Students bring King Day celebration to Center Pointe’s senior residents

In recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, several students led by freshman Keisha Faulkner visited the Center Pointe Health and Rehab Center this weekend. The students celebrated the civil rights leader’s birthday with the elderly residents of the center.

The group planned numerous activities for the residents to take part in. Activities consisted of trivia games, puzzles and a civil rights movie.

Faulkner, 18, a freshman business management student from Moorestown, N.J., started volunteering at Center Pointe independently, but decided to do a community service project with a group of students for the MLK holiday. She said she specifically chose to work with the elderly as opposed to other age groups.

“I wanted to organize a community service project with them because they were there during MLK’s time,” Faulkner said. “I thought this project would teach us more about King, as well as to refresh the residents’ memories about MLK.”

During the visit, a couple of residents spoke about their memories of King and his involvement with the civil rights movement. Detailed and heart-warming stories were shared about segregation, racism and the impact King had on many of their lives.

Tierney Washington, 18, a freshman business administration student from Port St. Lucie, said she enjoyed hearing the residents’ experiences.

“It was interesting to hear them talk about what they had to go through or what they witnessed,” Washington said. “It really was even more meaningful that these stories were coming from people who lived during the time.”

While the residents relived their experiences, they also refreshed their memories with games centered on the life of King. Prizes were awarded to the seniors who correctly answered the questions Faulkner asked. In addition, residents also took part in a history activity where they had to pair up with a student and match dates with events.

Both the seniors and students said they had fun. Dennard Smith, 18, a freshman criminal justice student from Newark, N.J., said he enjoyed helping out the elderly residents.

“At first I didn’t really think I would enjoy visiting the center, but after we played games, sang “We Shall Overcome” and interacted with the elderly, I really started to enjoy myself,” Smith said. “I would definitely do it again because it was a good experience.”

Shirleen Fields, the Center Pointe receptionist, said the service project was a great idea and the residents were glad to have the students visit them.

“Everything was great, and I really think the residents enjoyed the program,” Fields said. “I hope they come again.”

Faulkner said the event was a success.

“I think the event turned out successful, even though I planned it at the last minute,” Faulkner said. “They want us to come back so I am going to go back Feb. 13 for a Valentine’s Day program that I am organizing. I encourage everyone to come out.”