Every January, people around the world honor the legacy and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the United States, many cities have adopted the ‘a day on, not a day off’ mantra urging everyone to take part in a community service activity on the Monday after his birthday. I, along with a dozen teens helped teach kids in Northeast DC about the message of Dr. King through music, dance, painting and story-telling.

The call to action has been contagious with people doing everything from revitalizing schools, serving the homeless, cleaning up litter, visiting the elderly and making crafts for hospitalized children. This is something we should all be proud of.

Then, Tuesday comes. We go back to our routine of work, family, friends, sleep, work, family, friends, and sleep. Time becomes a challenge and giving back on a regular basis, while still a priority, becomes a victim of time. Maybe this is because we think of volunteer work as something that takes a lot of time. We think of it as something that takes hours and hours and hours. When in reality, the beauty of giving back is there are no rules; you can do much as you like and it will still have an impact.

This year, let’s think of ways to give back with the time that we have instead of giving up on giving back because the time we think we don’t have. We can take what we love and turn it in to a community activity. We can incorporate our families, jobs and friends so that in addition to helping out we incorporate those we love in to the equation. It can be anything from serving meals at a local shelter to paying for the coffee of the stranger who realized he forgot his wallet.

Don’t let time be the obstacle. It really is up to you to be the love.

Deesha Dyer lives in Washington, DC. She is currently the Deputy Social Secretary at the White House and a member of the Be the Love team.


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