Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day is a federal holiday, and was celebrated last Jan. 21.

In 1994, MLK’s Day was proclaimed by Congress as a National Day of Service. It is now being observed by millions across the United States as a “day-on, not a day- off.”

This is a day of empowerment by most of us, a day of strengthening our communities and building bridges.

The 2013 MLK Day of Service has the theme, “United We Serve,” which is a national call by President Obama to all of us to render public service.

The service includes finding a solution to social problems and services to benefit our emerging communities.

We are encouraged to perform service in education to help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to have a successful future.

Community service is for all ages.

In fact, the Michigan Community Service Commission is working to mobilize the youth across the state through volunteerism this April as part of the observance of the Global Youth Service Day 2013.

The youth are being encouraged to address the world’s critical issues by partnering with families, schools, community and government.

Youth Service America and the Corporation for

National and Community Service is awarding mini grants to Michigan organizations that wish to host volunteer projects as part of the celebration of the National Day of Service.

How can you serve in the community? How can you change the world in your own simple way?

People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can get involved. You do not have to travel far and spend

to do a  community service. Simple act of kindness such as reading and tutoring a student in a nearby school, helping a student with a science project, helping in a diversity mentoring, attending a town-hall meeting and even just playing a father-and-son basketball game.

In our own community, we can do a lot in terms of  public service: Join a civic dialogue, ask for opportunities to assist in our own community center such as painting, fixing and cleaning the surroundings.

During summer, volunteers can help in the landscaping work or attend a fundraising event.

Volunteerism is a year-long activity, and you can always find time to do volunteer service in spite your hectic schedule.

Community service can be done personally or though your community organization.

The Michigan chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA-Michigan) will undertake its own community service in Michigan. This will be done through a partnership with a government entity on February 19, 2013. On that day, NaFFAA Michigan will host a naturalization and oath-taking ceremony to be conducted by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service at the Philippine Community Center of Michigan. We are expecting at least 50 oath takers.

Members of NaFFAA Michigan will render volunteer service at this community event.

Certainly, this will be a very meaningful day for the oath takers, and it will also meaningful day for our volunteers.

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Willie is a teacher at the Detroit Public School. A very popular and influential leader in the Filipino-American community in Michigan, Dechavez is the incumbent Michigan state chairperson of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) and public relations officer of both the Filipino-American Community Council (FILAMCCO) and the Philippine American Community Center (PACCM). A native of Sorsogon, Philippines, he is also vice president of the Bicol Association of Michigan. He is recipient of numerous awards.

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