SALT LAKE CITY — Children's laughter echoed through the halls on Westminster's campus during a service project Friday as part of the college's two-week celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"I heard that there were children involved, and I really like to volunteer," said Holly Howe, a Westminster student among the staff and students volunteering for Friday's event. "I love hanging out with kids, interacting with them and seeing them have a good time and enjoying themselves."
In a "color your dream" activity, kids drew what they want to be when they grow up. Some said they dream of being doctors, scientists, soccer players and karate teachers. The activity leader then asked them to start thinking about college.
"I want to be a scientist when I grow up," Anthony Lovato, 8, said. "I think I'm gonna come here for college when I go to college. This is so fun — I'd really like to come here."
In other stations, the children danced, played games, put together hygiene kits for the community and made oobleck — a kid-friendly slime.
"I think it's like the biggest thing for them. It's an exciting time … get out of the school, get out of the classroom. A lot of them were talking like, 'We get to go to college.' Being here in a college space, for them, is really exciting," said Alex Coltrin, program manager at Promise South Salt Lake, as he ushered kids to their next activity.
Julie Tille, director of civic engagement at Westminster, says projects like this also help the school build relationships with its own students. "When we have these days of service, we get such a good turnout."
She added that such activities tend to inspire students to start their own service projects, which often last up to a year.Comment on this story
Marco Barker, the college's chief diversity officer, says the college hopes to "connect with people in different ways" through its events. He added that a crowd of 1,000 people attended the school's sold-out lecture on Thursday.
“The MLK holiday and national observance is always an important time for our nation, and certainly our college, to reflect on the true meaning of servant leadership and justice for all,” Barker said. “King’s actions, along with the many civil rights leaders of then and today, remind us there is much work to be done and how important it is to lead a life of purpose."