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Somewhere along the way we must learn that

there is nothing greater than to do something

for others. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Horacio Hernandez knows these words. He may or may not have them memorized or know that they are a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote, but he knows them because he has thought the very same thing himself and he has given his time and his life’s ambition over to this very premise that there is nothing greater than doing something for others.

Horacio, a senior of Guatemalan decent at The College of New Jersey, is studying sociology and public health. He wants to take a gap year from school after earning his bachelor’s degree to get some life experience and figure out what direction he should go in when he applies for his master’s degree.  He is leaning toward a career in public health working with a non-profit agency.  This honor student wants to put his education to work in the service of others.  He is already doing much to serve through his volunteer efforts.  He is a Bonner Community Scholar who fosters and encourages first year students through engaged learning beyond the classroom.  He also has personally taken on a 300 hour per year volunteer commitment, 1200 hours over 4 years, in his own community, primarily   the Trenton/Ewing area.  Recently while delivering The Wall, a newspaper dedicatedto raising awareness and breaking stereotypes for individuals experiencing homelessness in Mercer County, New Jersey,” Horacio noticed a volunteer opportunity at the Rise Thrift Store on Martin Luther King Day and signed right up. He enjoyed his time helping to make the store aesthetically pleasing to shoppers by giving his area of assignment a “homey feel.” He communicated his enthusiasm for the project with his warm smile, sense of humor and welcoming demeanor. Horacio says that “whatever one does, even just one small thing, makes a big impact.” He’s proud to repeatedly volunteer with Rise, because “it is a solid organization demonstrating self-sustainability. Donations have a life beyond what you think. They live on and continue the cycle. It’s an awesome ideology.”

“Even if I couldn’t walk, I’d find a way to serve.  Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in empowering individuals to rise up as one in service to each other.  He was inspiring.  Volunteerism and service are my passion too.”


“Everybody can be great…

because anybody can serve.

You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.

You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve.

You only need a heart full of grace.

A soul generated by love.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Joyce Reyhan