Saturday, September 10, 2011

National Days of Service

Did you know we have two official national days of service? We do! First there is the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, and, coming up tomorrow, there is the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance. Two days to get people thinking about how they can help others. I've grown to value year round service as a mom and Girl Scout leader; I feel it's important to teach my kids to help others and give of their time and resources and this is one area where I teach by example.

Of course the kids have various projects they get involved with as well. We participate in a park clean up now and again as a family. The Eldest is volunteering at a dog adoption kennel. (She's there as I type, actually.) We've also participated in a lot of activities through Girl Scouts over the years. DH and I talk to the kids about the charities we donate to as well.

I'm happy to see the national emphasis on service. Kids in our area have been required to perform community service in order to graduate from high school for a while now, which I think is wonderful. Some kids just put in their hours as quickly as possible and get very little out of it, it's just another chore, but so many others find meaning and purpose through volunteering. Non profit groups have been created out of kids performing their service hours, and you know those kids went above and beyond the required hours. It's good to see.

Now adults are being encouraged, through the national programs, to give of their time as well. There are so many areas where you see selfishness and a "me me me" attitude from the general public now (like the whole tea party and libertarian movements- it's all "me, first" in that rhetoric) that it's a refreshing change to see people pitching in and helping others. There was a story on the news yesterday (sorry, don't remember the channel, possibly a CNN everyday heroes story) about how survivors of 9/11 have committed to helping out at least once a year in other states that have faced disasters of their own. Stories like that make me proud to be human, proud of my fellow man.

So on this day, the day before the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, I am taking a few minutes to spread the word and encourage others to get involved, and to teach your children to get involved as well. Everyone can help in some way. Our local community has a clearing house for volunteers; I'm sure there are other organizations out there like that. They match your abilities and time availability to ways to help, even things like making phone calls to people who are shut in. Almost anyone can do that, even the shut ins. You don't have to go building houses to contribute, although that's a wonderful thing if you are able to do it.

So get involved!! It will benefit YOU more than you know!

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