NOVA Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with Annual “Day of Service” Featuring Voices from Across the Community

January 18, 2022

NOVA’s annual “MLK Day of Service” kicked off on Monday, January 17, 2022 with a series of heartfelt speeches, warm memories of what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy meant to them, opportunities to further serve and volunteer in the community and a closing video of vignettes from NOVA’s faculty, students and staff members, each reciting parts of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech. :

The event opened with Nigel Word, NOVA’s director of student leadership and engagement, who coordinated the event and directed the closing video. Word offered his sentiments on what this day means to him and his family, and how community service today is a privilege.

NOVA’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Dr. Nathan Carter, spoke on how important this day was to NOVA leadership and relayed a memory of what his grandmother said upon remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“My grandmother always talked to me about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King,” said Carter. “’that everyone truly can be great because everyone can serve.’ That is what strikes me about the importance of this day. It’s not a day off but a day on to be focused to help your fellow human beings. Simple acts of kindness and respect are what binds us together.”

“Martin Luther King Jr., a Poem on Truth and Awakening” was played as a featured poem by NOVA Alumna Kim B. Miller. It featured such anecdotes as how “Racism is not a solution to pain.” Watch a video of her poem presented here:

Miller is also NOVA’s recent alum Feature Story spotlight.

Mrs. Yvette Urquhart, who is an empowerment speaker, author, certified life coach, clean comedienne, poet, actress and creator of, “Embrace Life with Yvette” delivered keynote remarks. Urquhart is also an active member of The Gospel Tabernacle Outreach Center where she serves as a Minister in Training under the leadership of Pastor Kell Stone, as well as a coordinator of the youth council, worship leader, altar ministry and youth minister overseeing “Kingdom Kids Youth Church” of GTOC. Yvette travels throughout Virginia, North Carolina and beyond using her God-given abilities to empower, bring laughter, love, joy, hope and inspiration wherever she goes.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to share with you today as we celebrate and commemorate the life, legend and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Urquhart. “He was a fierce advocate for all people. His message was one of equality, justice and love. Isn’t it incredible for a man to have a dream so enormous that it didn’t just include his family, his community, his state – it includes all of us?”

She further shared a heartwarming poem called “Unity and Diversity,” using inspiring and moving words on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy.

In partnership with Volunteer Fairfax, Andrew Daniels, senior coordinator of corporate services and events discussed the ongoing projects that NOVA has with the non-profit, and how anyone in the community can sign up to volunteer. “Give Together,” which is a volunteer opportunity for the community offers downloadable booklets which can be accessed on the Volunteer Fairfax website to utilize the guidebooks for a list of projects contributed to non-profits across the community.

Additional Volunteer Fairfax service opportunities on the website include the: MLK, Jr. Weekend of Service - Valentine's Challenge. This special opportunity allows for heartfelt messages to be sent on Valentine’s Day cards that will be given to Title I school teachers and staff.

The virtual event closed with video vignettes featuring NOVA students, faculty and staff each reciting parts of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  The full video can be found here:

‘I Have a Dream’ speakers in order of appearance:

  • Richmond Hill, AVP of Student Support Services
  • Tenzin Lodoe, Student Liaison to NOVA College Board and Annandale Campus SGA President
  • Charlotte Lombardo, Student Life Coordinator, NOVA Online
  • Mark Mannheimer, Assistant Director of First Year Experience and SDV
  • LaTonia White, Coordinator of Financial Stability and Advocacy Center
  • Nicole Munday, Interim Assoc. Dean for LASS, Alexandria Campus 
  • Ammara Khursheed, Student Rep for SCHEV and Medical Education Campus SGA Senator
  • Michael Wemyss, SGAC Secretary and Loudoun Campus SGA Senator
  • Cynthia Pascal, Interim AVP of E-Learning and NOVA Online Director of Student Services
  • Daphne Carter-McCants, Student Life Coordinator, Manassas Campus
  • Rhonda Myers, AVP for Engagement and Retention 
  • Christine Kim, NOVA Online SGA President 
  • Mike McMillon, Student Life Coordinator, Loudoun Campus 
  • Trishvi Nguyen, SGAC Chairperson and SGA Vice President, Alexandria Campus 
  • Nigel Word, Director of Student Leadership and Engagement

NOVA greatly appreciates the community and all of it students, faculty and staff who make this a “day on, and not a day off.”. NOVA has participated in the MLK Day of Service for 13 years, partnering with nonprofit organizations and encouraging students and the community to volunteer. The college continues to organize annual MLK Day service projects that unite members of the community in service.


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