Monday, January 15, will be the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s 90th birthday.
In his honor, volunteers across the community will roll up their sleeves to be of service by actively transforming Dr. King’s teachings of love and unity into actions that help others. Making this a “Day On” and not simply a day off for a holiday educates people and begins to bridge barriers, strengthen connections, empower individuals and possibly even create solutions.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vital figure of the modern era and a pivotal figure in America’s Civil Rights Movement. His lectures and presentations stirred caring and sparked the conscience of generations. His charismatic leadership inspired men and women of all ages, races, and backgrounds, both in America and throughout the world.
In 1948, at the young age of 19, Dr. King entered the Christian ministry. He was ordained at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. After completing graduate studies at Boston University in 1954, he began serving at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. During his time in Alabama, he was a leader in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, made famous by the nonviolent resistance and arrest of Rosa Parks. In 1959, he moved back to Atlanta to direct the activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
To memorialize Dr. King, legislation was signed in 1983 marking his birthday as a federal holiday. In 1994, Congress went further and designated this federal holiday as a national day of service to be led by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of volunteers come together for a “Day on!”
Here are some of the volunteer events taking place right here in our community:
- Center for Technology & Innovation (TechWorks!)
Volunteers will be assisting with various projects around the center.
- Discovery Center
Volunteers will be leading games, crafts and other special activities at various stations for the visitors celebrating MLK Day.
- Family Planning of South Central
Volunteers will be stuffing new patient packets with health and wellness information.
- Good Shepard Village, Johnson City Senior Center, Senior Center of Western Broome
Volunteers will be assisting and teaching individuals today’s most common technologies in area senior centers.
- Tri-Cities Opera
Volunteers will be working with a professional costume designer for inventory.
Got MLK Day – January 21st – off? Make it a day on instead.
There are a variety of ways that you can get involved in the annual MLK Day of Service. Here are some ideas:
- Join a project already planned in your neighborhood;
- Develop a unique project with family, friends, co-workers or neighbors;
- If you work for an organization that engages volunteers you can make MLK Day the day you train or recognize volunteers who will be mobilized throughout 2019;
- Donate pet food to a local animal shelter;
- Visit an aging relative, friend or neighbor;
- Purchase school supplies for your child’s classroom;
- Give “gently used” clothing or household items to Thrifty Shopper, the Salvation Army or Goodwill;
- Give non-perishable food to local food pantries, soup kitchens or the Food Bank of the Southern Tier;
- Contact local non-profit groups to see how you and others can help;
- Contact the 2-1-1 Susquehanna River Region for ideas on what items you can donate and where you can donate them;
- Read more about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and reflect on how his teachings impact your life;
- Do something to create a positive change in your own life! I quit smoking on MLK Day in 2006. I knew I could do it because of what impact Martin Luther King, Jr. had on my own life. Each year, I remember and re-commit myself to the ideals of service, caring, justice and love for humanity.
Share your story! Let us know what you will be doing this MLK Day and inspire our community. Be the Change.
Volunteer & Giving Initiatives Manager