DES MOINES, IA -Iowans are not new to volunteering; in fact volunteerism is very much a part of their everyday lives. Iowa ranks second in the nation for volunteering according to the Corporation for National and Community Service's latest Volunteering in America Report.
On Monday, January 17, 2011, Iowans will continue to act upon the call of service by helping mark the 25th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday, which Congress designated as a Day of Service in 1994. By hosting or joining volunteer service projects, our neighbors are "making it a day ON, not a day off" and making a difference inIowa communities.
"It's not at all surprising to me that Iowa is ranked second in the nation for its state volunteerism rate," said Adam Lounsbury, executive director of the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service."We know Iowans have a strong ethic and history of serving others.We encourage all Iowans to make sure our great state shines with a huge outpouring of support and volunteer efforts on one of the biggest national Days of Service."
Civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., recognized the power of community, united in the belief of justice, to achieve common goals. Today, his legacy is honored in a federal holiday commemorating his achievements, but also encouraging a national day of service reflecting his teachings in nonviolence and social justice. Instead of a day off, people of all ages and experience are encouraged to make it a day ON, coming together to improve lives, bridge social barriers, connect with and learn about individuals, and help cultivate the concept of community King envisioned.
In honor of the holiday, Iowa organizations and government entities will be hosting service projects on or around January 17. The MLK Day of Service is a way to transform King's life and teachings into community service dedicated to solving social problems. These service projects are either tangible or motivational in order to incite stronger communities, empower individuals, and link social barriers. Some projects that will be available are starting on MLK Day with plans for continued service, learning, and reflection. The ultimate goal of service days is to make service sustainable and the "norm" for everyone. The hope is those who serve will continue to serve and through that process learn and reflect on the impact their service has on them personally, their organizations, and the community as a whole.