In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s enduring legacy of service and leadership, Jason Thomas stands out as a beacon of hope and community engagement in Atlanta. His 15-year journey as a volunteer with multiple organizations, including Hands On Atlanta and The King Center, exemplifies a deep commitment to servant leadership, a value that Dr. King himself championed.
“In 2023 alone, I had the chance to serve 12 different organizations in a variety of roles,” Jason shared. “I’ve served in several food pantries. I’ve helped to provide pajamas for kids in the foster care system. I’ve worked with youth who have incarcerated parents. I’ve provided basic necessities for single mothers. I’ve served unhoused men and women in my city. I’ve also provided administrative support with The King Center, specifically recruiting volunteers for the Students with King program as well as MLK Week of Service. Regardless of the organization that I serve, I give my all and love every chance that I get to help people.”
Jason’s involvement with various Atlanta-based organizations highlights his dedication to addressing some of the most pressing needs in the community. From fighting food insecurity with Urban Recipe and Second Helpings Atlanta to delivering hope and support with Hugs and Hope and the Westside Future Fund, his work impacts many lives. His hands-on role in assembling and delivering food boxes is a direct response to the challenge of hunger in the metro Atlanta area, reflecting his commitment to making a tangible difference.
“Food insecurity is such a huge issue in Georgia and I have been fortunate to connect with many organizations working to fight it,” Jason said. “Nearly 10% of our state’s population identifies as being food insecure and nearly one in eight children struggle with this issue. Food is a basic human right and I’m grateful to do my part to work towards solving it.”
Jason’s partnership with The King Center is particularly significant as he aids in volunteer management for various projects, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Day and King Observance Holiday planning. His involvement in these events is more than organizational; it is a tribute to Dr. King’s vision of a “beloved community.” By supporting the Students with King program, he helps foster a new generation of leaders who are educated and inspired by Dr. King’s teachings and legacy.
Jason’s ongoing efforts in community service and his role in coordinating The King Center’s observance activities shine a light on the importance of continuing Dr. King’s mission in our modern world. He feels strongly about individuals getting involved in their communities to help better the world.
“My father introduced me to the teaching of Howard Thurman at a young age,” Jason recalled. “One of his famous quotes sums up my thoughts about this perfectly. He was quoted as saying, ‘Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.’ It’s easy to do things that you’re passionate about. It’s like a cherry on top when you can find the sweet spot where your passions and opportunities meet.”
Beyond his community work, Jason’s role as a baseball coach with the Brookwood Baseball Association showcases his commitment to mentorship and youth development. His involvement in Camp Hope and Hope Heals, alongside his three boys, underscores the importance of instilling values of service and leadership in young minds. These summer programs offer a platform for him to teach and demonstrate the principles of teamwork, perseverance and community responsibility.
Jason’s wide array of volunteer activities embodies the essence of Dr. King’s message of servant leadership. His commitment to serving others and improving his community aligns seamlessly with the ideals celebrated on MLK Day. Through his actions, Jason not only honors Dr. King’s legacy but also keeps the flame of service and leadership burning brightly in the heart of Atlanta.
For those who are considering volunteering, Jason encourages, “Start somewhere. Find a need and meet a need. Wherever you are, with whatever you have. Even if it’s not necessarily your passion, start somewhere doing something for someone. If you’re able to find something that you’re passionate about, that’s great. What’s most important is to jump in and help, no matter how large or small it may seem. You never know the impact that you’ll make and the lives you can change by serving others.”
As this day of service reminds us of the impact one person can have on the world, Jason Thomas stands as a living example of this truth. His dedication to serving his community, nurturing future leaders and coordinating commemorative events for Dr. King reflects an unwavering commitment to the ideals of equality, service and community. In celebrating MLK Day, we recognize not just the monumental legacy of Dr. King, but also the ongoing efforts of individuals like Jason Thomas, who continue to forge paths of service and leadership in their communities.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Jason? Find local volunteer opportunities.