Where will you Volunteer on MLK Day, Jan. 18th?

A group of City Year Young Heroes during their 2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service project at Emery Elementary School in Washington, DC

January 18th is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day — a national day of service. Where will you volunteer your energy and time?

For 15 years, MLK Day has been a national day of service, mobilizing projects that strive to transform Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and teachings into community service that helps solve social problems — strengthening communities, bridging barriers, and empowering individuals.

The day of service, which is known as a “day on, not a day off,” typically enjoys a great deal of support and participation among national service corps—who volunteer for and often organize service projects.

This year organizers are launching a special initiative to connect schools in need with technology support. If you serve in a school that could use tech support — anything from a website facelift to blogging support for student clubs — you can post a volunteer opportunity on AllForGood.org:

When you create your volunteer opportunity, be sure to:

  1. Use a descriptive title and make sure to include the “MLKTech” keyword – the keyword is necessary for search.
  2. Set the date as January 18, 2010

Web professionals can search for opportunities on Serve.gov.

Learn more and find opportunities to serve on the Serve.gov and  MLKDay.gov sites. Also check out yesterday’s Change/Wire post from Service Nation, chock full of MLK Day resources.

Check out Hands On Network’s MLK Day page, including the virtual Town Hall Meeting it will hold on January 18th.

Already planning a project? Be sure to register it so that people in your community will find out how to support it!

Last year, inspired by Barack Obama’s call to service, MLK Day enjoyed the largest turnout in its history. On January 19, 2009, service projects numbered about 13,000 (compared to 5,000 in 2008), and the Corporation for National and Community Service estimated the total number of volunteers at a million.

Check out this video with more information about MLK Day:

Make a Difference Day

Today marks Make a Difference Day, when volunteers and national service members take on community service projects across the country.

Every October, on the fourth Saturday, people implement service projects to improve their communities — anything from “beautification” projects to improve the grounds of schools, urban areas, and public gardens to canvassing neighborhoods door to door on behalf of breast cancer awareness (October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month).

In many places, national service groups are encouraged to lead community volunteers in special one-day projects in addition to their regular service assignments. For example, this weekend:

For service project leaders today and everyday, check out these discussion prompts that help volunteers reflect on their service experience and connect their efforts to social impact careers.

Tobey Maguire and Other Celebrities Honor 9/11 with Service

Tobey Maguire, sigh<br>Chair of the ServiceNation Ambassador's program

Tobey Maguire, sigh -- leader of ServiceNation's Ambassadors

Today Service Nation launched its celebrity Ambassadors program, engaging famous people in service projects as a way of highlighting the new day of service and inspiring the public to get involved proactively in building stronger communities.

Guided by an Ambassador’s Council — and led by actor Tobey Maguire — other celebrities who’ve participated in community service events today include other actors: Cameron Diaz in Boston, Anne Hathaway in Los Angeles, Oscar de la Hoya in Los Angeles, and Anna Sophia Robb in her hometown Denver.

Another initiative Service Nation has spearheaded this week included a Mayors Meeting in New York yesterday — convened by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Hands On Network, AARP, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. The two dozen mayors from around the country came together to announce their commitments to the Cities of Service campaign, following in Mayor Bloomberg’s footsteps to highlight and support civic service in their cities.

Finally, Service Nation is hosting an event tonight in New York City at the Beacon Theatre where Secretary of State Clinton will keynote, and many other public leaders and entertainment industry stars will speak and perform.

Idealist’s Joanne Eng is on the ground at that event and will be bringing back a full report for us in the coming days.