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Celebrating Dr. King by Serving Children

Building stronger communities by volunteering

"Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

See also: Martin Luther King Jr.'s living legacy.

That simple yet powerful statement from Martin Luther King Jr. calls us to action as we celebrate Dr. King’s birthday. It reminds us that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time not only to reflect but also to rededicate ourselves to lifting lives and building stronger communities.

This idea of service — of giving back — is central to AARP. That is why Experience Corps, a program in which volunteers age 55 and older tutor and mentor young children, is now part of AARP.

AARP has been actively involved in promoting the protection of programs that help young people, such as S-CHIP — the State Children’s Health Insurance Program — and Medicaid. 

AARP Experience Corps focuses on literacy because we know the critical connection between reading levels and success in life. Today almost 70 percent of our nation’s children reach the fourth grade unable to read at a proficient level and these youngsters are four times more likely to drop out of school. 

Whether it is building literacy skills or helping a child in another way, each of us has the power to be a positive presence and make a lasting difference in the life of a youngster facing difficult challenges.

Each of us can connect to a child in need. Each of us can help that child visualize and believe in and strive for a promising future.

Even as we recognize the vital role of government, we know that the bricks and mortar to build communities of opportunity will come not only from compassionate public policy, but from private acts of generosity as well. 

As we work to set our youngsters on a path to success, we understand that progress may not come in a straight line. It takes hard work to make change, to defy odds, to truly overcome. 

Next: Seeing positive changes>>

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