A year of ADVANCEment: Go and serve
“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Monday, Jan. 18, we celebrated the vision and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through service activities across the country. The goal of the MLK Day of service is to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.
Engage with the community
USGBC Emerging Professional volunteers embraced this as a time to engage with groups and organizations they care about in their local communities. As ambassadors to ADVANCE, USGBC’s new framework for social equity and community engagement, the holiday was used as a time to reach out and establish new relationships.
The green building community recognizes the importance of engaging new and underserved audiences—to meet people where they are and to listen to their needs. A service opportunity provides a time to enter the space of new audiences, learn what matters most to them and start understanding how we build the case to ask more people to “advance” with us!
Ask Charleston, S.C.-based ADVANCE ambassador Siassia Likibi, who served with Low Country Food Bank. “I really enjoyed this opportunity to serve my community alongside my coworkers," said Likibi. "I encourage everyone to volunteer, even if it is just for a couple of hours—every little bit helps. I look forward to continuing to building a relationship with Low Country Food Bank and working to 'advance' this important community resource.”
Edell Parker III, our Savannah, Ga. ADVANCE ambassador, who led an effort to quantify the area’s disposable cup impact outside bars and restaurants, commented, “Savannah has a great privilege to be able to open carry in the Historic District. This privilege defines the slow, carefree attitude Savannah [residents] live with and allows visitors a low-stress vacation as well. However, beverages must be in a plastic container once you leave a restaurant/bar. In preparation for St. Patrick's day, I’m challenging the community to transfer to biodegradable cups to lower the impact of this great law.”
Or take Matt Johnson, USGBC’s 2016 ADVANCE intern, who joined the Anacostia Riverkeepers for a stormwater discharge cleanup at Pope Branch Park. Together, they removed over a ton of trash, which was then sorted and sent for reuse, recycling or disposal. “Not only is it important to help protect and preserve the places you love, it’s fun too," said Johnson. "I had a blast with all the volunteers from all over the city.”
Join the change movement
There are opportunities in every community to get out and support the changemaking organizations you love. Join the USGBC community by reaching out and making new connections in your local community. Identify more opportunities to serve the places you love: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and Volunteer Match.