Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. with “30 Days of Action”

January 14, 2021

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Opportunities to honor the memory and teachings of Dr. King by serving others in the Bay Area, January 18th – February 18th 

Bay Area, CA, January 14 — Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) invites people to participate in Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Service from January 18th through February 18th – “30 Days of Action.”

“While many see Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day off, we see it as a ‘day on,’” said Melinda Earp, CVNL AmeriCorps VISTA in Solano and Napa Counties. AmeriCorps VISTA Members build capacity in nonprofit organizations and public agencies to help them more effectively generate resources, encourage volunteer service, and empower individuals and communities. “It’s an opportunity to start your year in the spirit of volunteerism and service, continuing the legacy Dr. King, who spent his life working to better the lives of others.” 

Earp, along with other AmeriCorps VISTA Member Sophia Luna, have worked in partnership with AmeriCorps California and California Volunteers to design very special Days of Service for 2021. Each year, Members are tasked with specific areas of focus: this year, Members are helping to address food insecurity and literacy. “MLK Day of Service inspired us to create projects that specifically address these issues,” said Earp. 

Food insecurity currently affects nearly 50 million people nationwide – most frequently, families with children. The important role that food security plays in a child’s ability to achieve is often overlooked: children who grow up in food insecure households often lag behind their food-secure peers in terms of cognitive, emotional, and physical development. In addition to the above effects, a wide body of research indicates that these consequences follow children into the classroom, often resulting in poor academic performance and challenges in reaching literacy skill benchmarks. 

Working with local agencies and small businesses, Earp and Luna have created Operation D.R.E.A.M (Dedicated Readers Excel and Motivate). In Marin, Sonoma, Solano, and Napa counties, CVNL is collecting new books and healthy snacks for book bags, that will also include resources for local food banks and pantries available within the residing county. The goal is to create 500 bags, which will be gifted to North Bay children and youth. 

“Our book bags attempt to nourish the minds and bodies of today’s’ youth because access to healthy food and improved literacy improves overall health and creates a sense of empowerment,” said Luna. 

Community members are encouraged to donate new books for children or youth, pre-packaged/non-perishable snacks, new bookmarks, or a gift certificate to purchase such items. Each bag of gifts will contain approximately $25 worth of books and $10 worth of snacks. 

All donations will be distributed to children and youth via local agencies that champion youth literacy and address hunger: Bridge the Gap College Prep (Marin City); Napa County Office of Education (Napa); Elite Public Schools (Vallejo); Fairfield BaCON Teen Pantry (Fairfield); Petaluma People’s Services (Petaluma), Fairfield Civic Center Library; and Vallejo SER Latino.
The project has attracted the attention of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. This year, the Committee will be actively involved in MLK Day of Service and is working with agencies across California to publicize their events. Said Leslie Hauser, Biden Inauguration Planning Team member:

“This year, ahead of the historic and exciting inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the Presidential Inaugural Committee will participate in the National Day of Service, modeling the empathic leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration and honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.” 

Earp and team have worked with local partners across the North Bay to create a 30-day calendar of activities, inspired by the advocacy and the lifetime dedication of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Activities were specifically designed for people of all ages and abilities: each day individuals can engage in a virtual opportunity, from watching a TED Talk, to reading an inspiring article, to volunteering. As each day is completed, participants will develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation for Dr. King’s legacy and acquire tools and knowledge to help them address current inequities. 

California Volunteers leverages nearly $82 million in public and private funding to support 58 AmeriCorps programs and the deployment of over 4,000 AmeriCorps members who provide intensive service at more than 1,000 locations including schools, nonprofits, public agencies, and community centers across the state. AmeriCorps members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing thousands of volunteers for the organizations they serve. 

Since 2017, CVNL has managed the Volunteer Infrastructure Project (VIP) AmeriCorps Program in the Bay Area. The VIP Program focuses on building sustainable volunteer programs at nonprofit organizations that meet critical needs. 

This Day of Service Project is part of California Volunteers’ #CaliforniansForAll service initiative that connects Californians with safe volunteer opportunities and encourages those unable to physically volunteer to think creatively about ways to make a difference in their communities. #CaliforniansForAll unites organizations in desperate need of volunteers with Californians looking to serve and share their commitment to their neighbors, while ensuring stay-at-home and physical distancing protocols are met. 

To donate to the book bags, visit volunteer.cvnl.org and click on the “MLK Day” button.

To view and participate in CVNL’s “30 Days of Action”, visit http://www.cvnlvolunteers.org/mlk2021/

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About CVNL: 
For over 50 years, CVNL have advanced nonprofits and volunteerism by strengthening leadership, encouraging innovation, and empowering individuals in their communities. Passion alone isn’t enough when it comes to creating strong nonprofits. That’s why we work with aspiring and established leaders every day to help them build the skills and connections that can take their impact to the next level. Together we offer comprehensive programs that support nonprofits and volunteers including training, executive search, customized consulting solutions, volunteer matching, and corporate engagement. Heart of Marin™ and Heart of Napa™ events support nonprofits of every size and mission through recognition and cash awards. Other programs and services include the Sonoma Human Race, Secret Santa, Court Referral Program, and Volunteer Wheels. We provide disaster preparedness training and serve as an Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC), overseeing spontaneous volunteers and donations for Napa, Marin, and Sonoma Counties in the aftermath of a disaster. We believe that with confident and prepared leaders, our nonprofits will be better equipped to create healthy, happy communities. Visit www.cvnl.org to discover more.