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Ohioans Encouraged to “Be the Change” This MLK Day

IMAGE: For some Ohioans, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day of giving back to others in their communities. Image courtesy Hands On Northeast Ohio.
IMAGE: For some Ohioans, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day of giving back to others in their communities. Image courtesy Hands On Northeast Ohio.
January 20, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Across Ohio today, vigils, ceremonies and celebrations will commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many Ohioans will also mark the federal holiday by participating in a National Day of Service. Melanie Collins, director of programs, Hands On Northeast Ohio, said it is a perfect opportunity to honor Dr. King's legacy through service to others, and to "be the change" that could make a difference in someone's life.

"One of the quotes that Dr. Martin Luther King used that really resonates is, 'Everyone can be great because anybody can serve.' That's a really powerful mission because, no matter what background you come from, everyone can give a few hours," Collins said.

Hands On Northeast Ohio offers many different types of service opportunities, she added, and is working with students at Case Western and the Citizen Leadership Academy on projects in honor of MLK Day. Communities, schools and colleges statewide also are hosting volunteer events today.

This National Day of Service leads up to a "Homeless Stand-down" this coming Saturday, she added. Volunteers will be at the Cleveland Public Auditorium providing medical check-ups, clothing and other resources for those who are homeless or facing financial uncertainty. Collins went down a wish list of helpful items.

"We need all these donations: winter boots, winter clothes, socks and underwear. People can spread the word about that. Clean out your closets and donate up until the 'Stand-down,' which is Jan. 25," she said.

This week's events are just a couple of the many volunteer opportunities available throughout the year, she added, and they often inspire people to make service to others a regular aspect of their lives.

"If you can give a little bit collectively, the impact that can make is just tremendous. You don't need to dedicate a week or a month - if you can just give a little bit here and there, it can really, really make a big difference," she stressed.

More information is available at www.handsonneo.org or www.mlkday.gov.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH