Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described a “fierce urgency of now” when he spoke at the March on Washington in 1963. Now, nearly 60 years later, his words have renewed meaning. They remind us we are stronger when we march forward, together.
In recognition of Dr. King’s legacy of service and leadership to gain equality for all Americans, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday as a national day of service in 1994. AmeriCorps leads the effort each year.
Observed each year on the third Monday in January — which falls on Jan. 17 in 2022 — the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. Since its inception, MLK Day of Service has grown and its impact has increased as more Americans embraced the idea that citizenship involves taking an active role to make communities better.
Serving on MLK Day can be an entry point for ongoing volunteer effort and help build connections that strengthen communities. Through service we can build more equitable and just communities to underpin racial equity, expand civic opportunities, and foster respect for individual differences — all great lessons for our children.
Here are some age-appropriate ideas you can do from home:
Kindergarten - 2nd Grades
- Make cards or pictures for nursing home residents locally or find letter requests here!
- Fill Little Free Libraries or Little Free Pantries
- Package care bags for people without housing or otherwise in need
- Collect old towels and blankets and deliver to an animal shelter
3rd - 5th Grades
- Make easy, no-sew fleece blankets for children in local hospitals
- Collect and sort school supplies and create kits to benefit a local shelter or library
- Rake leaves or shovel snow for elderly or disabled neighbors
- Organize a sock drive and donate to those in need
6th Grade and Up
- Participate in charity walks or runs
- Foster a pet as a family
- Make and donate masks to local family shelters
- Start a club at your school that promotes volunteerism throughout the year
- Initiate a park clean up or beautification project
- Install a buddy bench at a school