A Heart Full of Grace
I cannot think of a more appropriate weekend to do my first Habitat build. Every year we get a day off from school to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., but how often do we use the holiday to honor his memory and participate in service? MLK sparked the conscience of a generation and encouraged others to serve their communities in the fight against poverty. This year, I joined that fight at the Build a Block Blitz Build.
As I was (unsuccessfully) hammering nails into a roof frame on a brisk January afternoon, the significance of my work hit me. Even though I would leave the site having only completed a tiny piece of the house-building puzzle, I knew I had contributed to one of the largest Habitat for Humanity initiatives in history. The Blitz Build was an ambitious project that brought together more than 280 UNC students, faculty and staff over the MLK weekend to build two houses from ground to roof for lower-income UNC employees and their families.
Many of the university employees we are building houses for this year have never before been able to call a house their own. Now they will have a backyard in which to keep a garden. Now their children will have a neighborhood playground in which to run around with friends. Now all of their family members will be able to have their own rooms.
I joined MLK’s fight against poverty at the Blitz Build, but I won't stop there. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the MLK holiday and the launch of the MLK 25 Challenge, "a call to all Americans to honor Dr. King by pledging to take at least 25 actions during 2011 to make a difference for others and strengthen our communities." I plan to meet this challenge by taking advantage of all of the great service opportunities available in the Carolina community and spending many more weekends at the Build a Block site. I’m just starting to get the hang of hammering in nails and I need to go back to keep improving my construction skills!
I challenge all of you to join me in this challenge and volunteer with Build a Block. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "Everybody can be great because anybody can serve…you only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
To learn more about the MLK 25 Challenge, visit http://mlkday.gov/twentyfive.
Thanks to the Corporation for National and Community Service for the information on MLK Day and the MLK 25 Challenge.