Make the World a Healthier, Happier One: Volunteer!


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  39 comments   :  12,540 Views

A happy and healthy life should be within reach for everyone. That's why today we're writing about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

We hear stories all the time from people who have lost weight, improved their health and found happiness. They want to know how they can help others and give back. Here's one way we all can. Learn more:

What is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service?
After a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The federal holiday was first observed in 1986, making 2011 the 25th anniversary of the King federal holiday.

In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a "day on, not a day off." . The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community."

Why Serve on MLK Day of Service?
Dr. King believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this country a better place to live—creating the Beloved Community.

On the 25th anniversary of the King Federal Holiday, we still have work to do to realize Dr. King’s dream. MLK Day of Service is the perfect time for Americans to answer Dr. King’s challenge to do something for others. Just as Dr. King set big goals and focused relentlessly on results, we need sustained citizen action to address today’s social challenges.

The MLK Day of Service is a way to transform Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and teachings into community action that helps solve social problems. That service may meet a tangible need, or it may meet a need of the spirit. On this day, Americans of every age and background celebrate Dr. King through service projects that strengthen communities, empower individuals, bridge barriers, and create solutions.

How can I serve on MLK Day?
People of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities can get involved. Just fill in your interest area and zip code in the Find a Project box to locate a volunteer opportunity in your community or plan your own project.

Do you volunteer? Will you? Did you have today off?

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  • 39
    I chose to volunteer on the Saturday of that long weekend (for Habitat for Humanity), then I rested on Monday instead. I have found that as I get a bit older, when I'm doing manual labor, my body needs a day of rest AFTER I do a day of labor. I think I embodied the spirit of the holiday, even if I switched days!!! :-) - 1/29/2011   4:48:56 PM
  • 38
    I hope that most of us will take the idea of one day of service and incoperate it into our lives. We can make our community, state, country, world by doing some type of service daily, weekly or monthly. There are so many things we can do to help others around our homes as well as reaching out to the world.

    Did you ever read to the children at your local hospital? What about reading to a long term patient in the hospital?

    I see some great ideas in what people have already written.

    Jane on Guam - 1/27/2011   5:47:33 AM
  • 37
    I volunteer year-round as a puppy raiser for mobility assist dogs for Summit Assistance Dogs.
    In a couple weeks I will get my 3rd puppy...of the other two 1 is in advanced training and the other is in service. - 1/23/2011   11:56:02 AM
  • 36
    I'm currently in the process of a different form of volunteering. I am in the academy to be a reserve deputy with my Sheriff's Office, where I'm employed as a clerk right now. When I am done with the academy, I will be a sworn peace officer and do all of the things a normal deputy does--I just do it on my own time. My husband thinks I'm crazy, but it's something I really want to do, and it's my way of giving back to my community. - 1/19/2011   7:09:06 PM
  • 35
    I used to volunteer as a reader on a Talking newspaper for the Blind. I have an interview this week for a volunteering job as a steward in a big theatre. I'll get to see the shows as well which is a big bonus for me. - 1/19/2011   12:21:44 PM
  • 34
    I volunteer regularly at the Science Museum. Yes, I had the day off. I was at the museum on MLK day. It was a free admission day and I did what I could to help make science fun for all the folks there. - 1/18/2011   11:15:01 PM
  • 33
    I have done voluteer work with a group in Sacramento called Loaves and Fished\s, advocates for the homeless, I have done this for 2 years now, and I have been on Sp for 2 years now both are a wonderful part of my life and help me focus on the positive in my life. Yes volunteering is a great way to get out, get active and help others. - 1/18/2011   8:46:08 PM
  • 32
    I volunteer with the local food bank during the holidays. - 1/18/2011   5:22:25 PM
    Didn't have the day off but support the ideals. Thanks to everyone who gives of themselves to make their communities and the world a better place. - 1/18/2011   4:18:19 PM
  • 30
    I volunteer with great organization.
    Fishing Has No Boundaries.
    This is an organization that helps get disabled people out on the water to fish. I have been with this group for over 25 years - 1/18/2011   3:30:03 PM
  • 29
    I always have Mondays off so it didn't really affect me. I volunteer every Sunday morning at my church and I do enjoy that. My husband didn't have a day off though, so that's a bummer! - 1/18/2011   3:07:57 PM
    SAD TO SAY NO . - 1/18/2011   3:00:06 PM
    i volunteer in my state's food bank distribution center. - 1/18/2011   2:22:05 PM
    4 x a year at least Red Cross, Heart walk , Making Strides against breast cancer. - 1/18/2011   1:42:07 PM
  • 25
    I volunteer at the "Food Bank" and do a bit at the church. - 1/18/2011   12:18:32 PM
  • 24
    Actually, I enjoy volunteering part of my time helping out my fellow Spark members. I have done some one day volunteer projects here and there. I've love to volunteer more often, so I've been checking out different volunteer projects in my area.

