Call to Action: National Day of Service, January 19, 2009

In keeping with the Plan for Universal Voluntary Service, which I wrote about previously, Barack Obama called yesterday for  a National Day of Service to be held on January 19, one day before the inauguration.

Obama, Biden, and their families will engage in community service that day, and are calling on everyone to do the same.  They’ve launched a new website dedicated to Service:  USAService that outlines goals, blogs events, issues, ideas, and offers the opportunity to find or host a community  service event.

It’s an exciting Call, and our family will be involved somehow.  But the challenge will be finding or organizing an event that’s appropriate, safe, meaningful, and engaging for K-3 graders.  Most of the opportunities are for older children and adults, and some are just not appropriate for little kids.  But my kids know there are things they can do (as I’m sure, do many of yours).  Our school has an active, monthly community outreach program through which families donate to food banks, toy drives, elder homes, hospitals, memorial funds…etc.  So my kids know they can do things for others, but bringing a bag of toys or food to school isn’t the same thing as getting out and seeing where that bag goes, or helping a librarian, or picking up a little trash at the park.  In truth, we’ve done some of that too, but the whole point of Raising Generation O is to make service part of how I educate my children, not an occasional, yearly event.

So my husband and I brainstormed a bit last night, thinking about the aspects of our community that are most important to our young kids: parks, libraries, their school, and a local birdwatching sanctuary, where we sadly often see trash.   In the next few days, I’ll be making some phone calls and trying to organize a short, interesting Day of Service for young children.  Ideally I’d like to help clean up the Bird Sanctuary a little and maybe have a brief meeting with one of the Rangers, so the kids can understand just how special this place is and why it matters in their community.  Or maybe I’ll find they already have something planned, or stumble over something new, or maybe you have an even better idea.

If you’re local to me (you know who you are) and you’re interested in joining us or another group on the 19th or the weekend before, especially with your kids, leave a comment, offer a new suggestion,  & please stay tuned.

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