Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. thru Service

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered for his numerous life passions:  a devoted husband, father, preacher, civil rights leader, scholar, orator, community organizer, etc.  One thing that can be said by all is that he lived a life of service to his country and his fellow man.  I would dare say that his life's work was not about getting any vain glory for himself, but to see all men treated equally regardless of the color of his/her skin. 

My outlook on volunteerism and service changed the year that I became involved in President Barack Obama's 1st election campaign.  I realized that I was donating my time and resources to a greater purpose than just me.  I realized that I was being a part of the changes that I wanted to see in my country.  Instead of just talking and complaining about it, I was using what I had to participate in the process. Since then, I've become a part of my church's community outreach ministry as have volunteered through my company to teach children in low or underperfoming middle schools.  I was being a part of the change I wanted to see in my community.  Instead of pitying the beggars on the street corner, I worked at the NC Food Bank & prepared meals for the homeless.  Instead of having conversations about the state of our urban youth, I went into schools in those communities and taught them skills that could provide them positive options for their future.

I must say, I've always had the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr holiday off of work.  In the past, I've used it as a day of relaxation and an extension to my weekend to do housework, or shopping or other errands.  This year was different though.  My cousin & I volunteered at the local Salvation Army Family Store for 3 hours, sorting donated clothes.   The Salvation Army Family Store supports many outreach programs by turning reusable goods into much needed funding. Proceeds generated by Family Store sales are used to give tangible assistance and offer hope to Wake County residents.  On the surface, donating our time to the Family Store may not have seemed to be significant, but through our donated time & the revenue generated because of it, families in need in the county that I reside will continue to receive services from this organization.  I would say it's time well spent.

My challenge today to my readers is to give some serious thought to adding volunteerism to a part of your life.  To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr...."Everybody can be great...because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve.  You don't have to make subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love."

And finally to quote a book both he and I love, the Bible.  "For you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

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