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Motivated to Volunteer

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Although I didn't have a chance to volunteer on MLK Day this year (I spent the day traveling up and down the Columbia River Gorge right outside of Portland instead), the idea that it is intended to be a day of service is never far from my mind. And apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks that way. This AP article details how many people across the country spent Martin Luther King Day giving back to their communities.

Partly spurred by encouragement from (now) President Obama, some events, such as the Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service, experienced record high turnouts of volunteers. Others volunteered at homeless shelters or spent a few hours picking up trash.

It's easy to spend the extra day sleeping in and catching up on things you'd like to do—like I did, but inspiring to hear about the ways that others spent the day off doing something positive for their communities.

Looking ahead, it's worth asking: How can we use this new spirt of volunteerism to improve our schools? What kinds of volunteers do schools need the most?

1 Comment

It seems to me the obvious thing to get youth involved in is volunteering to help run their own schools! We know that adults are most engaged when they have a stake in their community and the institutions they participate in, why would it be any different for kids. If schools set up democratically run committees and councils within the school to address real school issues, and gave them real decision making and budget allocation power, I think you would see a lot of transformational change among students and the adult staff that works with them.

Cooper Zale

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