.New 30-Day Program Honors Martin Luther King Jr in the North Bay

For over 50 years, the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) has empowered individuals and strengthened nonprofit organizations in the North Bay.

The Center’s annual events, such as Heart of Marin and Heart of Napa, support nonprofits of every size and purpose; and CVNL’s other programs include the Sonoma Human Race, its Court Referral Program, and Volunteer Wheels.

Now, CVNL is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr Day this year by inviting the public to take action and help others in their communities, 30 days of action to be exact.

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

Beginning January 18, the Center’s “30 Days of Action” honors the memory and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr with a plan of activity that stretches on through February 18.

“While many see Martin Luther King Jr Day as a day off, we see it as a ‘day on,'” Melinda Earp says in a statement.

Earp is CVNL’s AmeriCorps VISTA member in Marin and Sonoma Counties. Managed by CVNL, AmeriCorps VISTA members directly work with nonprofit organizations and public agencies in their region to generate resources and encourage volunteer service.

“(30 Days of Action) is an opportunity to start your year in the spirit of volunteerism and service, continuing the legacy Dr. King, who spent his life working to better the lives of others,” Earp says.

Working with local partners across the North Bay, Earp and the team at CVNL recently created a 30-day calendar of activities, inspired by Dr. King’s advocacy, running Jan. 18–Feb. 18. The team specifically designed the activities for people of all ages and abilities. Individuals engage in virtual offerings that range from watching a TED Talk, to reading an inspiring article, to volunteering.

As participants complete each day, they will develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation for Dr. King’s legacy and acquire the skills and knowledge to help address current inequities in their community.

In addition to the 30-day program of online activities, AmeriCorps VISTA members work with CVNL each year to create special Martin Luther King Jr Days of Service programs in specific areas of focus. This year, members address food insecurity and youth literacy though an initiative called Operation D.R.E.A.M (Dedicated Readers Excel and Motivate).

In Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties, CVNL is collecting new books and healthy snacks. These items will go in book bags that will also include resources for local food banks and pantries. The goal is to create 500 bags, which will be gifted to North Bay children and teens.

“Our book bags attempt to nourish the minds and bodies of today’s’ youth because access to healthy food and improved literacy improves overall health and creates a sense of empowerment,” AmeriCorps VISTA Member Sophia Luna says in a statement.

North Bay residents can join the Days of Service by donating new books for children or teens, pre-packaged and non-perishable snacks, new bookmarks, or a gift certificates that can go towards these items.

Each bag of gifts will contain approximately $25 worth of books and $10 worth of snacks. Local organizations that work to improve youth literacy and address hunger will distribute the bags. These groups include Bridge the Gap College Prep in Marin City, Napa County Office of Education, and Petaluma People’s Services.

To donate to the book bags, visit volunteer.cvnl.org and click on the “MLK Day” button. To participate in CVNL’s “30 Days of Action,” visit cvnlvolunteers.org/mlk2021.

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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