GALLOWAY TONWSHIP — Six-year-old Chase Savage, of Galloway, has been learning about Martin Luther King Jr. at Smithville Elementary, and he had a lot of questions.
“He didn’t understand why people were so mean to him because he looked different,” his mother, Lindsay Savage, 29, said.
New Day Family Success Center, 622 S. New York Road, was the place for him to find answers Monday. The family was sitting at the Crayon Box, one of the six stations at the center’s day of service event. The station had worksheets for the children to draw what they perceived their family to look like, and then they got to display them on the wall.
Nicole Worth, 23, of Mays Landing and a family partner at the center, said the station is one way they were working with diversity.
“No crayon is the same,” she said. “They’re all different colors. It showcases that we are different but unique in our own ways.”
Jehron Holland, 32, of Absecon, is also a family partner at the center and was there early with Worth setting up the stations.
“Everything we do here we try to get the families involved with one another to get to know their community,” Holland said. “Today, envisioning (King’s) dream of bringing everyone together, realizing that we’re all different but trying to reach the same goal.”
At Stockton University, 1,000 volunteers, including students, staff, faculty and community members, came together and worked on more than 40 projects across South Jersey.
“We bring service, like community service, and the classroom and we bridge that gap,” Director of Service-Learning Daniel Fidalgo Tomé said. “We are of the community, with the community, and we try our hardest to be a true, good neighbor to our three counties.”
Kayla McDermott-Cobbs, 20, of Freehold, and a student fellow with the university’s Office of Community Engagement, was making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the Campus Center to be delivered to the displaced residents of Charles P. Jeffries Tower.
They needed 310 sandwiches and were working at a furious pace.
“I’ve always liked being a part of the community,” she said. “And Martin Luther King Jr. Day means giving back to my community.”
Dominique Penabad, 21, of Lodi, and a member of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity at the college, was with a sewing and knitting group creating hats and gloves for the Atlantic City Rescue Mission and protest pins for the Women’s March.
“It’s a time for college students to come together and do service,” she said. “It’s nice to see college kids giving back.”
Back at New Day Family Success Center, Derek Nicholson, 32, of Absecon worked on arts and crafts with his daughter, Aaliyah Robertson, 12.
“It’s good to see all different kinds of people coming together, working on projects together,” he said. “That was Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.”