Lawrence Tech students win MLK awards
Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
Four Lawrence Tech students were awarded the MLK Youth Community Service Award from the Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force Committee on Jan. 15 at the Southfield Public Library.
The Task Force was founded in 1985 by Barbara Tilley and based in Southfield. It offers programs and workshops throughout the year that focus on King’s teachings and philosophies. The MLK Youth Community Service Award recognizes youth who exemplify qualities of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by volunteering in their communities.
The award recipients from Lawrence Tech were Katelyn Addy, Krysta Foster, Brandon Hakeem, and Anna Spens. All four students were nominated by Melissa Grunow, director of leadership programs and first year experience.
The Lawrence Tech students were among the 10 students in the 19-21 age group to receive the awards. Each student received a plaque, certificate signed by state representatives, and a medal engraved with their names.
“There are many deserving students for such an award, but these four students exemplify service and positive change in their communities,” Grunow said.
Addy served as both a volunteer and site leader for the 2010 Make a Difference Day with Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit. She has served as a site leader at each LTU Service Saturday.
In November, Addy helped to recruit volunteers to participate with OM Green Group to clean up a land plot for a community garden. In December, she worked with students to decorate lunch bags and make holiday cards for children in need.
“Katelyn is not only a committed volunteer, she has worked continuously in other aspects of her life to end racism and discrimination against underrepresented groups,” Grunow said.
“Sometimes it’s hard to know that the little amount of volunteering you do actually helps the community. It is rewarding to know that there are other young people out there doing the same thing as me and being acknowledged for their service; it gives me motivation to keep volunteering and serving the community,” Addy said.
Foster has been instrumental in founding new initiatives on campus in connection with service and improvements in both the campus and Southfield communities. She is the founder and served as the club president for the newly established Circle K student organization, which is committed to service and leadership with support from Kiwanis.
As the philanthropy chair for Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, she has planned the benefit concert for the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), which later became the ANAD benefit dance at Lawrence Tech.
In September 2010, Foster single-handedly involved Lawrence Tech students, faculty, and staff in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night fund-raiser and blood cancer awareness event.
“I nominated Krysta for the 2011 MLK Youth Award because she has been continuously motivated by the challenges of getting others involved in important causes and is unfazed by trying things for the first time,” Grunow said.
“To receive an award based on the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. is such an honor. As an active member of the campus community I hope to spread the fire of service learning throughout the student body so that we can all further embody Martin Luther King Jr. throughout the entire school year,” Foster said.
Hakeem has been active in eradicating anti-gay hatred on campus and in the community. He serves as the president of OUT! at LTU with Friends, the University’s gay-straight alliance student organization. As a leader in this organization, Brandon was instrumental in helping to start the first-ever Pride Week on the Lawrence Tech campus. He also involved students in the Detroit AIDS Walk in September.
Hakeem also serves as a first-year mentor to acclimate freshmen students to campus life. “Much like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did in the ’60s, Brandon is fighting a difficult fight against discrimination and bigotry. I nominated Brandon for this award because of his work in changing the mindset about the gay community at Lawrence Tech,” Grunow said.
“I feel so humbled to be considered for such a distinguished award that honors the change Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. created,” Hakeem said.
As a Campus Engagement Fellow in 2009-2010 school, Spens helped plan the two-part Martin Luther King Day of Service. She also helped plan the LTU Day of Service for 2011 in collaboration with other student leaders on campus.
“I nominated Anna for the 2011 MLK Youth Award because she has worked tirelessly to establish a culture of service and giving on Lawrence Tech’s campus more so than any other student before her or since,” Grunow said.
“The Youth Service Awards brought attention to the work I put into my surrounding communities, along with many other students, and how closely it aligns to King’s mission of a strong united community through volunteering,” Spens said.