image MLK JRMartin Luther King Day was what many would call a perfect day; not too hot, not too cold, a cool breeze every so often, and the sun peaking through. For many it was a day off from work. For many it was also a day to remember a man who was a part of a community and took many chances to bring about change. Right here, in Sarasota, on a piece of land called Dr. Martin Luther King Park, hundreds of people came together to remember the late Dr. King through his own words, singing, dancing, and enjoying food from our local restaurants. Volunteers organized by AmeriCorps Serving Suncoast Seniors read books to children in the youth area and everyone was welcome to participate in the creation of a mural to be displayed around the city. SCOPE was there to engage with community members, provide opportunities for constructive ideas to turn into action and celebrate this great community of which we are a part.

The theme for this year’s MLK Day Celebration, organized by the Greater Newtown Redevelopment Corporation, was “What are you doing to make a difference in your community?” SCOPE invited people who came by our booth to answer this question on video. Community members spoke about taking out the trash for a disabled neighbor, feeding the homeless, cleaning up their neighborhood or singing in their church choir. Almost all were under the age of 15. They all said they did what they did to make the place they live in better.

We live in a community full of possibility. How do we keep young people inspired to make Sarasota County an even better place? What do we have to celebrate every day? What are you doing to make a difference in your community?