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MLK Day of Service: “What are you doing for others?”

Posted by in AmeriCorps | Comments Off on MLK Day of Service: “What are you doing for others?”
MLK Day of Service: “What are you doing for others?”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a profound impact on American society through his vision of breaking down racial barriers and by helping to create a more loving and equal community for all.  In the early 1980s, Congress passed legislation making Martin Luther King Day a federally recognized holiday and national service day to honor and uphold Dr. King’s legacy.  The Corporation for National and Community Service was tasked with overseeing this service day by helping to organize people from around the country to volunteer.  Every third Monday in January, citizens from all backgrounds celebrate the life of Dr. King and his message of love and nonviolence by coming together to help strengthen communities and tackle social problems side by side.  Each year millions of people show the power of service on MLK Day by helping to answer what he believed to be life’s most persistent question, “What are you doing for others?”

This Martin Luther King Day, our two AmeriCorps National members from Habitat for Humanity Riverside volunteered at different community projects.  Brendan helped fellow AmeriCorps members from University/Eastside Community Collaborative maintain their “Adopt-a-Street” at Quail Run Road in Riverside. Many members helped clean up the entire street, but a few volunteers, including Brendan, hiked down into a ravine behind the street to help remove hundreds of tires that were illegally dumped off the side of the road.  Many of the tires weighed up to fifty pounds and were filled with mud and trash caused by runoff from recent rainfall.  In addition to the mud and garbage, the tires also became a refuge for rodents and insects.  One tire pulled out of the muck carried a family of newly born mice and another had several centipedes crawl out.  As difficult and messy as the task was, Brendan and other hard working AmeriCorps members removed 116 tires, 41 trash bags of litter, 15 bulk items, 2 couches, and 1 shopping cart from Quail Run Road and the ravine behind it.  

LaRandi spent her service day with over 1500 employees, AmeriCorps, and community members from an array of corporations and communities such as, Target, Kaiser, Accenture, American Red Cross, and many others. They all came together at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles to revitalize the school and provide students with a better learning environment. The projects included painting murals, cleaning classrooms, landscaping, and collecting trash in and around the school. LaRandi worked on a landscaping project which included removing weeds, trimming bushes, raking, and laying mulch in the courtyard area. The work was strenuous but fulfilling. She had the opportunity to meet and work with teachers and alumni from the school who expressed their gratitude for the work being done and who truly believed that it would make a positive impact in the lives of the students. As Dr. King once wrote, “Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.”, with a newly restored campus, the students of Dorsey High School now have a better learning environment and are one step closer to achieving their life goals.

Although Martin Luther King Day comes once a year, your service is welcome every day. There are many organizations and initiatives that need your assistance year round. Here at Habitat for Humanity Riverside we provide an array of volunteer opportunities that you can participate in by yourself or with a group. Service opportunities are also still available year round through the Corporation for National and Community Service. Do your part to continue Dr. King’s legacy by getting out and serving your community.

Learn more about AmeriCorps and Habitat for Humanity: