|Doing Good Together Newsletter|
Many folks want to declare the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday a “Day of Service” – a day ON rather than a day OFF. Dr. King encouraged all of us to reach out to help alleviate poverty, build community and fight injustice. On January 16, the 20th anniversary of the holiday, honor his legacy by taking part in a family volunteer project in your community.
Jenny Friedman, Executive Director
Make a Difference... Dr. King was a tireless advocate for human rights. Your family can be, too. Write a letter to free prisoners of conscience and defend lives. The monthly AIKids' Urgent Actions, from Amnesty International, are actions children and parents can take while learning about letter-writing as an empowering tool. Each listing provides information about young people who are experiencing human rights violations. It is written in language children can understand, and all graphic details of ill- treatment are edited out--although an adult version of the same action is included in each mailing. Children can help young victims from every corner of the world by writing to in-country government officials and urging their intervention. More information is available on the AIKids website.
Photo courtesy of Amnesty International
Talk About It ... Tell your children about Dr. King and his advocacy for non-violent social change, tolerance and equality.
"Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's "Theory of Relativity" to serve. You don't have to know the Second Theory of Thermal Dynamics in Physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love, and you can be that servant." – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo courtesy of The King Center
If you and your children would like to hear Dr. King speak these words, go to:
Ben (10) and David (7) White have seen a mountain of toys. But their excitement didn’t come from receiving or playing with those toys. Their excitement came from helping send those toys to other kids. Their father, Jeremy White, a den leader for Pack 223 in St. Paul, Minnesota, has organized a scout service activity for the pack at Toys for Tots the past three years. This past December, some 20- 25 families with scouts and siblings helped make a dent in the mountain by sorting toys into bins organized by gender and age group. Some of the older children also worked with a few parents to pack and tape boxes.
Jeremy says that the service events tend to be the most popular among the scouts. And during a time of year when parents worry about commercialism and toy greed, he says, “It tickles me that my kids favorite cub scout event involves helping other kids. I can't help thinking that will be good for their souls." In the case of Toys for Tots, it is probably easy for the kids to identify with a mountain of toys that is many times over their heads. The event was scheduled for 6:30-8:30pm on a Wednesday when no other groups were scheduled. Families were free to be a little late if dinner conflicted and could also leave a little early for bedtimes. Jeremy says that it seems to work best to ask Toys for Tots when volunteers were needed rather than try to work around every family’s schedule. And that also “puts Toys for Tots needs first.” Photo: Jeremy, Randi, Ben and David
If you’re looking for a resource that provides hundreds of volunteer opportunities for families, try The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering, written by our executive director, Jenny Friedman. One reader said, “This book should be in every church and school library, and would be a great gift for young (and not- so-young) families.” For more information on the book, and to order, visit our website.