Hey Aerie, Fam! This year AE and Aerie are honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by donating $25K to Multiplying Good, a national nonprofit who celebrates public service to inspire greater acts of good across the country. We caught up with their VP of marketing and communications, Amy Reiland to learn more about Multiplying Good, how they’re inspiring today’s youth and how you can get more involved. 

What inspired you to work with Multiplying Good and promote their mission of serving others?

For as long as I can remember, service has been a part of my life. From a young age, I gravitated towards projects and volunteer work that would ultimately help others. From my time as a Girl Scout and helping those in our community, to later being able to give back as a leader and working with the next generation of young female leaders to spending numerous years volunteering in elementary schools, each of these experiences has laid the foundation for my career and my work with nonprofits who want to create a positive change.

When the opportunity came about to join the team at Multiplying Good, I immediately knew this was where I was meant to be. I was drawn to the organization based on their work and how ultimately, they envision a world where service to others motivates everyone to do something that has a positive impact on those around them. The idea of positive encouragement to inspire others really resonates with me as creating a solution for a better world. Multiplying Good knows that we can all create a ripple of good that in turns becomes bigger than each one of us.

What are some of the key ways that Multiplying Good helps inspire and enable youth service?

Multiplying Good is on a mission to create 1,000,000 young leaders and changemakers we so desperately need. Currently, we have built a robust youth program called Students In Action (SIA) that focuses on service, leadership and recognition. Within the program, we focus on training and empowering today’s youth to be leaders, problem solvers, entrepreneurs, and impactful global citizens. 

Each SIA team is comprised of a diverse group of youth and supported by a school advisor, a Multiplying Good program team member, and a community-based coach. Throughout the remainder of the school year, each (SIA) team works to plan and execute high-quality, impactful projects addressing the most pressing needs the team was able to identify within their community.

We also have established our youth-based Think Big Team. This exceptional group of young people is composed of students from around the country that act as a youth advisory board for Multiplying Good. They work to activate service projects country-wide, work in partnership with regional directors to aid with local conferences and establish new programs within the organization for the country’s youth.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Multiplying Good. Can you share if or how its work has evolved over the years?

Initially Multiplying Good (formerly The Jefferson Awards Foundation) was founded during a time when the nation was experiencing widespread turmoil and unrest. Our founders – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft Jr., and Sam Beard – wanted to celebrate and elevate the stories of those performing extraordinary acts of service within their communities and across the nation. Since then, Multiplying Good has evolved from not only recognizing our nation’s trailblazers and local unsung heroes, but to an organization that is centered around training, activation, and recognition.

“The more we are able to bring people into service while magnifying and scaling their efforts, the greater the chance we all have to “multiplying the good” and making the world a better place.”

Tell us about the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a day of national service and how Multiplying Good honors and continues the work of Dr. King.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day embodies the true spirit of service. At Multiplying Good, we believe this is a “Day On” vs a “Day Off” where everyone can spend their time giving back to their various communities. 

While working to honor his legacy, Multiplying Good continues to share with our youth and community about why service matters and the difference service can make when we all work together. This includes helping those individuals seek out ways to give their time and in turn hopefully inspire them to begin an ongoing commitment to service.

“Each action an individual takes lays the groundwork for the future generations and through sharing past stories, we are able to connect the dots along the way and use them as sources of inspiration.”

How would you suggest someone take action to serve others in their community, particularly in the midst of a pandemic?

While the pandemic has thrown all of us a few obstacles and barriers over the last two years, when it comes to connecting and helping others, we have found that service cannot be stopped. 

For those who are not sure where to begin, I recommend first figuring out what they are passionate about and what types of changes they would like to see made within their community. From there, reach out to the local organizations that work within those spaces (homeless centers, pet shelters, disadvantaged youth, etc) and share how they are looking to get involved.

This is a great opportunity to share their own level of interest and time commitment, their own safety requirements (in-person, virtual, socially distanced, etc) and discuss how their individual skills can best help the cause.

“Even from the comfort of our homes we all have the power to serve. All acts of service, no matter the size, are important and needed.”

One wish for the world – what would it be?

That we do the work to become more peaceful and empathetic civilization that continuously strives to help one another. I believe this is possible, but we need to do the work. Dig deeper and realize that extending the even the smallest hand to help one another can make the biggest impact.

A big thanks to Amy for such an inspiring talk! Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by doing an act of service in your community and donate with us at your store or online during checkout. 

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