MLK Day of Volunteerism: Join the Cause

MLK Day of Volunteerism: Join the Cause

On January 16, 2023, the nation will pause to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an annual tradition on the third Monday in January. What’s more, this federal holiday is also designated by Congress as a National Day of Service.

The civil rights champion was both a minister and an activist, and his leadership has inspired Americans for generations. Acting in service to your local community is the perfect way to honor Dr. King’s legacy.

Holiday History

Dr. King stood for equality and justice for all and was not afraid of the hard work it took to fight for both. From 1957 to 1968, he gave 2,500 speeches and traveled over six million miles. And at the age of 35, became the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Following Dr. King’s assassination, the country mourned the loss of one of its greatest visionaries.

While the first federal holiday was celebrated in 1986, the same year as his assassination, it took nearly 15 years for every state in the Union to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was a hard-fought battle and a fitting representation of the uphill climb fueling civil rights in this country. It takes volunteers like you—continuing to advocate and serve essential causes—to continue the work of Dr. King today.

MLK Day of Volunteerism: Ways to Participate

There are many global and national organizations operating throughout the country where you can volunteer to support at-risk and in-need populations.

  • Red Cross – supports people affected by disasters with lifesaving blood drives and medical aid
  • Habitat for Humanity – supports families in need of stability and affordable housing
  • Volunteers of America – supports those in need of human services, such as healthcare and housing
  • United Way – supports people who benefit from community resources in the areas of health and wellness, education, and finance

You don’t have to join an organization to participate in the National Day of Service. Teach for America recommends considering the issues facing your region. Take action based on a cause that matters most to you!

MLK Day of Volunteerism: Helping Out at Home

Engaging with your own community and its specific needs may be even more meaningful. Fortunately, websites like Volunteer Match, Idealist, and AmeriCorps can connect you to nonprofits and events sorted by location. It’s easy to lend a hand in your own backyard using these resources!

Jidan Cleaning will join Volunteers of America Chesapeake for its “Backpack Refill” activity for children taking place at the Baltimore Center. The service project will include purchasing and packing school supplies to benefit families in the Pratt Street Transitional Housing Program.

No matter where you find yourself on January 16th, find a way to engage in service that speaks to you and works for your life circumstances. In remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr., always “have a dream” of a better tomorrow—now is the time.