13 Jan Get your Children Involved in Volunteering During Martin Luther King Day of Service or Any Time of Year
Are you a parent who is still a bit frazzled from having your children home from school over the extended holiday? Why not approach this coming weekend holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a bit differently. Why not get you and your children involved in a volunteer project via the national MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 19, 2015.
What is Martin Luther King Day of Service all About?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Day, originally a celebration of the birthday (January 15th) of the fallen civil rights leader, has been a U.S. Federal holiday since 1983 and is celebrated on the third Monday of January. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” The national Martin Luther King Day of Service was signed into law in 1994 and since then, each year several hundred thousand individuals receive help on MLK Day of Service, from thousands of other individuals participating in projects across the U.S. Some of these service projects are large, others are created by individuals like you and me and all can be registered on the National Service website listed below.* From toy drives, to clothing drives for needy children, and gathering canned goods for the local food bank, to planting trees or cleaning up trash in a local park, or even working at a soup kitchen, everyone can do their part.
But Why Should I get my Kids Involved?
Volunteering, or helping others, actually helps you and your child.
- -It can build a sense of confidence
- -Engender a sense of contributing to something greater than one’s self
- -It can show children how the completion of smaller tasks leads to a larger overall task.
- -It can show the power of what a group of individuals can do together
- -If your child latches onto an idea and becomes the driving force behind an MLK day of service project it can bring out leadership skills.
Here is a link to an article about why helping others, including volunteering, makes us feel happy. On an even lighter note, it can also be a creative way to keep your children focused and active on what might otherwise turn into another day of “I wanna sleep late and there’s nothing good on TV today.”
How Do We Get involved?
The government’s National Service website has a specific page with information on how to find or create a project:
- Click here for info on the MLK Day of Service: http://www.nationalservice.gov/special-initiatives/days-service/martin-luther-king-jr-day-service-0.
- You can also check out their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/mlkday.
- One easy way to find an existing project near you is to check Volunteer Match – they have a whole page of MLK Day projects. http://www.volunteermatch.org/seasonsofservice/mlkday/
- Here are some other places to find ways to volunteer: AmeriCorps, Citizen Corps, Volunteer.gov
- Guide to Disaster Preparedness: https://www.staysafe.org/how-to-prepare-yourself-and-your-community-for-natural-disasters/
Recently at a local church 70 people got together with an organization called Stop Hunger Now and filled, packaged and boxed 13,000 meals, a just add water, nutritious soup…in just two hours. This is an example of an event that you may be able to get your kids involved in doing. Imagine all the people who could be helped if everyone got involved more often. A new initiative is to pledge to serve our fellow citizens throughout the year, not just on one day – click here to explore the Pledge to Serve program