The Independence Human Relations Commission sponsored two essay contests in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The winning essays, with the theme “Serving Others,” were read at the annual King Celebration at the Truman Memorial Building on Jan. 17.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, “Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

If you have to think about it, it’s not enough. I believe serving others is a key role in our society. Little things can make a difference. Little acts of kindness and love don’t take much, serving in a soup kitchen, fundraisers for charity, donating clothes, giving blood or volunteering at an animal shelter. Anything. Just take a moment out of your day and put others first. Serving others is to be selfless and putting forth your greatest determination to help the lives of all things around you and not to expect anything in return.

What if everybody set out and made an effort to do something for others? Can you imagine how different the world would be? Opening the doors for others as they walk by. What about shoveling an elderly neighbor’s driveway on a snowy day? We can serve others every day by simply being kind. Don’t look for rewards, put that all aside. The biggest pleasure we could ever receive is getting that ultimate satisfaction when we know we have impacted someone’s life, even if it was just making them smile. A simple hello can brighten someone’s day.

You know, you don’t have to go out and join all those big associations. You can help the people around you. Giving an extra hand when your parents are doing house work, help a friend with their homework, or visiting your grandparents, are all easy ways to show your love and appreciation towards them. Anybody can do these things. Whether you’re 13, 30 or 83, love somebody. Make a difference. So, what are you doing for others?