BY DAN SAVAGE, OrlandoMagic.com
ORLANDO – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words are etched in history and elements of his message are interwoven into the fabric of culture throughout the United States of America.
His impact was so great that over the course of the last 30 years, people throughout the country have paused on MLK Day, reflected on creating systemic change, and used the holiday as a day of service. After all, as King once pronounced in a memorable 1957 speech, “life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
The Orlando Magic took those words to heart and honored his legacy through an MLK Week of Service this year. The Magic’s entire staff – close to 300 employees – volunteered at 16 different organizations for a total of nearly 1,000 hours as they undertook projects throughout the Central Florida community.
“It’s always so important to be able to give back, to be able to share, (and) to be able to care,” said Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley, who along with his staff spent time running a basketball clinic at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida during the week (photos above/in link). “To be able to show how much the community impacts us and how much we want to be able to impact the community. It’s about being able to spread and share joy and love and connect with as many people as possible to bring as many people together as possible.”
Over the course of the five days, the Magic participated in projects benefiting 16-plus organizations, including A Gift for Teaching, Boys & Girls Club, Center for Independent Living, Clean the World, Christian Services Center, Habitat for Humanity, Harbor House, Magic of Mentoring, Mustard Seed of Central Florida, Pathlight HOME, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Pet Alliance, Quest Camp Thunderbird, Salvation Army of Central Florida, Second Harvest Food Bank, and United Against Poverty.
“It is so amazing,” said Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando Volunteer Coordinator Alyssa Bajek. “The Magic are going above and beyond. They are really being our community team. It really is the Orlando Magic. They are helping out all of Central Florida in so many ways. We are so thankful for what they are doing.”
While the Magic certainly ramped up their community efforts for the MLK Week of Service, their efforts in the community are felt throughout the year.
On an annual basis, the Magic give more than $2 million to the local community by way of sponsorships of events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise and grants. Magic community relations programs impact an estimated 100,000 kids each year, while a Magic staff-wide initiative provides more than 7,000 volunteer hours annually. In addition, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) which serves at-risk youth, has distributed more than $27 million to local nonprofit community organizations over the last 32 years.