Newsletter: Not-So-New Math: Hope + Action = A Better World

by Sharon Gavin

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hope is an odd thing; it’s a word that mingles optimism with uncertainty. Nietzsche called hope both "the worst of all evils" and "a much greater stimulant of life than any realized joy could be." (Philosophers!)

Science tells us that hope is “not just an emotion, it is a dynamic, powerful, and pervasive cognitive process” that has a definite role in “sustaining innovation during major changes.”

Hope fueled the speeches and writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., and helped him and those involved in the civil rights movement work to ensure that every American has “the untrammeled opportunity to fulfill his or her individual capacity without regard to race, creed, color” or any other qualifier.

And today hope fuels the actions of millions of volunteers who work to redress poverty through education, build community through civic engagement, and foster peace through nonviolent action.

You can demonstrate your hope for a better world by volunteering on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 18; Oregon Volunteers has provided funding for 10 MLK, Jr. Day projects throughout the state. Coordinated by National Service participants, most of these projects have completed their volunteer recruitment – a testament to the ability of national service members to Get Things Done! However, there are a number of service projects throughout Oregon that need volunteers; you can also create a project to address a need you see in your community.

Hope does not change the world, but hope changes us. It challenges us to take action, and our actions change the world. But it all starts with hope…we hope you’ll decide to make the King Day of Service “A Day On, Not A Day Off.”

Posted on January 13, 2010 in Volunteering, Civic Engagement.