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Hundreds participate in GPC Day of Service Events
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to participate in events for the MLK Day of Service. Volunteers did everything from painting the Clarkston Community Center to digging up periwinkles at Stone Mountain Park to sprucing up a garden for a food pantry in Newton County.

“This is my first time participating in a community service event at Georgia Perimeter, and I wanted to have that experience,” said Teresa Barr, a social work major who was one of the first to arrive at the kick-off rally at GPC Clarkston Campus. “It’s an honor to be here to keep Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream alive to serve others.”

Kick-off rallies were held at GPC campuses in Clarkston, Dunwoody and Newton. Afterward, participants donned bright blue T-shirts and headed out to destinations across metro Atlanta. One group headed to DeKalb Academy of Technology and Environment, a DeKalb County charter school for kindergarten through eighth grade. GPC volunteers helped children, parents and DATE staffers tend a garden and plant other perennials around the campus.

 “It’s a blessing to have the GPC volunteers here and we are so thankful for their help,” said Dr. Maury Wills, headmaster of DATE. “This is truly a community project and exemplifies a school and higher learning partnership.”

After the morning kick-off at GPC Newton Campus, some students and faculty stayed behind to write letters to service men and women and paint murals for the Hospital Foundation Project, while others traveled to the Garden of Hope in Covington.

Working with Hands on Newton, students and volunteers from Harland Clarke Holdings Corp., a sponsor of the Georgia Perimeter College MLK Day of Service, helped clear weeds from the tender winter cabbage, collards and lettuce already sprouting from the cold winter soil. They tilled the soil with hoes and pitch forks, prepping the dirt for planting early sweet peas. Their work was significant, said Mollie Melvin, the Hands On Newton program director. “This garden produces an average of 250 pounds of vegetables for the food bank each year.”

Students from Dr. George Lonberger’s sociology class will return in March to help harvest some of the veggies. “I’m really looking forward to continuing to work with these students,” said Melvin. “The more we can do together, the better this garden will be.” GPC student Timothy Lewis came out to help in the garden “because I wanted to do something to make a difference today.”

Helping sustain the garden is an important way to support the community, said GPC student Andrew Cooper. “I think Newton (Campus) has needed a sustainability project for a while. I’m very excited to see this, and I look forward to more projects,” he said.

At Stone Mountain Park, more than a dozen volunteers gathered to pull invasive, non-native periwinkle from the grounds. Employees of Harland Clarke worked alongside GPC volunteers.

“Our company and employees know that this is a good and worthy cause here at Stone Mountain,” said Tish Ganey, a marketing manager at Harland Clarke. “And we aren’t just volunteering here in Georgia. Our employees are participating in service projects across the country because we want to support Dr. King’s dream to be contributing members of our communities.”