Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King Day of Service

By Yana Lentz, Workforce Innovations Coordinator at CAPI USA

Each year Americorps VISTAs celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day by taking the time to volunteer in the community. The goal of this day is to take action to bring our communities closer while strengthening and empowering individuals and families. Our actions encompass Dr. King’s vision of community and this day is used to recognize and to try to achieve those goals. Encouraging others to continue to transform their community through service is a major theme of the day, as well as our role as a VISTA. The importance of service and the impact it has, is a passion amongst all VISTAs not only on this day, but throughout the year. Here’s how the Phillips VISTA Cohort served on MLK Day!

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This year the Phillips VISTA cohort celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Day by taking the time to volunteer at Arc’s Value Village in Richfield, MN. Arc’s Value Village is a thrift store that donates their proceeds to programs that help adults and children with disabilities in the community.  For the last 30 years, Arc’s Value Village has supported individuals and families that face economic and personal challenges associated with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our involvement with Arc’s Value Village indirectly helped support their efforts in advocating for human rights.

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The full day of volunteering began with our team being greeted by welcoming and helpful staff. After a short introduction to the mission of Arc’s Value Village, we were given instructions about our day’s work and responsibilities. Half of our group worked on sorting and organizing donated items, while the other half distributed those items on the store floor. It was a very smooth process that not only helped us bond as a group, but with other volunteers and Arc’s Value Village staff as well.

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It was inspiring for us to see how many helping hands for one day can have a significant impact for this organization. Our day of service left us all feeling blessed to be able to take small steps to help improve the lives of those around us. I think all of us would agree that we love serving our community, but we definitely felt it today.  Plus, we even got to do some shopping after a full day of hard work.☺  All in all, it was a great way to spend MLK Day! For VISTAs it’s a day on, not a day off– I encourage you to think about volunteering next Dr. martin Luther King Day to honor the legacy of this great national leader.