What lesson can you teach this Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

Thousands march from The University of Texas to Huston-Tillotson University during the Annual Community March Celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. Many gather for the MLK community Festival where there was live music, food, and venders at Huston-Tillotson University. (RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN- STATESMAN)

Thousands march from The University of Texas to Huston-Tillotson University during the Annual Community March Celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday in, 2015. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN- STATESMAN

Yes, the kids are off school, but Martin Luther King Jr. Day is one of those teachable moments.

Lisa Tomasi, president and CEO of YouGiveGoods, a nonprofit organization that helps people organize charity drives offers these tips to celebrate the day:

1) Organize your workplace, school or community group. Maximize your impact by organizing a group to serve the community with an activity done at your own location in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Choose a local charity and determine the best way for your group to show support. Ideas include packing snack bags for after school programs, collecting coats and hats for a homeless shelter, planting trees, creating a mentoring program, or writing letters of support to our military abroad.

2) Teach your children. The kids are home from school. Remember, as a Day of Service MLK day is supposed to be “a day on, not a day off.” Plan an activity of service and involve your children. Show by your example that volunteerism is important to your family and help to cultivate a new generation of compassionate, community- minded citizens.

Volunteer Truman King, 15, stocks shelves June 3 in the Round Rock Area Serving Center's food pantry.   Photo by Nicole Barrios

Volunteer Truman King, 15, stocks shelves June 3 in the Round Rock Area Serving Center’s food pantry. Photo by Nicole Barrios

3) Raise needed goods. Support a local charity with a drive for the goods they need to serve the community. An online YouGiveGoods drive is the new way to raise food and supplies for charity. You can set up your drive in a matter of minutes and have it underway in time for MLK Day this year. Then invite your online community via email and social media to support your cause by purchasing items that will ship to your selected charity. A YouGiveGoods drive builds up your community as it offers tangible aid to local charity and it provides a welcome opportunity for your friends and family to be part of this year’s MLK Day.

4) Spread the message. Use social media (use hashtag #MLKDay) to share MLK’s ideals and inspiring words. You will find his words to be stunningly timely and relevant in today’s world. Forward this page, talk about what you will do in honor of MLK Day, and encourage your circle of friends to take action to support the community.

5) Commit to service in 2017. Use Martin Luther King’s example to plan a 2017 where you take action. If you are unable to volunteer today, simply spend some time researching, choose your charity, make that phone call and find out how you can best serve them in the future. Charities need help all year long.


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