Plenty of people have opinions about how to “fix the problems” in our society, and while there are many approaches, the goal is always the same: to make the world a better place. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, let’s explore some local nonprofits who are furthering some of his dearly held and oft-expressed necessary functions of society to make the world a better place.
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
College Mentors for Kids’ mission is to connect college students with the most to give to kids who need it most. We bring that mission to life by fostering inspiration to transform lives, education to change attitudes and connections to increase opportunities. Our vision is to help school children look forward sooner and be able to give back later.
A growing nonprofit organization, College Mentors for Kids pairs more than 1,700 first- through sixth-grade children with 1,900 local college student mentors. College Mentors’ signature mentor program has chapters on 23 college and university campuses in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, and Ohio.
Through weekly after-school activities focused on higher education and career, culture and diversity, and community service, mentors help their “Little Buddies” understand the importance of education, show them the benefits to cultural understanding, and teach them ways to give back to their community.
Mentoring relationships are not only beneficial for children, but the college students, as well. Mentors learn about the resources their campus offers, leadership skills and the need for positive role models in their communities.
At College Mentors for Kids, we motivate kids and college students to reach their full potential to positively impact the community.
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Public Allies is a national movement grounded in the conviction that everyone leads. We believe that everyone can make a difference and can work to inspire more citizens to believe in themselves, step up, and act. Throughout our nation’s history, lasting social change has always resulted from the courageous acts of many, not just the inspiration of the few.
The Civil Rights movement, for example, resulted from thousands of individuals throughout communities taking action as much because of the leadership of Martin Luther King and President Lyndon Baines Johnson as because of Rosa Parks. Parks was a seamstress and a volunteer with the NAACP who attended training on nonviolent civil disobedience at The Highlander School before the fateful day she chose to spark a movement. Today, more citizens need to be engaged, skilled, and prepared to lead if we are going to solve our most pressing problems. We believe the leadership that’s needed for this is already resident in communities — it’s only a matter of finding, cultivating, and connecting these leaders. We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.
Love thy Neighbor
“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Southeast Neighborhood Development, Inc. (SEND) is a non-profit community development corporation created by neighbors to revitalize the near southeast side of Indianapolis and to enhance the quality of life for its diverse spectrum of residents. Since 1991, we’ve invested more than $35 million in development projects in our community while improving housing, attracting business and investment, fostering education, sponsoring unique events, and helping spread the word about all the good things going on in our neighborhood.
SEND is a non-profit community development corporation created by residents to revitalize the near southeast side of Indianapolis and to enhance the quality of life of its diverse spectrum of residents.
SEND accomplishes this mission through five areas of activity:
- Creating and maintaining quality affordable housing which enhances the historic fabric of the neighborhood and empowers the poor through the creation of community and family assets.
- Expanding and creating opportunities for neighborhood businesses to grow and prosper.
- Partnering with other organizations to create and implement programs which enable residents to develop the capacity to succeed in a changing society, with a special emphasis on youth.
- Beautifying and enhancing public areas and facilities, as well as upgrading the efficiency of the neighborhood’s infrastructure.
- Serving as an advocate for the interests of the entire community.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Indianapolis Ambassadors is a group of civic-minded individuals who share a goal of helping others and the community of Indianapolis through volunteerism, and of meeting new people with similar interests.
We serve essentially as a ‘temp agency’ for non-profit and civic agencies that need short-term volunteer help, which enables our members to sample a wide variety of volunteer work with no long-term commitment to any one organization.
In addition to the many volunteer events our members may sign up for, we also offer many social and educational events. We also hold monthly meetings in various interesting locations throughout the city, featuring a short talk from a guest speaker as well as announcements and opportunities to sign up for our events.
These are just a few examples of organizations doing good work in our area, and across the country. I encourage you to take the time to find a worthy cause to donate your Time, Talents, or Treasures because if we all pitch in, we can have this old world cleaned up in no time.Sarah Matlock
Owner, Web Design by Sarah
Sarah is the founder and sole proprietor of a small web design business in Indianapolis, IN. She works primarily with local nonprofits and small business in need of web services, like website design or social media management, at affordable rates for those smaller budgets.