Students turn MLK day off into a day on -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Students turn MLK day off into a day on

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) – While the MLK holiday gave kids a day off from school, some students in Thomasville put their time to good use. They used their time off to help people in need. They spent the day working with Hands on Thomas County.

Some very special Thomas County students decided to skip those few extra hours in bed to make a difference in somebody's life.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., these kids awoke bright and early on their day off.

"We ask that they make it a day on, not a day off and get out and help some groups in their community."

Casey Dyksterhouse is the Executive Director of Hands on Thomas County, an organization that arranges volunteer opportunities in the community. She says this year's turnout for the Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Service Day surpasses others because of the recession.

"The turnout as far as people that we are serving is bigger than ever," continued Dyksterhouse. "With the economy the way it is, people are really in need."

The volunteer activities for the Youth Service Day cover all aspects of helping the community. From feeding the hungry to cleaning up Thomasville's creeks.

Organizers say getting first time volunteers to sign up is a little difficult, but getting them to come back is the easy part.

"They really get bitten by the volunteering bug," says teacher and Hands on Thomas County volunteer Djuana Rinehart. "And once they come out once, they usually sign up for every volunteer activity we have."

The students say giving up a day off isn't really all that bad.

"To be able to be up face to face with the people you're helping is emotional because you get to see the look on their face. You just get to see that joy in their eyes and how much fun that is," said sixth grade student volunteer Sam Nix.

Mother of four, Teresa Holland, is thankful for the young volunteers.

"It's a blessing. They got a blessing coming their way too for being out here. Taking the time to help others that are needy."

And in times like these, Dr. King himself said it best: "Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve."

In addition to feeding the hungry and cleaning up area creeks, the volunteers for today's Day of Service also worked on a Habitat for Humanity home and performed various tasks at a wild animal rescue and care clinic.

If you'd like to help with future volunteer activities you can call the Hands on Thomas County Office at 226-5200 or visit their web site at

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