MLK Day of Service Unites Americans in Volunteer Service

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Hundreds of thousands join service projects in all 50 states 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, thousands of organizations across the country are preparing to lead Americans in the nation's largest day of civic engagement, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service.
With an emphasis on creating opportunity for all, citizens in all 50 states will deliver meals, refurbish schools and community centers, and collect food and clothing. Volunteers will also recruit mentors, support job-seekers, build homes and provide other services for veterans and military families, and help citizens improve their financial literacy skills.
The MLK Day of Service reflects a fundamental American truth: That people who love their country can change it,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). “The commemoration of the MLK Day of Service is an opportunity to remember Dr. King’s legacy and re-commit ourselves as citizens by volunteering in service to one another.”
In 1994, Congress designated MLK Day as the first and only federal holiday observed as a national day of service, and charged CNCS with leading this effort. Americans may visit MLKDay.gov  to find a service project for MLK Day or a year-round volunteer opportunity in their own community.
CNCS provides grants to three national organizations that play a leadership role in the MLK Day of Service: HOPE worldwide, Points of Light, and Service for Peace. In addition to these grantees, more than 30 other organizations, including AARP, American Red Cross, America's Promise, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and Habitat for Humanity and United Way of America, are strategic partners. 
CNCS also joins with Meetup and other partners to encourage Americans to meetup in person to talk about the unique challenges and opportunities facing our nation.
Sample projects are highlighted below. More information, including details about local service opportunities, is available at mlkday.gov. 
  • Atlanta: Hands On Atlanta’s 2015 Day of Service will feature a “Stuff the Bus” campaign that encourages corporate partners to gather and deliver school supplies to teachers and students. The day will also include community improvement projects at five local schools and an essay challenge.
     
  • Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala.:  During the week of January 19, the Impact Alabama AmeriCorps team will open 21 tax sites statewide. And throughout tax season, the AmeriCorps members will engage more than 600 student volunteers from at least 16 college campuses to prepare tax returns for more than 9,000 working families.
     
  • Bridgeport, Conn.: Service For Peace will mobilize 25,000 volunteers across the country and kick off its national 40 Days of Peace campaign which is focused on reducing bullying, crime, and violence and improving relationships between community members and the police department. The University of Bridgeport will prepare 40,000 meal kits for local Connecticut food banks for its Feeding Children Everywhere project. 
     
  • Chicago, Ill.: During City Year Chicago’s MLK Day of Service, AmeriCorps members and 1,000 volunteers will participate in youth service projects including mural painting, light construction, kit-making, and workshops.
     
  • Des Moines, Iowa: Central Iowa’s largest initiative will be Meals from the Heartland: an event for which nearly 500 volunteers will package between 75,000 and 100,000 meals. This project is connected with Outreach, Inc.’s Hunger-Free Iowa Initiative, which was developed with the support of the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
     
  • Detroit, Mich.: The AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project is working with community and student volunteers to help create safer pathways for Detroit Public Schools. Volunteers will board and clean-up 25 vacant properties in two Detroit neighborhoods.
     
  • Lafayette, La.: AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl will join 80 to 100 AmeriCorps members and alums serving with Rebuilding Together to repair homes for homeowners in need.
     
  • Lawton, Okla.: The City of Lawton’s RSVP program and Cameron University are working with volunteers to clean, re-organize and improve storage areas, classrooms and libraries at local elementary schools. 
     
  • Los Angeles, Calif.: L.A. Works will lead more than 1,000 community and corporate volunteers who will help revitalize the campus of Title I schools Santee Education Complex and Frida Kahlo High School in South Los Angeles.
     
  • New York, N.Y.:  ServiceWorks, a CNCS partnership with Points of Light and the Citi Foundation, will engage AmeriCorps members and volunteers from Citibank and the local community to enhance the University Settlement Community Center’s library. This group will also work together to introduce middle school students to financial concepts, teach leadership and conflict resolution skills, and collect and donate school supplies. The Student Conservation Association (SCA) will also team up with NYC Parks and AmeriCorps to improve the soil for healthy spring plantings.
     
  • Philadelphia, Pa.: Senior Corps Director Erwin Tan will join Mayor Michael Nutter and 135,000 volunteers for the 20th annual Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service. This year’s King Day of Service will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act that outlawed racial discrimination in voting. Mayor Nutter will highlight service projects at Girard College, which includes packing information for voter registration outreach and training volunteers to work at Election Day polling sites. In addition, Philadelphia will host its 4th annual Jobs and Opportunity Fair.
     
  • Polson, Mont.: Senior Corps Foster Grandparents and community volunteers will participate in a Read for Peace project.  They will read books that focus on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to elementary schoolers.
     
  • Seattle, Wash.: EarthCorps, the Green Seattle Partnership, Service for Peace, the University of Washington, and Seattle Parks and Recreation will work with 200 volunteers to restore Cheasty Greenspace.
     
  • Tysons, Va.: The Project Management Day of Service, hosted by the Taproot Foundation and the Project Management Institute, will provide pro bono Project Management services to 200 nonprofits.
     
  • Waco, Texas: In partnership with the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition, the Baylor University Campus Kitchen, and Community HealthCorps, AmeriCorps members will prepare a local urban community garden—run by the World Hunger Relief program—for the spring season.
     
  • Washington, D.C.: Habitat for Humanity, AmeriCorps members, and 50 community volunteers will help build new construction units in the Ivy City neighborhood in the northeast region of the city. The George Washington University will also host a Literacy Resource Creation Project with the Jumpstart program, an AmeriCorps grantee. Volunteers will create alphabet books and site word cards for preschool children who participate in the Jumpstart program at the university’s partner schools.

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The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.

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