United We Serve
This Sunday, Jan 24, ABC will air an extended two-hour episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, about an extraordinary story of hope from the west side of Buffalo. In November 2009, the show came to one of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in our nation’s third poorest city to build a green home for the family of Delores Powell. What happened next has never happened in the history of the show. More than 6,300 volunteers turned out to help, building not only a home for one deserving family but transforming an entire community through service. The volunteers worked on projects for 164 families– replacing roofs, rebuilding steps, painting, hanging siding, landscaping and other needed projects for neighborhood.
Like Martin Luther King, Jr., I was born and raised in Atlanta. I am fortunate, however, that because of Dr. King’s tireless contributions to the betterment of humanity, he and I knew and loved two very different Atlantas. But long before there was a federal holiday or the national day of service or even before Stevie Wonder’s harmonious “Happy Birthday” homage to the fallen drum major for justice, Atlanta honored her favorite native son.
This morning over 200 volunteers arrived at the Sunlight Foundation in Washington, DC to code for the crisis in Haiti. Convened by CrisisCamp DC, volunteers are collaborating on technology projects that aim to assist in Haiti's relief efforts by providing data, information, maps and technical assistance to NGOs, relief agencies and the public.
We want to share with you an idea of what is happening across the country today - this is just a glimpse at the 10,000+ service projects found in serve.gov/MLKDay.
This morning the President, First Lady and their family visited So Others Might Eat, an organization dedicated to helping people get off the streets – the first family served food to homeless and hungry men, women and children. “Dr. King dedicated his life to advancing social justice and equal opportunity for all,” President Obama said. “But more than forty years after his death, there is still much work left to be done. Through service, we honor his legacy by helping our neighbors, strengthening our communities and meeting the challenges we face together. I encourage all Americans to not only continue Dr. King’s work through service today, but to make service a part of your lives every day.”
And the stories of service have started coming in…we thought we would share some pictures from Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs Eric Shinseki. Sec. Shinseki helped prepare food for distribution to area soup kitchens at DC Central Kitchen. Thanks to Sec. Shinseki for sharing his pictures. Now it’s your turn – share your stories and pictures from today by visiting our MLK Share site.
I spent my MLK Day volunteering at Bruce Monroe Elementary School with Greater DC Cares. Armed with only barebones project details, I wasn’t quite sure how I would be serving. I did know that we would beautify the school. I was also fairly sure that paint brushes would be prominently involved. I was excited for the day.
Yesterday, the President and the First Lady dedicated their morning to serving the community here in DC.
January is National Mentoring Month – we officially take time to shine a spotlight on the importance of mentors and the need for every child to have a caring adult in their life. Today the President and First lady will announce a new mentoring initiative and you can watch live at whitehouse.gov/live (4:05 EST). To learn more and how to get involved, visit serve.gov/mentor.
During my relatively brief tenure in Washington, I have had the privilege of working with technology professionals who share a sense of purpose that often extends beyond corporate walls and into their local communities. This year, the Administration wants to tap into that spirit of generosity by collaborating with the Corporation for National and Community Service during the MLK Day of Service to launch the MLK Technology Challenge (on Twitter: #MLKTech). Our goal is to connect technologically thirsty schools and non-profits with IT and web professionals, developers, graphic designers, and new-media professionals who are willing to volunteer their skills for the common good.
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Site Last Updated: November 10, 2014