Chelsea Clinton and Beau Biden headlined National Day of Service events on January 19, urging Americans to make it second nature to help others as people turned out across the country to volunteer at churches, food banks and community centers, according to a report on MSN today.
For many public service comes naturally. Armed forces servicemen and women, first responders, teachers, politicians, doctors, nurses, and other community activists help to make public service second nature. Joe Biden's son Beau and Bill and Hilary's daughter Chelsea have grown up in public service so their tendency is to serve the people. Now Staten Island educators at the early childhood level, can talk about this story during circle time, highlighting the need for community service in the spirit of well, Martin Luther King, Jr., the preacher and activist who changed the face of sixties activism through peaceful demonstration and nonviolent protest.
So when you return from the long Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, why not try making today's National Day of Service one of your circle time discussions with pre-k, kindergarten and older children at the elementary school level as well. The role of early childhood educator has never been more critical. Teach our children about the need to help others through an awareness of community service. Yes this is one of your themes, and a great way to introduce Martin Luther King, Jr. into your discussions and lesson planning.
What National Day of Service means:
"From rebuilding houses destroyed in Hurricane Sandy to cleaning schools, Americans all across the country volunteered at churches, food banks and community centers across the U.S. Saturday to answer President Barack Obama's call for a National Day of Service," adds MSN. On Staten Island, this service has never been more critical, especially on the heels of Superstorm Sandy and its devastating effects on Staten Island.
"Twitter exploded with pictures and tweets from hundreds of people who spent their morning mentoring children, organizing clothes drives or cooking for the poor," added today's report.
The president had asked all Americans to dedicate January 19 to serve others in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader whose birthday coincides with Obama's second inauguration Monday, adds MSN.
Chelsea Clinton headlines National Day of Service events
Chelsea Clinton, who headlined the National Day of Service events with a rally, tweeted about it: "Even more excited about the National Day of Service having just gotten off the stage!!"
Clinton, who is serving as the honorary chair of the National Day of Service, joined other celebrities and politicians on the National Mall in Washington where hundreds of organizations have set up booths to inform the public how they can volunteer for different causes, including health, education, environment and economic development.
Laptops are available inside a big tent set up in the National Mall where people can pledge the number of hours they are willing to volunteer for a service project this year, added MSN.
Eva Longoria encourages education
"Before introducing Clinton to the audience, actress Eva Longoria, who is serving as co-chair of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, spoke briefly about her family's history of giving back to the community," stated MSN.
"I am so excited to be here, so inspiring to see so many of you come out on this National Day of Service – to give back to your community," Longoria said to the media. "My three sisters and I were blessed to have great role models, which were my parents. My mother was a special education teacher … so a lot of what we did to give back was in the education arena."
Longoria stressed the importance of education, saying that it was imperative to compete in a global market. "The president knows that for our nation a good education cannot be a luxury," she said, added MSN.
"Longoria encouraged the crowd to start serving by volunteering at after-school programs, donating books to libraries, donating supplies, painting a classroom or teaching a class to adult students," stressed the report.
"Make a difference in one child's life," she said to the media. Longoria launched the Eva Longoria Foundation last year which focuses on helping Latinas and education.
Chelsea talks about a lifetime of public service
"Chelsea Clinton's speech echoed Longoria's, talking about how her parents, Bill and Hillary Clinton, inspire her every day to serve others," added MSN. "It's so awesome to see so much enthusiasm in this room today," she said to cheers from the crowd. "This day in particular has a lot of meaning to me." Clinton said that she was proud of her father, who 19 years ago signed a bill that made Martin Luther King Jr. Day a day of national service."
We remember Martin Luther King, Jr.
"When he signed the bill he reminded us of what Dr. King often called life's most persistent and urgent question: 'What are you doing for others?' And in my family there is only one wrong answer to that, which is 'nothing," according to Chelsea.
Clinton, who will be taking part in a service project with her husband, Marc, recalled her grandmother Dorothy Rodham who started volunteering when she was a child. Rodham spent her life supervising school trips, mentoring, knitting clothes for her church or donating money to the Big Sisters and Big Brothers, stated MSN.
Vice President Joe Biden's son, Beau Biden, took the stage after Clinton, reminding everyone to lend a helping hand to the country's veterans, added MSN. "Biden, who serves as Delaware's attorney general, said that the nation's servicemen were a living inspiration to him," according to MSN. "Whether it's a 17-year old boy reporting for basic training after begging his mom to sign a waiver to allow him to join or the national guardsmen who leaves his home and his family as the storm approaches … servicemen and women and their families are living monuments to that service," added Beau Biden.
Beau Biden spotlights volunteerism
Biden said that in spite of talks of how divided the nation was, more and more Americans are coming forward to serve each other every day, according to the report. "Volunteerism is at a five-year high," he said, adding that Americans spent eight billion hours in 2011 giving back to their communities, enough hours to build the entire Empire State Building more than a thousand times over.
Inauguration kicks off
The president kicked of the three-day inaugural celebrations by volunteering at Burrville Elementary school in Washington. The president, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, joined a group of 500 volunteers to spruce up the school.
The idea for the National Day of Service goes back to 2009, before Obama's first inauguration. At that time, he had volunteered at a homeless shelter for teens and visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Staten Islanders you can get involved not just today but ongoing on our local efforts to aid in Sandy relief through drives at your local church or synagogue or in assistance in volunteering at FEMA, The American Red Cross, and other participating organizations. Teachers let's make a difference today and on an ongoing basis around Staten Island. It's not too late!