Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Get On the Floor and Do the Inauguration Day Dance

It is finally here, the first day of the next four years, and if we are very lucky, eight. Today marks such an important moment in history for so many profound reasons. I will not go into all of them again but I ask everyone to think about them as they head off to work, errands, the back yard or even the sofa today. Beginning with our country, the entire world will be positively, mentally, revived by two o’clock in the afternoon as President Elect Barack Obama officially takes his place in history as the forty fourth President of the United States of America.

Last night a commercial came on that made me sit up and take notice. Obama was calling for all Americans to “Renew America Together” and gave a website to get more information on the subject. The website address is http://www.usaservice.org and is a clear call to request unbiased, unselfish help for and by fellow Americans.

The website was originally started to encourage Americans to consider completing a local act of community service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, yesterday. As I spent more time on the site however it was clear that there were many events in my local area planned within the weeks after January 19 and I became even more curious to somehow lend my hands to even one of them to help.

There are twelve categories to choose from and events are searchable by zip code as well as up to a 100 mile radius around it. We are therefore able to locate an event anywhere we might be from our own neighborhoods to anywhere across the country. For example: Suppose I have a trip planned to Flushing, NY and will have some down time while I am there so on the website I select “Find An Event” and enter the zip code 11367. The list of already posted events comes up and I can sign up to attend the one I feel most connected to.

But what if I want to do something in my own neighborhood and there is nothing scheduled? Suppose there is a park down the street that lots of community children play at but there is a lot of trash that needs to be collected to make it a safer and cleaner place to play. Why not simply “Host An Event” and schedule the date and time you will be out there collecting trash at the park -- others can sign up to join you and the spirit of community begins to grow!

A couple weeks ago Obama indicated something to the effect of ‘we got ourselves into this mess which means we can get ourselves out’ and although at the time he was referring to the current economic status I also truly believe we can apply that manner of thinking to our disconnect from community as well. I applaud this effort to get out and meet our neighbors, lend a hand, be a humanitarian, and most importantly, regain a sense of pride in our own communities. I strongly encourage everyone to get over there and check it out and then sign up to either attend or host an event. Matt and I are planning to attend an event this Sunday and hopefully many more there after.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
- Lao-tzu

I have posted the same words over at my personal blog today as I feel this deserves a very broad reach so everyone has a chance to check it out. Please consider posting about this wonderful tool on your own blog or website as part of this call to community. Now get out there and enjoy this historic day!


Karen said...

Great ideas, Jenn. I'm going to check out the website.

Karen said...

Oops, there's a little something wrong with the link you provided. Try http://www.usaservice.org

Jenn said...

Thanks for letting me know Karen, just fixed it now :)