MLK Day…a day of service

3819 days ago.

As you know, today January 16, 2012 is the official Martin Luther King Holiday. The legislation for MLK Day was signed in 1983 and first observed in 1986 making this year the 26th anniversary of the Federal Holiday. Year after year this holiday was recognized as a day to improve social equality among all Americans. There were social movement marches, meetings, and luncheons nationwide. Congressman John Lewis and former Senator Harris Wofford came together to revamp and reenergize the true meaning of MLK Day. They recognized Martin Luther King stood for more than just social equality. Martin was loving, caring, inspiring, and motivating, he stood for commitment to service as well as justice. In 1994 this belief birthed the evolution of MLK Day…A National Day Of Service. The belief is that instead of having “a day off”…all Americans should have “a day on”. A day on… committed to service and serving your community or those in need.

So often we think about service and volunteering our time around the holidays, or after a tragic event. Many times our thought of service is limited to assisting in a soup kitchen, giving a clothing donation, or picking up trash. Although these are very worthy acts of kindness, a recent article has now challenged my thoughts of effective service. I was introduced to an organization called Catchafire. This organization was founded by a woman by the name of Rachael Chong. The Catchafire organization matches skilled and talented professionals with nonprofit organizations to assist them in the areas in which they are most financially challenged (management). These professionals take time out of their busy schedules to volunteer their time year round pro bono in the areas of management, marketing, human resources, communications and many other professional skills that may be needed. What a unique and revolutionary way to serve! Assisting in a soup kitchen is still very needed, but how beneficial would it be for someone who is skilled in Accounting to hand out food when they could give of thier talents behind the scenes to assist management with the finances of the kitchen to become more profitable by cutting wasteful spending and allowing the organization to feed more people.

So before you go to your local soup kitchen, orphanage, or humane society take a second look at the talents, and skills you possess. How could you use them to commemorate MLK’s Day Of Service in a unique and effective way? Happy Birthday Dr. King!

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Stacey is the happily married mother of three lovely little ladies and a handsome son. I enjoy debating politics, I like a diverse range of music and love to sing (even though my family has asked me not to)!

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