“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. day is a perfect opportunity to get out and serve with your family. Make it a day on, not a day off!
Get out there and plan a family service project; work together, serve together and help your family learn that even youngest members can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
There are many easy (and fun) ways to volunteer as a family — from simple neighborly actions to more elaborate service projects partnering with community organizations.
Here are a few ideas:
Share Your Time
Time spent with your family helping others is time well spent and the lessons your kids learn and the hard working memories will last even longer.
1. Organize a park clean-up, bring garbage sacks and a good attitude, and end with hot chocolate!
2. Volunteer with your family at a food bank (gather cans and cash from friends before you go)!
3. Host a ‘Recycle and Give Back’ event – ask everyone you know to bring their cans for recycling and in states where you can cash in the cans, donate the money to a homeless shelter. (Try taking out an ad in the local paper or on CraigsList.org requesting cans for a good cause. Be prepared, you’re likely to get A LOT of cans)!
Connect With Local Groups
Connect with local service organizations or your child’s after school groups (e.g. Scouts, Sunday school, or soccer team).
Ask what that group is planning for MLK day, and then offer to help. If they don’t have plans already, offer to organize!
Surprise Your Loved Ones
Surprise your family and neighbors — serve ‘em for a day!
1. Surprise parents or elderly neighbors with a picnic basket lunch.
2. Offer to babysit for a mom with young kids so she can run to the store uninterrupted or take a well-deserved break. While she’s out, take cute pictures of the kids and present them to her later (Valentine’s Day, perhaps) in a homemade frame.
3. Shovel snow, rake leaves or wash cars for elderly and busy neighbors.
Serve the Larger Community
Think big, then think bigger!
Find out about your community’s needs and brainstorm ways to help out for one day or as a longer-term family project.
1. Contact your local United Way and ask what the community most needs right now.
2. Ask local church leaders if there is a family you can help via their network.
3. Speak with community leaders, Chamber of Commerce and school leaders to see if they have specific immediate wishes or know families in need.
Tip: When you’re helping organize a group of volunteers or collecting donations of food and supplies, use VolunteerSpot.com’s free online sign up sheets to help get more people involved with less stress.
It’s easy for organizers to setup and even easier for volunteers to sign up – even from their mobile phones!
January is the perfect time to resolve to do good, and MLK Day is the perfect opportunity to get started!