Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – A Day on, not a Day off: A Commitment to Community Service

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is undoubtedly one of the most influential people of the 21st century, if not of all time. Monroe County Community College will observe Dr. King’s birthday as a holiday for the first time this coming Monday. It is just the right thing to do to honor this great American. The evening that our Board voted in support of this holiday, we had more community members at our Board meeting than I have ever seen at any meeting – that is how important Dr. King’s legacy is to many members of the Monroe community.

As we observe Dr. King’s birthday as a holiday, I encourage all of us to observe it as a day of reflection and a day of service, i.e. “a day on, not a day off”.  Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” I encourage all of us to find a project in OUR community that weekend and during that week (it is not limited to that day or week) to impact others positively. There are so many individuals in our community who need our help and can benefit from our generosity of time, talent, and treasure. There are opportunities to mentor youth, volunteer at a food bank or hospital, visit the elderly, deliver food to the sick and shut-in, and volunteer at a church or any place of your choosing. Once you have done this, you may decide to commit to doing it on a regular basis. More specifically, here is a limited list of some local organizations that need your help:

God Works! – serves meals to community members throughout the week at various locations

Oaks of Righteousness – also serves food and has numerous volunteer opportunities

Arthur Lesow Community Center – opportunities to tutor and mentor youth

Bed Race to Aid Children, Inc.  – opportunities to deliver beds to needy families

Habitat for Humanity – opportunities to build homes and help organize at the ReStore

We at MCCC will celebrate Dr. King’s legacy throughout the entire week with a Diversity and Service Fair, a march, and various diversity presentations during the week.

There are many more opportunities and I encourage you to look in your local paper or search the internet for them. I end with one of my favorite quotes, from Marian Wright-Edelman: “Service to others is the rent we pay for living on this planet.” We all have something to contribute to our community – time, money, talent, love. So, please resolve to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate in 2017.

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