It’s January, a time of resolutions, fresh starts, better ways of being – and optimism for what lies ahead. In the U.S., the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a federal holiday, which means a three-day weekend for many. Will you celebrate a day off or a “day on”? Why not make the holiday a great day on, through service?
“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.” Dr. King inspired people around the world with calls to action like this. His words and deeds live on and inspire us today. Martin Luther King (MLK) Day not only celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy, but it’s also the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. The idea is to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities, living into the example he set.
It’s not too late to get involved. Your local United Way is likely organizing volunteer opportunities this weekend and can help you honor Dr. King’s legacy all year through service.
United Ways inspire service in a variety of ways. On January 20th, for example, United Way of Greater Atlanta is mobilizing volunteers to volunteer at senior centers and Boys and Girls clubs, deliver meals through Open Hand Atlanta, build homes with Habitat for Humanity, and clean up and plant community gardens.
United Way of Wapello County in Ottumwa, Iowa is partnering with the local YMCA to provide a “Youth Volunteering 101” workshop for kids ages 5-15. The workshop will cover how to be a good volunteer, what to expect at a volunteer site, common age requirements and more. Participants will pledge to help make the community stronger and will get a workshop certificate, which they can share with organizations where they’d like to serve as proof that they know what it takes to be a good volunteer.
Serving others makes each of us great, one day at a time. Whether you plan on grabbing a paintbrush for a school, mentoring a young person, or helping to clean up a public space in the next few days, know that what you do makes a world of difference. Thanks for making the holiday a day on and for pledging to serve again soon!