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United We Serve Team

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. Service projects don’t have to be huge events – they can be something as simple as preparing a meal for your local soup kitchen or shoveling your neighbor’s sidewalk.

If you would prefer to simply show up on Monday and help out – there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved. Across the country, AmeriCorps programs, cities and non profits are holding service events and are looking for people to get involved.

If you are still scratching your head about how to get involved – here are some more ideas:

  • Offer to babysit for a friend who doesn’t have the King Holiday off and his/her day care center is closed.
  • Organize your friends to clean your neighborhood park on Saturday.
  • Reach out to a non-profit and let them know you want to start volunteering with them later in the spring.

Use your service project as a way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and teachings and to transform his message into community service that helps solve some of our nation’s most intractable problems. Communities nationwide need our help more than ever – kick off a year of service this MLK Day.

Find a volunteer opportunity at serve.gov/mlkday – or just take us up on one of our suggestions and do it yourself. We want to hear from you and about your service project – share your story at serve.gov/share.

Keywords: MLK Day
In 2007 we started the Boston Latin School Youth Climate Action Network as a student led extracurricular club devoted to helping the environment.
In addition to sharing a visual impairment, students in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Form in Art program also share a great enthusiasm for art, as is demonstrated by these works from their annual exhibition on display through August 2009.
Working for a company for 25 years shows loyalty—volunteering for an organization for 25 years is much more than just loyalty. It is dedication, selflessness, and passion for what one does. Wanda Allen-Yearout is one of only a few individuals with this huge accomplishment, but she is very modest about it.
Employees at more than 500 Verizon locations donated over half a million dollars worth of school supplies in just three weeks.
On Monday, Secretary Vilsack was in Zanesville, Ohio for a Rural Tour town hall focusing on green jobs and a new energy economy. After the forum, the Secretary visited Maple Terrace, a public housing facility for low-income senior citizens. He led an interfaith service event highlighting President Obama’s United We Serve volunteerism initiative. Secretary Vilsack joined local Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders to distribute energy-efficient Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) to Maple Terrace residents.
When Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated asked its members to support United We Serve’s Summer Service Initiative, the ladies of the Xi Zeta Omega Chapter located in Washington, DC, joined right in to provide “service to all mankind.”
The University Muslim Medical Association (UMMA) Community Clinic is the first full-time community health center in the United States established by Muslims.
We had a great time in Lockwood on the last day of our Fire Ready Montana tour! It was a beautiful day and all the local fire and emergency officials were there, along with several community booths. Residents came out with their kids to meet Smokey Bear and enjoy the fire truck demonstrations. It truly was a community event!
“We were called the ‘Mylar Boys.’ It was like a club.”
“We hope you will join us in our efforts to prevent the spread of malaria. It’s as simple as this: one bag saves one life,” says Leah.
As an AmeriCorps Associate at the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW) in Binghamton, NY, Dan launched the Dumpster Kitchen and pushed his community to see "waste" in a new light.
Students at Von Steuben High School painted a 15-foot mural depicting their experiences at Foster Beach in Chicago. The mural is a daily reminder of more than six years of monthly stewardship and seasonal adventures. “I like knowing that the trash we help to remove from the beach makes things better,” says teacher CarolLynn Chmielewski, who has headed the Von Steuben High School Environmental Action Club in adopting and caring for Foster Beach.
The Sharing the Harvest Community Farm Project is a collaboration between the Dartmouth YCMA and the Greater New Bedford Hunger Commission of Southeastern Massachusetts, a program of the United Way.
After visiting with the President, I realized that volunteering here gives me the opportunity to, in a small way, repay those individuals who were so helpful to me during my crisis. Volunteerism also helps satisfy a need to be involved in solving some of the problems that we face in our community. In my case, delivering meals to the homebound has provided me the opportunity to serve longer.
Dr. Johari R.: "I consider helping people to find work as a ministry."
Volunteers participated as victims in a simulated poisonous gas release. They went through triage on site then were transported to hospitals on both sides of the river. Afterwards several answered questions about their experience.
Senior citizens in Butte, Montana, shared their skills and talents with young campers learning to make crafts as part of the RSVP program.
Sara shares the story of Andrea, a guidance counselor at Vero Beach Elementary School, who used her time off this summer to volunteer with the Social Entrée Meals program at the Senior Resource Association of Indian River County, Florida.
UPS human resource employees had an opportunity to spend an afternoon working with Women on the Rise, an organization that supports parenting and early childhood education.
These are the moments that make our job worth it. At any other camp, these kids would've been sent home days ago, but that's not true with us. We'll find some way to make it work. Because every kid deserves a chance to go to summer camp.
Volunteering at the Chicago Christian Industrial League was the first time I have ever worked side-by-side with someone who was in need. As we worked together, she showed me more than how to size up men with proper amounts of chili. She also showed me the heart of CCIL.
On August 27, 2009, I took part in United We Serve Safety and Security Week by touring our new Volunteer Reception Center, housed in the new Salvation Army Family Services Building.
I have gotten more out of seeing the residences' smiles, their excitement, their love than I really can explain in words.
What started as a dozen families dancing in the woods turned into a major charitable organization - the Western Fraternal Life Association. Recently they mobilized their community to save antiques and educate local youth in the process.
Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls works with congregations and faith communities to promote peace, understanding and respect among people of all faiths and within the greater Saint Louis metro area.
“With Ike’s devastation still so fresh on everyone’s mind, we are experiencing an increase in interest from people that desire to participate in training,” said Mark Sloan. “Current students in our class feel we are giving them more insight and greater ability to respond to disasters.”
These students found out what was important to members of their community and helped people dig deeper.
A Francophonic team of expert planners has developed a free, ultra low-tech, easy-to-make solution for students with the "I forgot my homework again" blues. Read the story and check out the video.
Cisco employees decided that they wanted to “make an impact” and not just “write a check” for the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens in downtown San Jose, an area maintained entirely by volunteers. Thirty-eight Cisco employees rolled up their sleeves to clean and provide maintenance for the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens.
Joel Berg at the New York City Coalition Against Hunger works with community volunteers in 3 New York City neighborhoods to organize Community Supported Agriculture Projects - programs that make farm fresh produce accessible and affordable for all income levels.

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