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Americans Come Together in Service: MLK Day 2012

by Marco A. Davis

The Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday is a National Day of Service, and a time to re-commit ourselves to serving each other and our communities. This year, CNCS will shine a spotlight on the connection between service and economic opportunity, and promote the MLK Day of Service as the first of many opportunities throughout the year for Americans to come together and tackle critical challenges for the greater good.

On January 16, 2012, Americans across the country will honor Dr. King by helping their neighbors and communities. Led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the MLK Day of Service will include thousands of projects spread across all 50 states and DC.

Families, students, congregations, employees, and individuals of all ages and backgrounds will come together to celebrate MLK Day by making a difference in their communities. Projects will include delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collecting food and clothing, signing up mentors, supporting veterans and military families, promoting nonviolence, and more, with many projects starting on King Day and lasting throughout the year.

This year, CNCS is working on a few signature initiatives. They include:

  • MLK Drum Majors for Service. This initiative provides organizations and groups an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate those volunteers who perform extraordinary everyday acts of service with reliability and commitment, but who seldom receive recognition. Drum Major awardees are presented with a President's Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) through CNCS, for which they receive a personalized certificate of achievement and a congratulatory letter from the President of the United States.
  • MLK Day Curriculum. CNCS has partnered with Scholastic to create and distribute curriculum units for grades 3-5 that focus on Dr. King's legacy of service. The curriculum presents the idea of service through the lenses of language arts, social studies and science.
  • MLK Day Legacy of Service Videos and PSA. New videos and television and radio PSAs featuring civil rights leaders including Congressman John Lewis, civil rights activist Ruby Bridges, Reverend Joseph E. Lowery, and former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford discuss Dr. King's legacy of service and ask all Americans to serve on King Day and beyond.

The best way to honor Dr. King is through service and volunteering in our communities. Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, justice, and economic opportunity for all. He challenged us to build a more perfect union and taught us that everyone has a role to play. Four decades later, we still have work to do to realize Dr. King's dream.

The needs are great, many Americans are facing challenges, and government can't do it alone. We need citizens to help renew our nation and expand equality and opportunity for all. Learn more about how you can get involved on MLK 2012 by visiting mlkday.gov/.

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