For Immediate Release
Monday, January 16, 2017
Samantha Jo Warfield, CNCS
MLK Day of Service Unites Americans to Address Local Challenges
Hundreds of thousands will mark the day of service with projects in all 50 states
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, January 16, thousands of organizations across the country, along with the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and the nation’s volunteering efforts, will 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, Americans of all ages and backgrounds in all 50 states will re-commit themselves as citizens by volunteering in service to one another. Projects include delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collecting food and clothing, and building homes. Volunteers will also recruit mentors, provide services for veterans and military families, and help citizens improve their financial literacy skills.
“Dr. King’s life is a shining example that one person can make a difference and change the course of history,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). “By volunteering in communities across the nation on the MLK Day of Service, we honor his legacy through the spirit of service. I am honored to serve alongside the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are turning their passion into action and giving back, and I am convinced that the day will inspire many to make volunteering part of their lives all year long.”
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. Participants in the agency’s AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs are leading and joining in projects across the country. 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 six national organizations that play a leadership role in the MLK Day of Service: the Arc of the United States, Iowa Campus Compact, Points of Light, Service for Peace, Tennessee State University, and Youth Service of America. In addition to these grantees, more than 50 other organizations are strategic partners, including AARP, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, City Year, Lutheran Services in America, United Way of America, and YouthBuild USA.
Sample projects are highlighted below. More information, including details about local service opportunities, is available at MLKDay.gov.
- Baltimore, Md.: Civic Works AmeriCorps members and volunteers will serve alongside residents of the Lillian Jones Apartment Building to participate in a neighborhood-wide cleanup.
- Bloomfield, N.J.: Senior Corps RSVP volunteers will make 400 disaster kits for local homebound seniors in case of emergencies through a partnership between the RSVP Center of Essex and Hudson Counties, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Neighbor to Neighbor Network.
- Charleston, W. Va.: Through Playmates Communities Helping Communities (CHC), AmeriCorps members, students, and community volunteers will assemble and distribute healthy gift bags to retirement homes, as well as socialize and interact with residents.
- Cleveland, Ohio: City Year AmeriCorps members will join corporate partners, local leaders, and community volunteers at the Cleveland Recreation Center to create welcome mats and garden stones for Habitat for Humanity clients, assemble blankets for University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, write letters to troops, and craft dog treats for local pet shelters.
- Columbia, S.C.: AmeriCorps members through the Palmetto Conservation Corps will serve with Dutch Fork Elementary School to engage their PTA and other volunteers that want to participate in developing DFES’ outdoor learning spaces for student use.
- Dallas, Texas: Reading Partners AmeriCorps members will partner with Promise of Peace to expand their community garden at Bayles Elementary, as well as engage with patients at Good Life Senior Living.
- Detroit, Mich.: The Detroit Urban Safety Corps will lead AmeriCorps members and volunteers in an effort to create safe routes to schools for Detroit Public School students by boarding up and cleaning up vacant homes and lots on student walking routes in two neighborhoods of Detroit.
- Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: HandsOn Broward will engage 1,500 volunteers in a weekend-long celebration. Volunteers will participate in a resource fair to help veterans and military families achieve financial security, as well as a beautification project to benefit the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Montessori Academy.
- Kansas City, Mo.: Youth Volunteer Corps AmeriCorps members and volunteers will participate in a service fair to provide hygiene kits, blankets, and packaged food to the homeless and create handmade notes for women and children in shelters and the senior community.
- Louisville, Ky.: The Louisville Metro RSVP program will partner with Blanket Louisville to collect blankets, comforters and fleece throws for homeless individuals in the community.
- Memphis, Tenn.: The Memphis Grizzlies Foundation, American Red Cross, Street Ministries, and other local partners will create and distribute 500 Totes of Hope bags that include personal care items to Veteran’s hospitals and outreach programs.
- New Orleans, La.: Dillard University will engage volunteers in building and providing maintenance to community vegetable gardens located at the City of New Orleans Juvenile Detention Center, Pentecost Baptist Church, and Bethany United Methodist Church. The New Orleans Council on Aging Senior Corps program will partner with Teach For America to host a food drive for the Edmundite Southern Missions’ Food Pantry.
- Oakland, Calif.: Service for Peace will engage approximately 2,000 AmeriCorps members and volunteers in beautification projects in more than a dozen Oakland communities. Volunteers will participate in cleaning, greening, and beautification projects, including removing invasive plants, installing garden boxes, and expanding community gardens.
- Philadelphia, Pa.: The Greater Philadelphia region is expecting a record 140,000 volunteers in 1,800 community service projects on MLK Day. Girard College will host the region’s signature project with 5,000 volunteers serving in 150 projects to support the Philadelphia Free Library’s Ready by 4th literacy initiative. Volunteers will serve alongside Mayor Jim Kenney to build approximately 250 little libraries to distribute across the city.
- Tucson, Ariz.: AmeriCorps members, Senior Corps volunteers, and community volunteers will participate in educational workshops and complete service projects across eight sites. They will participate in beautification projects, including indoor and outdoor painting at local schools, cleaning up classrooms, and refurbishing a community garden.
- Washington, D.C.: Latin American Youth Center AmeriCorps members and volunteers will assemble hygiene care packages that will be distributed to students in LAYC’s Community Schools program and collect and sort clothing donations for LAYC’s Safe Housing program. The Student Conservation Association will engage AmeriCorps members and volunteers in a massive river clean-up, removing trash and debris from the shoreline.
#The MLK Day of Service is led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Social Innovation Fund and leads the nation’s volunteering and service efforts. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.