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MLK Day

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is all about individuals serving in whatever capacity they can - as Dr. King said, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” Service doesn’t have to be formal and volunteering on Monday doesn’t necessarily have to be connected to an official MLK Day event. When you visit Serve.gov to find volunteer opportunities and other resources you will notice that there is a lot of language around “service projects.” So what exactly is a service project? A service project is your way of giving back to the community.

Monday is the Martin Luther King Day of Service – people across the country will come together to honor Dr King by serving in their communities. We want to hear from you and how you plan to serve - or you can check in next week and let us know how your service project went.

Yesterday, the President and the First Lady dedicated their morning to serving the community here in DC.

This morning the President, First Lady and their family visited So Others Might Eat, an organization dedicated to helping people get off the streets – the first family served food to homeless and hungry men, women and children. “Dr. King dedicated his life to advancing social justice and equal opportunity for all,” President Obama said. “But more than forty years after his death, there is still much work left to be done. Through service, we honor his legacy by helping our neighbors, strengthening our communities and meeting the challenges we face together. I encourage all Americans to not only continue Dr. King’s work through service today, but to make service a part of your lives every day.”

We want to share with you an idea of what is happening across the country today - this is just a glimpse at the 10,000+ service projects found in serve.gov/MLKDay.

Like Martin Luther King, Jr., I was born and raised in Atlanta. I am fortunate, however, that because of Dr. King’s tireless contributions to the betterment of humanity, he and I knew and loved two very different Atlantas. But long before there was a federal holiday or the national day of service or even before Stevie Wonder’s harmonious “Happy Birthday” homage to the fallen drum major for justice, Atlanta honored her favorite native son.

This morning over 200 volunteers arrived at the Sunlight Foundation in Washington, DC to code for the crisis in Haiti. Convened by CrisisCamp DC, volunteers are collaborating on technology projects that aim to assist in Haiti's relief efforts by providing data, information, maps and technical assistance to NGOs, relief agencies and the public.

During my relatively brief tenure in Washington, I have had the privilege of working with technology professionals who share a sense of purpose that often extends beyond corporate walls and into their local communities. This year, the Administration wants to tap into that spirit of generosity by collaborating with the Corporation for National and Community Service during the MLK Day of Service to launch the MLK Technology Challenge (on Twitter: #MLKTech). Our goal is to connect technologically thirsty schools and non-profits with IT and web professionals, developers, graphic designers, and new-media professionals who are willing to volunteer their skills for the common good.

Helping homeless veterans get off the streets feels like work Duane Magee was made to do, and his
tireless quest puts him behind the wheel for thousands of miles each year to find them. He is living
proof to vets that recovery from homelessness and incarceration is possible because their story is his
story, and his quiet mission to assist them led to his nomination for a 2012 Martin Luther King Drum
Major for Service Award.

James “Major” Adams was raised on Chicago's Westside and served in the Army during World War II. When he completed his military service, Adams returned to Chicago and worked for various agencies including Jane Addams' Hull House, one of the city's oldest social and human services programs.

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