An opportunity to serve the community
President Obama's second inauguration and Martin Luther King Day are today, a coincidental acknowledgement of the inherent significance of America's first black president.
And the perfect way to observe that significance is answering both men's common call for Americans to engage in community service.
Young Americans, especially, hear that call. According to the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, in Pennsylvania alone about 30 percent of students between 16 and 18 volunteered last year. In some states, that number ranged as high as 45 percent.
That number has been flat in recent years, however, partially because many schools have cut back on service programs, providing fewer organized efforts to harness kids' energy for the community's good.
Dr. King and Mr. Obama both have led from the grassroots up and both have stressed the need for civic engagement. If more schools and other adult-run enterprises make opportunities available, more young people will answer the call, to the benefit of themselves, the enterprise an the nation.