Monday, January 21, 2013 is a Federal holiday and marks the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. Not so shockingly, both my husband and daughter are off of work and school. This may come as a surprise to both of them, but we are not spending this day in the same way we spent their winter breaks: sleeping in, playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” for who has to clean up the dog-poop in the backyard and playing video games. This year, we are going to do something meaningful with the day and serve our community.
According to The Corporations for National and Community Service and The King Center, “People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are encouraged to serve on King Day, and to make the day the beginning of an ongoing commitment to a cause that is meaningful to them and address a need in their communities.”
Since the title of this blog is “A WINDY CITY MOMMA” I thought that I would come up with a good list of things to do in the Chicagoland area where we might find some of our friends volunteering their time too.
In Highland Park, IL: The Multi-Generational Celebration at the Highland Park Recreation Center from 10 am to 1 pm. (1207 Park Ave West Highland Park IL.) The Highland Park event will feature the following activities & opportunities:
- Aaron Freeman, radio commentator, comedian, and author will be giving his comedic twist to MLK’s Dream from 10:30-11:15
- Edgewood Middle School Chorus will sing songs of freedom – 10:00am-10:30am
- Decorate a canvas tote bag and donate a gently used picture book or easy reader to place inside. The book bags will be given to the North Shore Health Clinic for distribution to their young patients
- Assemble toiletries for local shelters
- Decorate squares for Project Linus quilts going to hospitalized children
- Color flowers and make flower pots for Highland Park Hospital
- Write letters to soldiers and children of the military (Hero Packs)
- Braeside PTO: Make Valentine’s for soldiers (Operation Support Our Troops)
- Reach for Change: Color paper dolls to raise awareness about the devastation that has occurred because of the Genocide in Darfur and throughout Africa
- Nurture: A non-profit dedicated to improving the nutrition and health of limited resource families. Participants will help scoop non-perishable soup ingredients into bags which they will label and include recipes for the Moraine Twp. Food Bank.
- North Shore Health Clinic will have information on their services and offer Blood Sugar screenings
- Heller Nature Center will make garland wreaths
- Highwood Fire Dept. will provide Fire Safety coloring books & CPR demonstrations
- Puppy Mill Project: Make flannel dog toys to donate to Tails of Hope—a no kill shelter.
And several other activities including story reading, decorating flip flops for youth in India and an activity by the Rotary Club of Highland Park & Highwood. Truly, there is something for everyone!
City of Chicago: This year, the City of Chicago is partnering with Jean De Lafayette Elementary School. Over 500 volunteers from across the city will come together to transform and beautiful Lafayette with murals, painting, and construction projects.
Details for the following Chicago activities can also be found at the following site: createthegood.org
- MLK Day 2013 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Of Service 2013 (1801 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616 – January 19, 2013) The Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago is sponsoring a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service 2013 at The Studios of Central City Housing Ventures, an affordable housing option for low-income individuals. Participants of age 14 and above will wash window sills, walls and doors.
- MLK Day Literacy Fair (1012 North Noble Street, Chicago, IL 60642 – January 21, 2013) Why take the day off, when you can have a day ON? This MLK Jr. Day, come join AmeriCorps Project YES! for a National Day of Service! We need adult volunteers (18+) to help create and implement a dreamy literacy fair for children and families of Chicagos West Town community.
If you are out and about in Chicago, here are some of the activities I found thanks to chicagoparent.com: (*Note: Not all of the dates are 1/21. Some of these activities occur over the weekend)
- Gage Park High School project brings Chicago’s civil rights, King history to residents’ fingertips
- Open Mic Night: I Have a Dream, Dr. King! (FREE)
- Chicago Blues Audio Tour: Most of Chicago’s famous (or infamous!) blues clubs are strictly 21+ but you can walk your way through a PG history of the Chicago blues scene with an audio walking tour from the city’s tourism bureau. Narrated by blues legend Buddy Guy, this free podcast explores ten historic blues sites including Maxwell Street, Record Row, and the former home of Muddy Waters.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration concert (FREE) Nichols Concert Hall, Music Institute of Chicago | Evanston, January 20, 5 p.m. Music Institute of Chicago’s annual concert features 100-plus voices of the Brother Chorale of the Apostolic Church of God, performing traditional and contemporary gospel and jazz arrangements.
- Martin Luther King Holiday Celebration (FREE) Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore | Porter January 19. A variety of hands-on activities, service opportunities, and exhibits are available for families to enjoy throughout the day. At 2 p.m., join park ranger Cliff Goins as he leads an armchair tour of National Park Service sites that celebrate the civil rights movement.Or take part in a stewardship activity, such as preparing seeds for spring planting or cutting invasive honeysuckle near the center. Visitors also can make a free craft, enjoy the hands-on exhibits or help feed the Douglas Center’s resident reptiles and fish and snowshoes and cross-country skis are available for free checkout.
- Artists and Authors: Linda Gorham, Field Museum | Chicago January 19, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as storyteller Linda Gorham weaves multicultural stories with “attitude,” then stop by the Art Studio to create a self portrait.
I am so excited for all of the activities occurring in honor of Dr. King! Even though the weather might be frightfully cold this weekend, getting involved by volunteering your time and learning about Dr. King’s legacy may hit the spot and at least warm your heart (if not your hands!)