Why Doing Good is Good for Kids

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Jim Clark, President & CEO

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put that question to parishioners at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., nearly 60 years ago. Today, his query remains relevant and indispensable. I expect it always will. Monday, we’ll commemorate this great American with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. In communities around the country, we’ll honor Dr. King’s legacy by volunteering our service.

My family and I plan to help out by serving meals at a local homeless shelter. Getting our boys involved in their community is important to my wife, Samantha, and me. We want Chase, 11, and Grayson, 9, to understand the value and necessity of making a difference in the lives of others. It’s an important life lesson. It’s also good for them.

Service Spawns Success

Studies show that young people who engage in service do better in school, maintain positive relationships with adults and peers, avoid risky behaviors and are less likely to drop out of high school – and more likely to graduate – than their peers who do not.

Outcomes like these are why Boys & Girls Clubs work to instill a sense of civic responsibility in the kids we serve. Last year, more than 260,000 Club youth participated in service projects to strengthen communities. Those are amazing numbers. Now, we’re preparing to make an even bigger impact on America’s kids and communities.

Millions Making a Difference

Million Members, Million Hours of Service is a new initiative to involve Club kids in service activities year-round. With support from the Citi Foundation, our more than 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs will work to raise members’ awareness of community service opportunities and provide them with resources to undertake projects for their communities.

Our aim is that at least 1 million members will perform 1 million hours of service within five years. It’s an ambitious goal, no doubt. But consider this: If every Club member contributes just one hour of community service each year, we’ll meet that objective. And you might be surprised at what can be accomplished in a single hour.

This Monday, Boys & Girls Club members will be among the millions of volunteers making a difference across our country. What a perfect way to honor Dr. King’s vision of harnessing the power of volunteering and service to transform communities.

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