Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Team Indy/MLK Day of Service 2010

Each year the IUPUI (Indiana University, Purdue University, Indianapolis) Center for Service Learning puts on a day of service on Martin Luther King Day. Students, Faculty, Community Members, and Alumni gather for breakfast and a program honoring Dr. King. Participants are prepared for a productive day of service throughout the city of Indianapolis. After meeting in groups lead by a Service Leader from IUPUI, the groups disperse to work on projects off campus.

Year after year, Indianapolis tends to fall short in opportunities which are available to the community who want to volunteer. IUPUI Center for Service and Learning has been nationally recognized for their work in the community and always has a great role in creating opportunities for those interested in service.
The morning began at IUPUI where we gathered for breakfast with people who were to participate in the day with us. Shortly thereafter, we were presented the “I Have a Dream Speech” by a local high school student. The members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Phi Chapter presented a short step-show in honor of their fraternity brother, King. We were given a brief synopsis of King’s work and life, encouraged to speak to the people at our table about why service was important, and mentally prepare for impact in the community. We were soon dismissed, with our yellow 2010 MLK t-shirts to nearby sites to serve.
This year our team was placed at the Indianapolis Senior Center. Located downtown, not too far from many of our offices, it was nice to get to know a little bit more about the fantastic perks hidden away in Downtown Indianapolis. It offers everything from exercise classes to computer classes. We helped to organize, clean, dust, and tour the center.
During the day of service, we got to work with other community members, IUPUI student leaders, and staff at the Senior Center. After service there was an opportunity to reflect by each person sharing what they got out of the day. It gave the opportunity to discuss service from several different perspectives.

One thing we discussed as a group was that next year members could attempt to coordinate volunteer opportunities for volunteers in our agencies etc. We all seemed to hear about somebody who wanted to serve but had no where to go because most places ran out of slots to have people participate in whatever opportunities were available. The obstacle here is finding things that can be done on a national holiday when offices are usually closed. Of course that is something for next year’s team to discuss. MLK Day 2010 was a success. Although many people were wondering how dusting and wiping down furniture can make any difference, small things add up to a lot and as a team and as a community we made a big difference. Team Indy is always eager to make the biggest impact possible, and this year it was nice to be able to do so collectively with other groups. We work as a collaborative group of six, group of the Indianapolis community, National AIDS Fund Caring Counts AmeriCorps group nationally, and hopefully as group globally to make real impact in the world. It starts with one person organizing one group who can change the world in one city at a time. And of course it doesn't hurt to have a little fun while you're at it!

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