Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of our nation’s most inspiring civil rights leaders. At age 19 he began his work in ministry and at 24 years old he moved to Montgomery, Alabama where he held a major role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Martin Luther King Jr. was known to preach about love, justice, and peace. His words and ideals motivated individuals around the world to take action in creating a better society.
January 21, 2013 is Martin Luther King, JR. National Day of Service, but will you be taking part in the activities happening around your campus?
Yes, campus is closed and you don’t need to wake up early and rush to class this day, but that doesn’t mean exciting events aren’t planned for students or community members. If you aren’t interested in just being a participant you can also create your own service activity, invite friends, and create an impact.
In order to get you started on service ideas we’ve put together 10 ways to serve on MLK Day:
Teens for Jeans. Not a teen – not a big deal. This is a nationwide campaign hosted by Aeropostale and DoSomething.org benefiting underprivileged teenagers. The most requested item by these teens is a pair of blue jeans. Now, we know you have an old pair of jeans sitting in the back your closet that you haven’t gotten rid of because you are determined to fit back into them one day. Take your jeans and the jeans you’ve collected from your friends, family, and neighbors, sign up on the website, and then take your jeans to the nearest Aeropostale. This project has another benefit – for every pair of jeans donated you will receive 25% off a new pair of jeans from their store.
Host half day ‘mini camps’ like the students at Clark College. These students are hosting small camps at their local YMCA in music, art, and sports. Through this type of project you will help motive young kids and show them they can succeed.
Host a park clean-up. Picking up trash may not seem very glamorous, but the effect that it has on the local environment is huge! The park will look beautiful and therefore be more enjoyable for you and your community, but you will also ensure that the animals who call it home aren’t eating rotten leftovers, paper products, or even plastics.
Serve others. Literally. You can sign up to volunteer at a local food pantry, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter with ease by going online and finding the location closest to you. One major benefit to this type of project is that the more volunteers a shelter or pantry receives the more time they can put towards obtaining donations and grants for continued service. While you are there, stop and talk to the people who come in to eat. They will appreciate your interest in them more than you can imagine.
Host a food drive. If cooking and serving food isn’t really your thing you can still help local food pantries and shelters. Collect non-perishable food items from people you know or host a drive in your area. Most supermarkets even have a list of approved people who are permitted to take the left-over baked goods and produce from that day which would otherwise be thrown away. In most cases all it takes to become approved is a trip to the customer service desk to ask to be added to the list – no fancy paperwork needed.
Get crafty. Its winter and blankets are one of the most needed items in shelters across the nation. With a group of friends and $10 each you can head to the local craft store and make a blanket. Take these blankets down to the nearest shelter. Here’s a tutorial with photos from Mamas Like Me so you can make blankets at home.
Play with kids. Often local day-care centers and nurseries need a few extra hands. You can usually volunteer at one of these centers to clean toys, organize rooms, and even make small improvements. One thing to remember is that since this involves children you may need to provide a background check or other personal information.
If you want to find projects already planned in your area or want more information about MLK Day of Service 2013 please visit http://mlkday.gov/