I think about service quite a bit because my job is promoting service. I work for an organization called Points of Light, which promotes volunteering and service, and specifically I work on a website called AllForGood.org which helps individual volunteers find places to serve. My job connects me to service organizations across the country and my service story is about how volunteering with one of these organizations, LA Works, has helped me in my recent move to Los Angeles.
LA Works, like many local volunteer organizations, hosts a day of service on Martin Luther King Day. This year, their project was at Woodcrest Elementary School in South Los Angeles. I was one of over 1300 volunteers who came out to clean up the grounds of the school, paint murals, and build picnic tables and benches. Most volunteer opportunities aren’t like this, but it was the perfect opportunity for someone like me who is new to LA and it was a great way to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King. The project brought out people of all races, ethnicities, genders, and ages, united by our mutual desire to do something good for our city. A number of local nonprofits also came out and set up tables to provide information about the good work they do in city and to connect with new volunteers. And we did good work too.
I spent the day painting a mural and, of course, managed to spill green paint all over myself. (I’ve attached a picture.) Later in the day, students from the school, who were volunteering in a different part of the school grounds, came by to ooh and aah at the murals. We were making their school a more beautiful place to be.
As I settle into LA, I hope to find smaller and more regular volunteer opportunities where I can help make a greater impact over time. But I had a great time at MLK Day of Service event in LA and there are similar events all across the country. I would recommend giving it a try, if you can find one near you.