Martin Luther King Day of Service

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, January 21, 2013, is an ideal opportunity to highlight the importance of mentoring. Use the day to honor mentors in your community, recruit new mentors, provide training to mentoring programs or encourage mentor pairs to serve together. Visit www.mlkday.gov for more information, toolkits, and curriculums.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"

Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.

The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.

Initiated by Congress in 1994, King Day of Service aims to transform the federal holiday honoring Dr. King into a national day of community service grounded in his teachings of nonviolence and social justice. Instead of being just another day off from school or work, the holiday gives people of all ages and backgrounds a chance to come together to strengthen their community, bridge social barriers and move our nation closer to the "beloved community" that Dr. King envisioned.

There are several ways to help. For example, your organization can:
  • Sponsor and organize a single service project.
  • Sponsor and organize a variety of service projects.
  • Form teams to volunteer and find a MLK Day service project in your area.

10 Activities Mentors and Mentees Can Do Together to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Legacy
  1. Recruit and train volunteers to be mentors or tutors
  2. Host discussions about Dr. King's life and teachings and principles of non-violence or community challenges and ways to address them
  3. Provide job readiness training in resume writing, interview skills, or dressing for success
  4. Provide food assistance by serving meals at a homeless shelter, bringing meals to homebound neighbors, or organizing a food donation drive
  5. Improve children’s quality of life by building a playground, running a day camp for children with working parents, or devising craft projects for children in hospitals
  6. Provide assistance to families and neighbors by helping low-income families find free tax preparation services and take advantage of the earned income tax credit; shoveling elderly neighbors' walkways, clearing leaves, or helping with other yard maintenance; participating in or create a neighborhood watch program
  7. Improve health outcomes by arranging a health fair, organizing a blood donor drive, or registering bone marrow and organ donors
  8. Beautify the community by removing graffiti from a building and paint a mural; creating community green spaces by planting trees, grass, and flowers; or reclaiming a park or abandoned space for community use
  9. Prepare the community for emergency and crisis situations by distributing fire safety information and check for working smoke detectors, making and distributing disaster preparedness kits, or hosting workshops on how to prevent foreclosure in communities disproportionately affected
  10. Keep the community connected by teaching neighbors how to surf the Internet and use email, making a public space accessible for the disabled neighbors, or developing your own ideas by considering your community’s particular needs


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