January celebrates the birthdays of two extraordinary individuals who have made lasting impacts on society: Martin Luther King Jr., born on January 15, 1929, and Elvis Presley, born on January 8, 1935. As we step into the new year, let’s honor their legacies and embrace fresh beginnings with activities that reflect on leadership, music, and the spirit of renewal:
NEW YEAR, RENEWED HOPES: VISION BOARD CREATION – Embrace the spirit of the new year with a vision board creation session. Encourage participants to express their aspirations, hopes, and dreams for the upcoming year through images and words. Share stories and discuss the power of visualization in achieving goals.
“I HAVE A DREAM” RETROSPECTIVE – Revisit Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech with participants. Host a retrospective session, listening to excerpts and reflecting on the enduring relevance of his words. Encourage participants to share their thoughts and memories related to this historic speech.
ELVIS ROCK AND ROLL DANCE SOCIAL – Organize a seated rock and roll dance social. Play Elvis’s lively tunes and encourage participants to move and sing along to the music while seated. Provide simple props like scarves or hats for added fun.
GRACELAND VIRTUAL TOUR – Take a virtual tour of Graceland with this 45-minute visual and audio tour. Explore the rooms, the Jungle Room, and the Meditation Garden, all from the comfort of your community. Learn more about the place Elvis called home.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DOCUMENTARY VIEWING – Organize a screening of a documentary highlighting key moments in Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and the civil rights movement. Foster discussions about the challenges faced, victories achieved, and the ongoing fight for justice.
BOOK CLUB: NEW YEAR, NEW READ – In your community’s book club, focus on literature that inspires personal growth and reflection. Choose books like The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg or Atomic Habits by James Clear to spark discussions on positive habits and resolutions.
DREAM BOARD WORKSHOP – Facilitate a dream board or journaling workshop. Encourage participants to write or draw about their own dreams for a better world, drawing inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision. Discuss the power of collective dreams and how each person can contribute to realizing Dr. King’s dream.ELVIS MOVIE MARATHON – Host an Elvis Presley movie marathon all month, featuring an Elvis film each week such as 1961’s Blue Hawaii and 1964’s Viva Las Vegas. From the energetic 1957 film Jailhouse Rock to the romantic 1956 film Love Me Tender, follow along in the cinematic journey of the King.
BLUE SUEDE SHOE CRAFT – Get creative with a blue suede shoe craft activity where participants each decorate a blank outline of a pair of shoes with various craft supplies to make their own symbolic blue suede shoes. You can print out this template for participants to use for the activity. While they work on the project, play Elvis’s classic “Blue Suede Shoes” and other hits to foster a fun and lively atmosphere and then display their finished artwork for the rest of the community.
MARTIN LUTHER KING-INSPIRED POETRY READING – Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy through a poetry reading session. Share poems inspired by the civil rights movement as featured at the Poetry Foundation website, or invite participants to create their own poetry reflecting on the themes of justice, equality, and hope.
Challenge your group to see if they know these fun facts about the King of Rock and Roll!
- What was Elvis Presley’s middle name? Aaron
- In which year was Elvis Presley born? 1935
- What was the title of Elvis Presley’s first hit in 1956? “Heartbreak Hotel”
- What is the name of Elvis Presley’s mansion in Memphis, Tennessee? Graceland
- Which branch of the military did Elvis serve in? U.S. Army
- What was the name of Elvis Presley’s manager? Colonel Tom Parker
- Where was the final concert Elvis performed? Market Square Arena in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977
- What was the name of Elvis Presley’s only child? Lisa Marie Presley
- Which movie marked Elvis Presley’s film debut? Love Me Tender in 1956
- What TV program did Elvis perform on three times from 1956 to 1957?The Ed Sullivan Show
THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.” ~ Elvis Presley
“The Dreamer and the King” was written by Danielle Goodman. Copyright 2023 Emerald Workshop LLC. All rights reserved. Visit us at www.eldersong.com
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