Inspiring and humbling

Notre Dame students join 350 in Detroit for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

On Saturday, January 13, a number of students from Notre Dame spent the day with youth from Detroit's St. Charles Lwanga parish and more than 350 other young people in community service as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.  It's an annual event  sponsored by the Archdiocese of Detroit and held to honor the legacy of Dr. King on the weekend prior to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.

According to NDP's Della Lawrence, of the the campus ministry department, among the activities Saturday, Notre Dame students worked alongside youth from St. Charles Lwanga Parish at the St. Patrick Senior Center in Detroit where they visited and played cards with seniors, prepared food and assisted staff with various site tasks.

"And some of our kids helped prepare and serve meals at Manna Meals Soup Kitchen in Corktown," Lawrence said. "All of the youth who participated then joined back together for lunch and a prayer service at Sacred Heart Church in Eastern Market."

She said that at the prayer service a number of homeless teens from Covenant House inspired the volunteer students present with their own sometimes harrowing life stories.

For John Pieper, a Notre Dame senior, the day of service was not just inspiring for him.

"Working at Manna Meals Soup Kitchen with Father Tom (Lumpkin) was a humbling experience because I got to see how people with absolutely nothing could still see the love of God in others," he said. "These same people still had a smile on their face after hours spent in the bitter cold and other daily hardships they face. In all, this service helped me put my life into perspective and grow my appreciation for the future ahead of me."

Pieper's classmate Matt Sitto also was both inspired and humbled by the day's activities.

"Participating in the MLK Day of Service has led me to learn a lot about people who are often forgotten in our society," Sitto said. "This is one of the rare opportunities that I go out and have conversations with these people. And most of them are more than happy to give advice and tell stories about their lives, which is a personal gain for me."

This was the second year in a row at the MLK Jr. Day of Service for Sitto and Pieper and they really look forward to it.

"Personally, this service was a chance for Matthew, Kyle (Al-Attar) and me and the rest of the NDP students to continue the work that we started at last year’s day of service," Pieper said. 

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at