A Day Of Service and Empowerment

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Today I spent the morning with Forever Ready Productions documenting the work of employees and their families from AutoZone as they helped clean the building that will house Room In The Inn – Memphis (coordinated by Volunteer Odyssey).


8-year-old Turner Knotnow summed up MLK’s question very easily this morning.

“I’m cleaning these windows in here and trying to make it look nice for people who don’t have a home.” said Turner Koltnow. “I like volunteering. It’s pretty nice.”

He spent the morning volunteering with his mom and brother at Room In The Inn. It was a part of a volunteer day with AutoZone, coordinated by Volunteer Odyssey.

Fitting enough, it was scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  A day devoted to service projects, honoring his life and remembering the challenge he set before us years ago.

“I like serving because it’s helpful and I get to meet nice people,” said Turner.

But his mother brought him because it was a chance to serve together and instill values in him to continue a life of service.

“We are honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by doing a service project with Room In The Inn. And I am so excited to have the opportunity to do the project with my son’s. Turner who is 8 and Max who is 5 years old,” said Jenny Koltnow.

Dozens of others shared in the experience with their kids (who also had the day off from school) and by the afternoon the place was cleaned up, clothes were organized and there was a feeling of accomplishment.

“All those little things add up and they really matter, they really matter to someone. It doesn’t have to be big heroic acts. It’s a matter of taking a little time here and there. And all those things add up over time. So they too can adopt that same interest in giving back and helping others,” said Jenny.

It’s nice to see a local corporation make time for their employees to volunteer. They hired Volunteer Odyssey to plan and coordinate the day of service.  All they had to do was show up and do work.  The day was documented by Forever Ready Productions and will be edited into a video for them to share with friends and family.

It used to be (and sometimes still is) perceived that sharing about your volunteering experience was really just a way to brag about how awesome you are and the work that you’re doing.  But over time that has changed. Social media is now a tool of empowerment. Now it’s more about being a voice for the organization you’re helping and showing your friends and family that they can get involved too.


“Focusing on the needs of other people and bring to their attention what’s really going on in the community that we live and that we can’t take what we have for-granted,” said Jenny.

It’s amazing to see kids learning at a young age that giving back to their community only helps to make it better. It is in showing them that a day off can be spent helping others that we can all learn too.

Martin Luther King Jr. lived a life of service and fought for the freedom of equal rights for all. It’s only fitting that we spend an entire day dedicating our time to giving back.

That’s empowering.

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