By Eliza Collison
We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.
– Nelson Mandela
July 18th marks Nelson Mandela Day; a day of service honoring the late Nelson Mandela, whose mantra and way of life followed three points: free yourself, free others, and serve everyday. The overall objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere. Helene Hoedl, Deputy Director of the UN Information Center remarked “We will continue to work with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to ensure that the day is commemorated and continues to inspire the world to make these values a part of culture everywhere.”
Service as a lifelong path
ICP recognizes that young people greatly benefit from the power of participating in service and becoming civically engaged in their communities. Programs, such as SummerTrek, hope to inspire young people to know their communities-assets and challenges-and take a proactive stance in building them. The impact this program goes beyond its six week duration, however. As these students continue their education, ICP works to ignite an interest in civic engagement not only in their own community, but also the world. It is our desire that these students go on to become committed to service and giving back continuously. These achievements would be meaningful to Mr. Nelson Mandela who in a speech at Hyde Park in London in June 2008 addressed the next generation directly saying “it is in your hands now.” SummerTrek puts necessary interests, skills, and expertise in the hands of these “Trekkers” to become the problem-solving leaders he envisioned.
In a similar manner, the hope is that those who are involved on Mandela Day will be inspired to give back to their communities not only on one day, but also for the rest of their lives. Many wonder how they can become more engaged in their community or where to start. Both ICP and the late Mr. Nelson Mandela believe that commitment to start small and build on experiences in service in order to inspire young people and others to give back, and give often over the course of their lives.
The late Mr. Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life to the struggle for social justice. Can you spare 67 minutes of yours to support a service project or volunteer in your local community? You may discover that a day of volunteering can in fact set you on a lifelong path of service.
For more information on Mandela Day and ways to get involved visit: http://www.mandeladay.com/static/about-mandela-day
“Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.”