This year, rather than volunteering on location, Catchafire decided to open the doors of our office and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by providing friends and members of our community with personal volunteer consultations, a chance to learn something new and as a bonus an opportunity to hang out at our team’s potluck!
As we sent out invitations, it quickly became evident that most of our friends were not aware that MLK Jr. Day is the National Day of Service and instead were using the long weekend for a vacation. With this realization, we started to wonder, why don’t more people observe the National Day of Service or even know about it?
As the day started off, Rachael asked the team and our guests to settle around the couches in a large comfortable circle. After everyone relaxed into place, she posed a question that inspired a surprisingly intimate conversation for 10 o’clock in the morning.
Why do you serve?
Faced with this question, most of us reflected back to our first ever volunteer experience. Listening to those around me, it was clear that whatever experience it was, volunteering, at some point had transformed that person’s life. They were forever changed by the act of helping someone else. It comforted me that the friends who stopped by Catchafire felt a similar dedication to serve as my co-workers.
Whether it was a mission trip to foreign country, a role model whose actions they learned from or an expression of gratitude from the recipient of a good deed, it was clear that service had opened our eyes to the way our lives should be spent and service was deeply embedded in everyone who went to Catchafire that day.
The day continued with Martin Luther King Jr. twitter trivia and a Social Media Scavenger Hunt that challenged our knowledge and understanding of Human Rights. These games were a chance for us to recognize the people out there who are using the internet as a tool to raise awareness about human rights & service.
We finished up by screening Born into Brothels, a touching documentary about a woman who finds potential in children raised in Indian brothels. As she teaches them photography, it was nearly impossible not to feel attached to the children’s stories of hardship day in and day out. Seeing the world through their eyes was inspiring and reminded us the importance of raising awareness and making change around human rights.
All in all, our MLK Day was refreshing. It is a wonderful practice to reflect on why it is you serve, in fact, I challenge you to ask yourself the same question today. I hope that it will provoke something in you as it did us. We are excited to watch the holiday evolve, and we are sure that MLK Day 2014 will be very different.
We hope that as we all grow, the holiday will as well, imagine if everyone recognized MLK Day as the National Day of Service–seriously, if everyone did, woah I just got excited!