Where will you Volunteer on MLK Day, Jan. 18th?

A group of City Year Young Heroes during their 2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service project at Emery Elementary School in Washington, DC

January 18th is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day — a national day of service. Where will you volunteer your energy and time?

For 15 years, MLK Day has been a national day of service, mobilizing projects that strive to transform Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and teachings into community service that helps solve social problems — strengthening communities, bridging barriers, and empowering individuals.

The day of service, which is known as a “day on, not a day off,” typically enjoys a great deal of support and participation among national service corps—who volunteer for and often organize service projects.

This year organizers are launching a special initiative to connect schools in need with technology support. If you serve in a school that could use tech support — anything from a website facelift to blogging support for student clubs — you can post a volunteer opportunity on AllForGood.org:

When you create your volunteer opportunity, be sure to:

  1. Use a descriptive title and make sure to include the “MLKTech” keyword – the keyword is necessary for search.
  2. Set the date as January 18, 2010

Web professionals can search for opportunities on Serve.gov.

Learn more and find opportunities to serve on the Serve.gov and  MLKDay.gov sites. Also check out yesterday’s Change/Wire post from Service Nation, chock full of MLK Day resources.

Check out Hands On Network’s MLK Day page, including the virtual Town Hall Meeting it will hold on January 18th.

Already planning a project? Be sure to register it so that people in your community will find out how to support it!

Last year, inspired by Barack Obama’s call to service, MLK Day enjoyed the largest turnout in its history. On January 19, 2009, service projects numbered about 13,000 (compared to 5,000 in 2008), and the Corporation for National and Community Service estimated the total number of volunteers at a million.

Check out this video with more information about MLK Day:

Alan Khazei, City Year Co-Founder, Running for the Senate in Massachusetts — Election in Two Weeks

Update, Dec. 9: Although Alan Khazei gained the endorsements of many prominent people and even The Boston Globe, he was defeated at the polls during the Democratic primary Dec. 8th, by Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Attorney General. Khazei won 13 percent of the popular vote during yesterday’s election.

Among the hopefuls to fill Ted Kennedy’s long-held Senate seat is City Year founder Alan Khazei.

Alan Khazei, from his campaign website

Twenty years ago Alan Khazei and Michael Brown co-founded City Year, a national service corps that became a model for AmeriCorps in the early 90s. Today, Khazei is campaigning his heart out in Massachusetts to fill the Senate seat left empty on August 25th when Senator Ted Kennedy passed away from a brain tumor.

Khazei had worked closely with Senator Kennedy to create and garner Congressional support for several pieces of legislation for national service programs, including the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1990, AmeriCorps, Save AmeriCorps, and this year’s landmark Kennedy Serve America Act.

On other issues, Khazei stands with Kennedy’s positions as well, including his sense that No Child Left Behind — Continue reading

Service Nation launches Mission Serve to Strengthen and Create Civilian-Military Service Partnerships

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden help kick off the Veteran’s Day launch of the new Service Nation initiative Mission Serve.

Today we pause to think of our veterans who have served our country in the Service. In honor of Veteran’s Day, Service Nation — the campaign to expand service opportunities — launches a new initiative, Mission Serve, to connect civilians and the military community in service.

Service Nation aims to strengthen the bonds between the military and civilian service worlds — two overlapping Continue reading

Volunteering and Service in Prime Time

Service becomes the theme of mainstream t.v. shows this week.

I’m so excited to watch t.v. this week because I want to see how television tackles volunteerism and service — if you haven’t heard, all week, prime time shows are taking true stories of volunteerism and nonprofit work and weaving into their plots.

More than 90 shows are participating (did you know there were 90 primetime shows in a week? I didn’t) and many stars are offering public service announcement style endorsements of community service.

