Staying True to the MLK Day Spirit

It is 2:00 a.m. You are exhausted, fatigued, hungry and frankly delirious from the amount of work you have left to finish. You decide to check your e-mail and scroll through the subject lines:

“We need your help!”
“Donate now!”
“This will not be possible without you.”
“Support us…”

Your eyes begin to twitch from your lack of sleep. It is too early in the morning to be bombarded with e-mails requesting your support when you have two papers, an exam and a presentation due the following day. After all, your support is not as urgent as your need to finish your paper, so you decide to ignore the e-mails and return to staring at your computer trying to thread together a few cohesive paragraphs for your paper—yes, the paper your professor sternly told your not to write the night before.

While the scenario may be slightly exaggerated, my point is that we often ignore the many opportunities we have to support charitable causes and do good work in our community. Maybe we are too busy trying to manage our own lives. Maybe we have received so many cries for help and support that we have become immune to them. Maybe we think that other people will step in and help instead. Maybe we don’t care.

I will admit, there have been many times I have ignored opportunities to help Penn State organizations simply because I thought I was too busy and other people would step in instead. In retrospect, I feel that I should have been the person who stepped in. Sometimes we get so entangled in the madness of our lives that we fail to realize the amount of influence we can actually have if we simply tried and helped. Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired us to actively engage ourselves in our community, immerse ourselves in both its beauty and deficits, and most importantly, become a voice for reason and change.

With THON quickly approaching, I decided to gather a few friends and help support THON’s annual Arts and Crafts Drive by buying craft supplies and asking people in our dorm buildings if they had anything to donate. We were able to collect and donate items such as construction paper, markers, folders, pins, stickers, pens and pencils that I am sure will put a smile on the face of any child who receives them. While it was a small gesture, it certainly stayed true to the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and will hopefully remind us to stay actively engaged in our community and its activities!

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