    - 1/18/2011   10:09:47 AM
  • 23
    Sadly, my schedule change doesn't allow for weekly volunteering at the local animal shelter anymore. I still volunteer at the local zoo and for annual events that support causes that are near and dear to me.
    But Monday was a work day for me... - 1/18/2011   9:41:47 AM
    I volunteer at my church...

    I did not have off for MLK day - I had an in-service day in the school district where I work. However, my training included earning my CPR certification for child and adult - so the day was not a waste - I was able to learn a skill that (hopefully I will never have to use) could be used to help someone in need. - 1/18/2011   9:41:41 AM
  • 21
    I volunteer for the local Animal Food Bank, which helps people feed (and keep) their pets rather than surrender them, and for my local timebank. My timebank allows me to help people who might not normally be comfortable to ask for help. I am fairly self sufficient, so I rarely redeem the hours I earn, and sometimes I have given them to someone who needs them. - 1/18/2011   8:59:01 AM
    Yes, I volunteer at a local homeless day shelter,It's really rewarding. - 1/18/2011   7:49:28 AM
  • 19
    Yes, I volunteer at the childrens center and I had a day off from my regular job. - 1/18/2011   2:26:43 AM
    I volunteer at my church and through another non-profit on a consistent basis. My co-workers and I also participate in service projects regularly instead of routine team builders. It took me a while but I have come to realize it truly is better to give than receive. THANKS FOR THIS POST!!! - 1/17/2011   11:31:54 PM
  • 17
    I try to teach children and others who MLK was and why we honor him. - 1/17/2011   11:08:11 PM
  • 16
    I do volunteer at PPH here in S.CA. When my kids were in elementary school I was Classroom mother a couple of time and also on the volunteer school board. - 1/17/2011   10:44:59 PM
  • 15
    I live in Canada so , no today was a work day for me. I think you guys get more holidays than we do. - 1/17/2011   10:42:24 PM
  • 14
    I volunteer regularly at a re-homing animal shelter. I couldn't imagine not having service work in my life! - 1/17/2011   9:27:32 PM
  • 13
    i volunteered at the boys and girls club in Atlantic City, NJ today. I was in bad this morning and it def did brighten my day!! the kids were great. a little boy told me he was smarter than most 3rd graders bc he could spell "clavicle." haha :) - 1/17/2011   9:17:00 PM
  • 12
    I do science outreach for kids, and I used to do kitty adoptions with an awesome cat rescue organization. I didn't have today off, though! :( - 1/17/2011   9:14:01 PM
  • 11
    I volunteer with the Humane Society, Film Festival and at a local venue downtown. I also do a lot of community service through the Young Professionals group through the Chamber. Not only am I giving back but I am meeting wonderful people and making new friends! - 1/17/2011   9:01:55 PM
  • CJAMES2552
    I volunteer for come communities projects but not on a regular basis. I would like to do more and it is a goal for this year to volunteer at the Women's shelter in our town. - 1/17/2011   9:00:04 PM
  • 9
    I volunteer for a nonprofit health clinic that provide healthcare to low income people in the community. I also volunteer at other activities such as community health fair, womens health fair. It varies year to year but I have served on the board for over 30 years of the health clinic. I think you get back a lot more than you give. - 1/17/2011   8:46:19 PM
  • 8
    No. - 1/17/2011   8:31:16 PM
  • 7
    I volunteer with the Placer SPCA. - 1/17/2011   8:31:12 PM
  • 6
    I volunteer for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life as PR Chair, Online Chair, Event Tri-Chair, and a Team Captain. I also volunteer for the Girl Scouts as a Troop Leader. I love every minute of my busy life. - 1/17/2011   8:00:17 PM
  • 5
    Right now I'm volunteering two days a week at our local Historical Museum. It gets me out of the house, off the computer, and because I've worked there before, they know they can rely on me to do all sorts of busy-work projects, which frees the staff up to do the more important stuff. - 1/17/2011   7:39:38 PM
  • 4
    I do volunteer work within my community quilt club and also make quilts for kids who are battling cancer. - 1/17/2011   7:31:52 PM
  • 3
    Yes, I volunteer by raising and training a puppy for the organization-- Guiding Eyes for the Blind. - 1/17/2011   5:20:28 PM
    Yes, I volunteer at the senior center and when ever anybody asks me to do a favor... - 1/17/2011   5:03:39 PM
  • 1
    I do volunteer at my church with a friend. We conduct the children's mass about once a month. We used to do the coffee hours at the church but they reeked havoc on our backs so we had to stop.
    I also care for an elderly lady and help people around my neighborhood when needed.
    I love it! - 1/17/2011   4:14:42 PM

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