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Momentum is Building for the 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

by Sandy Scott

Now is a great time to start planning a King Holiday project and I thought I would share this email from our Acting CEO, Nicola Goren:

Dear Colleagues:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Life’s most urgent and persistent question is: What are you doing for others?”  He devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and opportunity for all and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be. 

The upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, taking place on January 18, 2010, provides an ideal opportunity to answer Dr. King’s challenge.  By making King Day “a day on, not a day off,” and using the holiday as a springboard for service throughout the year, we can help realize Dr. King’s dream and renew our communities and country. 

As leaders in the service and volunteering field, I hope that you are planning to participate, either by organizing your own project or joining with an existing effort.   Service on the King Holiday is not just an appropriate way to honor Dr. King, it is an important opportunity to bring in new volunteers, partners, and funders that can provide resources to support your organization’s work throughout the year. 

The 15-year effort to transform the King Holiday into a national day of service took an exponential leap forward last year, when then President-elect Obama asked Americans to serve and made the King Day of Service a centerpiece of his Inauguration.  This year’s King Day of Service, part of the United We Serve initiative, is a key opportunity to build on last year’s success and encourage compassion and generosity at a time of continuing economic and social need.

Planning for the 2010 King Day of Service began last summer and the momentum is building.  With the support of our lead partner the King Center, the leadership of our national King Day of Service grantees, and the organizing efforts of nonprofit, national service, corporate, education, faith-based, and community groups across the country, the 2010 King Day is shaping up to be the strongest ever.  To maximize participation, we want to engage the entire national service network, and encourage organizations new to King Day to get involved.

To help you, we have assembled a comprehensive set of resources at MLKDay.gov. This site has everything you need to plan a King Day project - including tips on getting started, building partnerships, organizing the day, fundraising, and MLK Day mobilization resources. You’ll also find a service-learning guide for schools and organizations, project examples, and marketing tools to help promote your project.

To make it easy to register or find a King Day project, we are using the All for Good volunteer search tool that is on SERVE.gov.  This tool collects and displays volunteer opportunities submitted by other volunteer search engines and other organizations, and we have launched a specific King Day search tool at SERVE.gov/MLKDay.  When posting your MLK Day volunteer opportunity with one of the partner web sites that feed All for Good, please make sure to tag your opportunity with one of the following keywords: MLK, MLK Day of Service, MLK Day 2010, or Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.  Click here for more details.

In short, we hope you will take three steps: 

1.       Plan or connect with a King Day of Service project in your community
2.       Register your project on the www.SERVE.gov/MLKDay website; and
3.       Encourage your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors to join your project or get involved.

As the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service, the King Day of Service has enormous potential to grow.  It is a reminder that America is made stronger when citizens come together and that service is integral to meeting national challenges.  With your help, we can mobilize more Americans to serve their communities and move us closer to Dr. King’s dream.

If you have questions or need help, please e-mail mlkday@cns.gov or call Rhonda Taylor at 202-606-6721. I look forward to hearing of your accomplishments on King Day and beyond. 

Nicola Goren
Acting Chief Executive Officer
Corporation for National and Community Service

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