In this post from API’s “Volunteer Connections” series, Vija, API’s Director of Experiential Programs, shares her experiences volunteering in Austin on the MLK Day of Service…and year-round!
As the person in charge of organizing API’s international volunteer programs, I strongly believe in giving back to your community here at home as well. To honor this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, I chose to contribute to the goals of Austin non-profit “Creative Action”, an arts organization that works with youth through varied school and community programs. On Saturday, we focused on preparing “takeaways” for their interactive school residency programs, which reach more than 11,000 area students each year!
They created 4-5 project areas within their office, and I opted to work on the “Courage in Action” preparation. This is a wonderful program that teaches 5th -6th-grade students about being good allies and leaders within their communities.
Here’s our work area. We started out with piles of cardstock, stickers, book rings, lanyards, and one rubber stamp, and assembled dozens of “C.I.A. agent” operation logs for students.
By the end of the morning, we had assembled over 300 badges, enough for almost 10 classes of students taking part in the “Courage in Action” residency program.
My fellow volunteers and I could truly say: “Today I took Creative Action”!
I’ve volunteered with different organizations in Austin in the past, processing food donations at the Capital Area Food Bank, lending a hand in the front office of Casa Marianella (a transitional housing shelter for refugees), helping with special events for Project Transitions (an organization providing support for people living with HIV/AIDS), serving as a second grade tutor in a Spanish literacy program with Austin Partners in Education, and – most recently – shelving books and helping with admin tasks at my neighborhood branch of the Austin Public Library.
I’m especially passionate about contributing to organizations with a focus on Education, and this past MLK day was a great opportunity to learn about an organization (new to me!) whose work enriches the creative and social development of Austin’s youth. If you’re local to Austin and interested in getting involved, you can find more information here: https://creativeaction.org/get-involved/