Greetings! First, a bit of an explanation.
When I initially agreed to write this column, I intended it to be similar to a column that I ghost-wrote for The Dallas Morning News, featuring nonprofits, their board members, and fundraising activities. Now that I am entering my 14th column (wow, time flies when you are having fun) I realize the column has changed a bit. Of course, I still feature local nonprofits, their fundraising efforts as well as their volunteer opportunities.
This column has evolved to be about timelier topics and and those more newsworthy. I still want to hear from you as I cannot be aware of everything happening in the hidden sector here in Thurston County but hopefully this provides a bit of clarity. Of course, if things ever start to get boring I can resort to telling stories about my puppies.
MLK Day – A Day On
In 1989, the Points of Light Foundation (POLF) founder, President George H.W. Bush signed the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission Extension Act. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived his life serving others. So following his example, Martin Luther King Jr. Day (this year it’s on January 17) is now for millions of Americans a day of service, or as the POLF has branded it, “A Day on Not a Day Off”. There are several ways to participate, such as searching for volunteer opportunities or participating in the POLF Listen. Learn. Act to End Racism initiative.
Building a Beloved Community
Another way to honor Dr.King’s legacy is to participate in a Serve Washington event. Serve Washington is the organization that coordinates the AmeriCorps National Service Projects here in Washington.
Serve Washington is inviting everyone to join their AmeriCorps members in solidarity on January 17 by honoring Dr. King through volunteerism. According to AmeriCorps’ website,“The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is a defining moment each year when Americans across the country step up to make our communities more equitable and take action to create the Beloved Community of Dr. King’s dream.”
Amber Martin-Jahn, Executive Director of Serve Washington says “the global pandemic and events of 2020 and 2021 have opened our eyes wider to inequities in our communities. Fifty years ago, Dr. King spoke of a "fierce urgency of now," during his famous and historical march on Washington. While Dr. King believed the Beloved Community was possible, he acknowledged and fought for systemic change. His words remain our call to action. The time is now to act with swift urgency to deliver on the promise of Dr. King’s example and mission.”
What You Can Do
Serve Washington’s AmeriCorps members will be leading service projects throughout the state of Washington. Projects include cleaning up public spaces, collecting essential items, mentoring young people and facilitating dialogue that explores ways to address inequity. Note, you do not need to be an AmeriCorps member to participate in any of these activities.
Find a Project
If you want to join an organized service project, Serve Washington has a free, new Volunteer Connect tool which allows you to search for service projects by location, date, ability, age group, organization and/or project focus. Nonprofit organizations are also encouraged to post their volunteer opportunities on this site as well. For more details and to access Volunteer Connect go to https://servewashington.wa.gov/
Share Your Service
Serve Washington invites you to share photos videos, and stories of your project. Make sure to tag @ServeWashington and use #MLKDAY and #WeServeWA in your posts
QPR: Do You Know How to Save a Life?
Family Education & Support Services (FESS) - Thurston County is offering a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention course to provide practical and proven suicide prevention strategies. According to the FESS website, QPR is the most widely taught suicide prevention training in the world and just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives. The course is taught in a clear and concise format, takes approximately 90 minutes and is valid for three years from the date of training. For training dates and more information go to https://familyess.org/qpr-suicide-prevention-training/
Nonprofit Impacted by Fire
The fire that devasted so many Olympia businesses on December 15, 2021, also impacted a local nonprofit, Community Print. Community Print is a volunteer-run nonprofit that has been a community resource for more than 20 years. According to their Facebook page, “though the walls are still standing, water drenched the structure and contents, and smoke, heat and ongoing harsh weather has damaged five printing presses, hundreds of metal typefaces, storied wood type collection, printer's cuts and archives.” Olympic Moving and Storage has offered discounted rates to carefully wrap the antique presses and move them to a storage facility for up to a year, however Community Print needs to identify a low-cost location to reopen as it rehabs its equipment and gets back to business. If you would like to help them in these efforts, please go their GoFundMe page.
Soliciting your ideas
If you know of a nonprofit that is doing something great, celebrating a success, needs some outstanding volunteers or hosting an event, let me know! This column (aside from a little education) celebrates nonprofits!
Mary Beth Harrington, CVA (Certified Volunteer Administrator) lives in Tumwater. She travels the country speaking at conferences and to individual organizations articulating issues facing nonprofits. Send your ideas to her at MaryBeth@theJOLTnews.com
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