Kent organizations respond to Obama’s charge to serve

Local groups capitalize on leftover energy from Obama’s historic run

Photo by Dana R. Beveridge | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

View photos of the gumball mural at the King Kennedy Community Center.

Communities across Ohio embraced Barack Obama’s call to service by planning more than 100 service events that took place around the state yesterday. The city of Kent was no exception.

Obama called upon Americans to dedicate their time yesterday to community service, encouraging them to promote the change they want to see.

The day of service events, which spanned from Cincinnati to Cleveland, would be opportunities for people to see “how they can commit to becoming more engaged citizens,” according to USAService’s Web site.

The Web site allowed people or organizations to post event details about their organized events as well the option to R.S.V.P.

Megan Odell-Scott, Kent State community service leader, saw the day as something good.

“This election really energized everyone and afterwards people didn’t know what to do with it,” said Odell-Scott. “This is a great way to use that energy.”

Kent’s Goodwill branch used the day of service to spread its message and increase volunteers.

Vice President of Employee and Public Relations Valarie Still agreed with Odell-Scott that the day evoked a positive message.

“It looked like a great venue that would let us get our word out,” Still said.

Still expressed that there is often a misconception that Goodwill is only a clothing store, but in fact, Goodwill’s “revenue generated in its stores help individuals prepare for, find and retain employment,” said Still.

Goodwill aims to help anyone needing job search skills, workers who have been downsized or dislocated, among others.

Besides donating time to organizations like the Goodwill, people also had the opportunity to donate their blood as part of the day of service. The American Red Cross hosted two blood drives in the area.

The King Kennedy Community Center hosted its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration yesterday, in conjunction with the day of service.

The event focused on the inauguration of Barack Obama by assembling a six foot-by-six foot mural of Obama with 12,784 gumballs.

Franz Spohn, a professor from Edinboro University, is the genius behind gumball art. Each gumball represents a pixel in a picture. Kent State students assisted Spohn by filling half-inch wide tubes with gum-balls in a certain order. The tubes were then lined up and placed in a frame for the final touch.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not sponsored the event by providing the materials. The finished mural will go in a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.

Senior Special Assistant Ann Gosky hosted the event.

Kent State has a long history with the King Kennedy Center. In the 1960s, the area around the community center was recognized as one of the poorest rural communities in the United States. Kent State students responded and raised money to build a community center. To this day, Kent State students are involved by tutoring at the Center.

Contact news correspondents Anthony Holloway at [email protected] and Allison Smith at [email protected].