Volunteering popular pastime among teens, great way to honor King

Volunteering popular pastime among teens, great way to honor King

By Cathy Miner
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once noted that “everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” Volunteering is one of the hottest things to do these days, and it helps improve a teen’s character and community.

Since 1986, every third Monday in January is designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day – a federal holiday that celebrates Dr. King’s life and work. In 1994, Congress named MLK Day as a national day of service, and since then Americans have often celebrated the day by volunteering. Many teens believe in the importance of service. Many schools across the nation even require teens to earn service hours every year, and colleges want to know the extent of their volunteerism as a prerequisite for acceptance.

This year, many institutions and organizations in numerous states will be celebrating MLK Day with a variety of activities ranging from breakfasts with keynote speakers to marches and parades. Also this year, United We Serve, an agency that leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service initiative, is encouraging organizations to honor MLK Day by volunteering for projects.

Starting a service project is simple. Here are a few examples:
At home, volunteer to babysit younger siblings; wash the outside windows of the house or wash laundry; or volunteer to go grocery shopping for an elderly neighbor.
At church, volunteer to lead children’s church or teach Scriptures; be a lector or altar server; or organize the church library.
In your neighborhood, pick up paper; collect used eyeglasses and donate them to the Lion’s Club; clean up local cemeteries; or serve in a soup kitchen.

According to the Huffington Post, Dr. King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, once said that “the greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the day by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others.” Check the library or local organizations to find a service project, and participate.