Mando Rayo, at Hands On Central Texas, sent word about the MLK Day of Service, “King for a Day,” coming up on January 19, 2008. That’s a Saturday, so there’s no excuse not to participate.
MLK Day of Service is an annual event during which nonprofits and community groups offer projects for volunteer groups and individuals to tackle in one day. Less than one day, actually (It’s 9 am to 3 pm). That means everyone walks away with an immediate sense of accomplishment. It’s a great quick-hit good cause.
As important and valuable as it is to get some work done, it’s just as important that everyone is gathered under the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. The project aims to re-inspire and continue his legacy by offering projects that fulfill specific “legacy areas.” So you knock out some work, bond with new people, and get yet another nudge to keep you on that healthy, sharing, one-world path of life.
Mando told me a little more about it in an email, see quotes below. Right now they’re looking for projects and the slots fill up fast (nudge-nudge out there!). To submit your project or learn more, contact René Carlin at email@example.com or 512-225-0388.
Q. What’s the basic idea behind United Way’s MLK Day of Service?
A. It’s part of the national event through the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Hands On Network. The basic idea is to bring people together to live Dr. King’s philosphy on service (A quote: “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”) I love that quote!
So this is when we bring people from all walks of life together in service – from youth to college kids to the faith community to older folks to corporate folks. It’s about diversity and coming together to help our community.
Q. At this point you are looking for projects from nonprofits. What kinds of projects, for example? What kind of work might they ask volunteers to do?
A. Yes, we’re looking for projects from civic and neighborhood groups like the Rotary, service fraternities, and neighborhood asociations. We ask them to provide service projects for anyone in the community and meet at least one “legacy area” or area of focus:
Diversity, Human Justice, Discrimination & Nonviolence
Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness
They must also supply at least water and snacks.
Types of projects include … park and neighborhood clean-ups, sorting food at the food bank, binding books for Africa, art projects like murals or peace benches (we’re doing this one in-house), landscaping, school beautifications, etc.
Q. When a group submits a project, what kind of information do they need to have ready?
A. Project details like name of the project, description of duties and requirements for volunteers, how long the project will last, number of volunteers needed, if they will provide food for volunteers, etc.
Q. At the end of the day, what do you think each nonprofit gets out of it? Not just a project completed but… maybe more people learn about its mission? More future volunteers for other projects?
A. Exactly. We want to introduce volunteers to the different nonprofits in town and really give them a chance to connect with the volunteers (for future projects, donors, etc.) and this is an opportunity for them to hook them in. What we want for the volunteers is not to just volunteer for volunteering’s sake. It’s about learning about the issues, living MLK’s dream, connecting to nonprofits and their missions and creating a better community.