A few years ago (even though it has been going on for much longer) I became aware of the MLK National Day of Service. The idea is based on Dr. King’s statement: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” It is taking a day, one day a year, and giving back somehow to the community we live in.
Since the MLK Day holiday falls just a few short weeks after the Christmas holidays, I realized that we could do without another trip to the mall or movie theater on our day off. I quickly convinced Suzanne of this, as well as our kids (possibly with a little bribing, but convinced them nonetheless).
Our organizational and volunteer-minded brains kicked into gear, and we came up with a project. We would take our kids to Lake Allatoona and clean up trash. We use the lake all summer long, so we felt we could easily dedicate a day to cleaning it up. It was the least we could do.
So the four of us took as many garbage bags as we could find and picked up all the trash we could fit. We realized this was a huge undertaking, to clean up a very big lake, but we were proud of the work we had done. The kids enjoyed it enough to agree to do it the following year.
We have now done our little lake clean-up three years in a row, and the group has grown from the four of us to about 15 people — mainly kids. We are hoping to grow it even more this year. You don’t have to be part of a giant, organized event to make a difference. And the good feeling you get makes it worth the effort.
There are many websites dedicated to the MLK Day of Service, showing you where service projects are being held, as well as how to register your project if you are a group needing volunteers. Check them out here, and for local charities that might be in need, check out Cheers for Charities.
If you are participating in a service project this MLK Day, or are so inclined to create your own project, share it with us! We’d love to know how you are spending the day.