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Ann O'Brien Schmieg

By Ann O'Brien Schmieg

Giving Back in Honor of Dr. King

Thu, January 24, 2013

Giving Back in Honor of Dr. King

Dr. King once said, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” United Way sometimes puts it another way: “When we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all.”

This is what it means to LIVE UNITED. And this past weekend, more than 110,000 volunteers showed us all how by participating in 1,500 projects throughout the region during the Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service.

It was IT professionals helping to develop custom software solutions for nonprofits. It was business experts giving of their time to coach nonprofit executives on how to think about their work more efficiently. It was young professionals rallying to collect and sort sports and fitness equipment for underprivileged students in after school programs. It was community members cleaning up their community center and sorting toiletries for homeless shelters. Everywhere you looked, individuals were stepping up to serve.

And I think that’s what Dr. King was talking about. When we can understand that another individual’s hardship really is our problem – that we’re all interconnected – we can do amazing things together.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated as a National Day of Service in order to celebrate the life and work of Dr. King by making it “A day on, rather than just another day off.” I like to believe that we would have made Dr. King proud by our efforts this year. Thank you to all of the partners and volunteers who made this year’s MLK Day of Service a success.