Colin Powell recently invoked the words of Martin Luther King Jr. in calling for all Americans to join the president-elect's Renew America Together initiative. The words are simple: "Everyone can be great because anyone can serve."
The idea is not new – the King Day of Service started in 1994 – but it's one that Barack and Michelle Obama have put on their to-do list. They are walking the walk and will spend Monday, the day before his historic inauguration, volunteering in their new home town.
While our communities are perhaps among the strongest in San Diego County for raising money for philanthropic causes, volunteering our time to work, and encouraging our children to contribute their energy to the world around them, it's not enough.
Look at it this way: If each of us gave one hour feeding the homeless, helping a child learn to read or cleaning the beaches, think how much better our neighborhoods would be.
It's easy to find a place to help. Part of the Presidential Inaugural Committee's initiative is a Web site, USAservice.org. Locally, there's
- Check them out. You don't have to go far from home to help.
Follow the lead of Jared Enyart, who posted an event called "Know Them by Name." Go to the intersection of Torrey Pines Road at the La Jolla Parkway and talk to some of the homeless people who stand in the intersection seeking work. Enyart's call for the day says, "By becoming acquainted with our neighbors, we build connections and familiarity that can give birth to a community of tolerance and love that validates the dignity of those near us that we seldom, if ever, have appreciated."
Or "Show the troops they are not forgotten" this weekend by signing up to collect items for our military abroad or in military hospitals or to prepare them for shipping.
Or "Skip Lunch – Feed San Diego" with the Feeding America San Diego effort. Brown bag it for a day and donate your lunch money to
Opportunities abound for a day of service or even an hour. Take part of Monday – a holiday for many of us – and start a new routine and help set our country on the road to recovery.
to find a local service to volunteer for.