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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pre-Inauguration Volunteering: A Call to Action

Ann-Marie Luciano Bio

Happy New Year Western Maryland! On behalf of President-Elect Obama's Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), I am writing you to ask you, invite you, encourage you, cheer you on to, and fire you up to volunteer for the 15th Annual National Day of Service to be held on Monday, January 19, 2009 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday -- as well as the weekend prior to the Inauguration.

We've been asked by the Presidential Inaugural Committee to create over 100 (yep, 100!)volunteer events in Western Maryland the next few days – please help show PIC the volunteer spirit of Western Maryland!

What is the National Day of Service?
In 1994, Congress transformed the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday into a national day of community service to further commemorate a man who lived his life in service to others. President-Elect Obama is calling on volunteers across the country to plan, organize and stage non-partisan, volunteer community service events in their neighborhoods for the weekend of Saturday January 17th through Monday January 19th to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What Type of Volunteer Activities Are Needed?
Whatever your heart desires and your creativity can imagine! It can be something you've done before (like volunteering at a soup kitchen) or something you've always wanted to do (sing to senior citizens at a nursing home). It can be a simple event that you plan with family and friends, or it can be an event that you solicit everyone on your email list to participate in. The beauty of this is that PIC is launching a national website in a few days that will list all of the events that you plan so others can sign up to attend and help, so the publicity work will be done without you having to put in hardly any effort at all! Here is a list of some example volunteer projects, but feel free to use your creativity to imagine other ideas:

Hunger/homelessness: soup kitchen, food drives, clothes/toys donations

Education: book drives, educational projects for schools, tutoring or volunteering at a school

Environment: cleaning up parks, beaches, rivers, streets, playgrounds, beautifying schools or other public properties

Health: blood drives, volunteering at a hospital, fundraising for cancer, diabetes, etc.

Military/Veterans: volunteering at a local veterans' center, letter writing/pen pal campaigns to the troops, food/supply drives to send care packages to the troops

Civic Engagement: teaching children about democracy and civic participation, how to contact their representatives

Faith: working with any local faith organizations with their efforts to help the needy or troubled

Community: visiting prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, participating in local MLK events

As you can see, some events are as easy as you thinking of an idea (writing letters to the troops) and then just figuring out when and where you want to do it and getting some friends to come along to help you (and once your event is posted on the website, other people from the community will hear about it and can help out). Other events (like a blood drive) require you to contact a local hospital or blood bank, but once you do that the event is done! We've heard from other parts of Maryland and residents and businesses alike are jumping at the opportunity to volunteer in some capacity MLK weekend.

Alright, Now I'm Fired Up and Ready to Go – How Do I Sign Up?
Once you have your idea, go to to post your planned event (it's a simple form where you just put the date, location, and brief description of your event. If you have trouble, you can contact me and I'll walk you through it.). PIC looks over each event and then approves them and will send you a confirmation email once the event is posted to the site. It is crucial that post your event idea to the website as soon as possible in the next few days. Don't worry if you only have a couple of volunteers – we need to post the events first, and then we will focus on getting volunteers (we're going to have phone banks and contact the media). Please email me after you posted your event so I can keep track of the events.

What Else Can I Do?
Please forward this email to all of your friends, family, neighbors and contacts, as well as anyone you know at any community organization, business or group that is either in need of help or is willing and able to help those in need.

With the election we sent a message that we wanted Change. Now is our moment to show the world that, as Obama has said, WE are the change that we seek.

Yes We Could, Yes We Did, and Yes We Can Again,

Ann-Marie Luciano


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1 comment:

Vicki said...

This is a great article! Ann-Marie, You really do sound "all fired up!"
The enthusiasm you display in this writing is sure to spread to others.