpose, which I was. It took a lot of hard work to accomplish the goal we had, but we helped create a path for people to walk on in city park and enjoy.

-Warren Martin ’21

William Goodwin '20

Moving the mulch was a small task, but it made me think how smaller things can lead to bigger things and now the community will prosper from a simple job of moving mulch. Overall, this day has made me see how little things can make a big impact and how people can use their specific talents to serve God.

-William Goodwin ’20

MLK Day of Service

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