Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'”
With MLK Day just under two weeks away on January 17th, if you haven’t satisfactorily answered that question, there are still many fun and interesting opportunities to perform service acts on the holiday.
One of the first places you should look for ideas and volunteer oriented activities is the government’s website, MLK Day. They are sponsoring several different types of service experiences. If you are planning a project of your own, you can register it there so that others can join. You can also download action guides to help you coordinate your work. (They’ve even come up with a handy acronym, DREAM: Discover, Ready, Engage, Asses, Make It Last.) And if you’re not interested in creating your own initiative, the site also makes it quite simple to locate a project in your area – all you need to do is enter you ZIP code and you will get a list of local service opportunities. Ask and you shall receive!
We’ve previously written about the HandsOn Network’s Sunday Suppers, which are meant to motivate people from varied backgrounds to come together to share a meal and their concerns and ideas for their communities on Sunday January 16th. A service star studded dinner will be broadcast live on the Internet. (You can read more about this program here.) They also have tools for the dinner available on the site, such as conversation cards to help keep the dialogue flowing so it never gets so quiet that you can hear a fork drop. (Now if they only produced similar cards for awkward dates.)
But HandsOn, along with other organizations, is also sponsoring Community Cinema, which will bring a selection of inspirational films, such as The Calling, Garbage Dreams, and A Village Called Versailles, to over 30 locations in order to promote reflection, cross cultural dialogue and service. You can find the movie spots here.
If you are in New York for the holiday, check out the MLK Day of Service Volunteer at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. After some food — a fixture of any Jewish event — a day of communal action will commence. And if you are fortunate to live in the warm southeastern part of the country, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation is running a service program to help the homeless on MLK Day. Rabbi Andrew Shugerman will also be leading volunteers in Jewish learning. Click here to volunteer for the program. For more information on the Martin Luther King Day of Service, contact JVC Director Lori Drutz at Volunteer@JewishMiami.org or call 786.866.8414.