While most kids are accustomed to celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a welcome day off from school, this year we encourage you to take an active approach to commemorating Dr. King's legacy by participating in the National Day of Service. While the president has officially designated Saturday, Jan. 19 for the occasion, you can really take advantage of any (or all) days of the long weekend to get your family involved. Here are five ways that you and your kids can make a meaningful impact for those in need:
- Find a Project in Your Community: The Corporation For National and Community Service has come up with an extensive, easy-to-use database of volunteer opportunities across the country. Visit its site, type in your zip code, and choose from any number of projects that matter to you and your family.
- Clean Out Those Rooms: Even if it's too last-minute to find a community volunteer activity, that doesn't mean your kids can't still partake in giving back. Task them with cleaning out their closets and toys, and then take all the goods that they've decided to get rid of to a nearby Goodwill, your place of worship, or any other facility in your community that accepts gently used goods.
- Start Your Own Project: Use one of the Corporation For National and Community Service's Service Toolkits to organize a clothing or book drive, support a community garden, or develop a concept of your very own. This approach has the added bonus of teaching kids about leadership and organization.
- Hurricane Sandy Is Still Leaving Her Mark: It's hard to believe that three months later, many on the East Coast are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy. If you live in the NY/NJ area, then see what volunteer opportunities exist to help still-suffering hurricane victims.
- Kids Helping Kids: Teach your kids firsthand about the amazing work that the Ronald McDonald House does for the families of sick children by checking out the organization's "30 Ways in 30 Days" suggestions on how volunteers of all ages can help.