Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on January 21 this year. The same day as the Presidential Inauguration. To commemorate the civil rights leader as well as the welcoming of another presidential term, A National Day of Service will be held on January 19th.
A similar event was held around the last inauguration in 2009, and is hosted by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Events are organized into seven themes: Community Resilience, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Faith, Health, and Veterans and Military Families. Even if you can’t volunteer on January 19, like the first family, you can still make a pledge to volunteer throughout 2013 through the National Day of Service website.
Me? I won’t be able to help out the weekend of the 19th, but will be looking for ways to serve anyway throughout the year.
I hereby pledge this year to get more involved in my neighborhood this year (side note: I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that all I know about my neighbors is what I’ve seen out my front window). I pledge to volunteer with my local shelter and with my church. I pledge to be a better person and to be more actively engaged in bettering the lives of others.
What can you do to volunteer on the National Day of Service and throughout 2013?
Finding Volunteer Opportunities:
- Visit the National Day of Service website to find or host a volunteer opportunity near you.
- Visit Serve.gov, a site launched by President Obama to find local service opportunities.
- Visit the website All For Good to find a service project near you. Some of the interesting local ones I’ve seen include a transitional housing cleanup, making cards for troops, park cleanups and assembling care kits. There is literally something for all ages, and for any amount of time you are able to volunteer that day.
- Check with your local food bank, school, women’s shelter, Salvation Army or community government to see if they will be hosting an activity that day.
- Become a fan on Facebook of your favorite local and National Parks. Many parks regularly post events and volunteer opportunities.
Facts About Volunteerism in America:
- In 2011, 64.3 million Americans volunteered through an organization; An increase of 1.5 million from 2010
- 26.8% of U.S. residents volunteer
- The monetary equivalent of volunteering equals $171 billion, or nearly 8 billion hours
- Utah, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota rank highest for volunteering; Utah’s rate is 40.9%, the highest in the country
(Source: Volunteering and Civic Life in America)
Looking For More Fun Things To Do This Month?
- Visit a Smithsonian Exhibit before it’s gone
- Take a nature walk at Theodore Roosevelt Island
- Check out a local story time
- Visit one of the lesser-known sites in the DC area