Fifty four years ago Dr. Martin Luther King gave his most famous speech, which in my opinion is worth listening to and reading every year at this time. That speech can serve as a reminder of some of the progress we’ve made, and can also be sobering in a way that motivates us to rededicate ourselves to the continued pursuit of his core vision. You can find that speech here: https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf
Despite the continued vital importance of Dr. King’s teachings when it comes to civil rights and equality, it is easy to forget that this incredible man had other messages as well, other ways that he pushed us to look for solutions to the challenges we face as a society. Recently we’ve seen a focus on one of those other messages, summed up by an important but lesser known quote that “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” It is that quotation and related teachings that have inspired the move toward making Martin Luther King Day a “day of service”.
At times over the holidays many of us probably felt fortunate. Perhaps you looked around the table at a special dinner, or watched kids opening presents. Maybe it was something simple like spending a day off with friends or a partner. This is the reason why the Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service is so well timed. After the hustle and bustle of the holiday subsides we can slow down and reflect, and the timing of MLK Day presents the perfect opportunity to give back and serve.
For those of us in a helping profession there is the obvious question of what a “day of service” really means. We have all dedicated our professional lives to helping others or in some way supporting the work of helping others. So how could we best use a “day of service”? Perhaps the answer is that we can make it a point to tell people about the great work we do here. We need supporters and advocates in the community, or more specifically our kids here need supporters and advocates. Thus on MLK Day, or maybe the whole of next week make it a point to tell people about our work. Tell stories and give facts, and generally work to energize people to get involved with IHC as volunteers, advocates, donors, or ambassadors.