Some examples of what I mean, according to the HollywoodReporter.com:

  • “Parks and Recreation” — the newish comedy starring Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler, as a local government leader — is featuring a playground build with an organization I’m a big fan of, KaBoom. Poehler’s character has been working to convert an abandoned and dangerous pit into a park and this week it’s finally going to happen with the help of KaBoom. Watch the episode here.
  • “The Biggest Loser” weight-loss contestants will volunteer at a Los Angeles food bank— here is the PSA airing as part of the show:
  • “Brothers” stars will volunteer as coaches.
  • “CSI: NY”‘s Dr. Sheldon Hawkes volunteers at a hospital.
  • Actors Simon Baker, Emily Deschanel, Eva Longoria Parker, Rainn Wilson, Kate Walsh along with some all-star casts will appear in PSAs.
  • General Hospital offers this direct reference to the iParticipate campaign with a few simple lines of diaologue:

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is trying to track the t.v. shows that feature volunteerism on a live blog. Let them know what you’ve seen on their website.

The initiative has been coordinated by the Entertainment Industry Foundation in partnership with Service Nation the campaign to expand service opportunities in the United States. The multi-year initiative is called iParticipate and you can learn more about it on the iParticipate website, and/or follow iParticipate on Twitter.

Tobey Maguire and Other Celebrities Honor 9/11 with Service

Tobey Maguire, sigh<br>Chair of the ServiceNation Ambassador's program

Tobey Maguire, sigh -- leader of ServiceNation's Ambassadors

Today Service Nation launched its celebrity Ambassadors program, engaging famous people in service projects as a way of highlighting the new day of service and inspiring the public to get involved proactively in building stronger communities.

Guided by an Ambassador’s Council — and led by actor Tobey Maguire — other celebrities who’ve participated in community service events today include other actors: Cameron Diaz in Boston, Anne Hathaway in Los Angeles, Oscar de la Hoya in Los Angeles, and Anna Sophia Robb in her hometown Denver.

Another initiative Service Nation has spearheaded this week included a Mayors Meeting in New York yesterday — convened by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Hands On Network, AARP, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. The two dozen mayors from around the country came together to announce their commitments to the Cities of Service campaign, following in Mayor Bloomberg’s footsteps to highlight and support civic service in their cities.

Finally, Service Nation is hosting an event tonight in New York City at the Beacon Theatre where Secretary of State Clinton will keynote, and many other public leaders and entertainment industry stars will speak and perform.

Idealist’s Joanne Eng is on the ground at that event and will be bringing back a full report for us in the coming days.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, 1921-2009

Shriver, from her bio page on her website One Woman's Vision

Shriver, from her bio page on her website One Woman's Vision

Early this morning, Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away. I have been amazed by her infinite capacity to balance work and family — to be a role model to her kids through her tireless work on issues she was passionate about, to be a champion of service, and of people of all abilities.

My condolences to the Shrivers and Kennedys, I know you will miss her so much.

This is a statement from the family on the website Eunice Kennedy Shriver: One Woman’s Vision:

“It’s hard for us to believe: the amazing Eunice Kennedy Shriver went home to God this morning at 2 a.m.

She was the light of our lives, a mother, wife, grandmother, sister and aunt who taught us by example and with passion what it means to live a faith-driven life of love and service to others. For each of us, she often seemed to stop time itself – to run another Special Olympics games, to visit us in our homes, to attend to her own mother, her sisters and brothers, and to sail, tell stories, and laugh and serve her friends. How did she do it all?

Inspired by her love of God, her devotion to her family, and her relentless belief in the dignity and worth of Continue reading

Senate Appropriations Committee Backs Funding for the Kennedy Serve America Act

Yesterday the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $1.157B to fund the Corporation for National and Community Service implementation of the Kennedy Serve America Act.

The figure is greater than the $1.149B requested by President Obama, the $1.059B that the House of Representatives passed in its appropriations bill, and the 2009 fiscal year budget of the Corporation.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senators Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS), issued a statement:

The bill includes $1.157 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service. This level is $267 million above the fiscal year 2009 enacted level. The Committee recommendation puts AmeriCorps on the path to 250,000 members, the goal approved by Congress earlier this year in the SERVE America Act. The Continue reading