Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day on, not a day off

featuredThis coming Monday, January 17th, is the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — a national day of service in the United States. Where will you volunteer your energy and time?

People across the country are kicking off the new year by creating, joining, or reporting on MLK Day service projects in their communities:

Every year I try take part in a service project. This Monday, my family is going to carry out our second annual DIY project Continue reading

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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:

New STEM-Focused Service Learning Funds Available for Middle Schools

From Engaged for Success: Service Learning as a Tool for High School Drop Out Prevention (PDF)

From Engaged for Success: Service Learning as a Tool for High School Drop Out Prevention (PDF)

Youth Service America is looking to fund middle-school based service learning projects incorporating science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curricula.

Middle school teachers, administrators, service learning coordinators and after-school staff in select states can apply for $5000 in funding to engage kids in grades six through eight in a semester-long service-learning project geared towards environmental issues.

The grants, called STEMester of Service Grants, aim to address community problems in states with the highest school dropout rates while encouraging kids to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

According to the website, environmental concerns can include green space availability, health effects, climate change, and Continue reading

Obama Video Contest for MLK Day

President-Elect Obama’s Renew America Together campaign partners with Youtube to invite you to create a three-minute video about how you plan to volunteer for MLK Day.

Here are the guidelines and instructions from the contest webpage:

The goal: For individuals and organizations to create a three-minute or less YouTube video designed to tell the story of what they plan to do on MLK Day. The videos could be dramatic, heartfelt, comical, or narrative — whatever best captures the spirit of the Renew America Together campaign.

All submissions should be posted to the Presidential Inaugural Committee YouTube channel no later than 11:59pm EST January 15th, 2009. Three winners will be selected. The winning videos will be posted on www.USAService.org, and the creator of the single best video will get a personal phone call from First Lady Michelle Obama.

For more information and to upload your reply-video, please visit us at www.YouTube.com/Inauguration.
Here’s how to enter:

  1. Watch Kal Penn’s invitation video. (It’s the one to the right.)
  2. Create your own video answering these questions:
    What does service mean to you and why is it important?
    What will you do on January 19th to serve your community?

    Upload it as a reply to Kal.

After you’ve uploaded your reply video, you can also submit the information about it here. You do not need to take this extra step, but it provides a second way for us to find it. Email

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Inclusive Service Projects for MLK Day

From the National Service Inclusion Project:

MLK Day LogoToday, more than ever, projects are designed using principles of universal design, accessibility and accommodation strategies so that all people can serve. For example:

In Morrisville, NC the “Building a Ramp Into the Community” project will be underway.  The Durham County Affordable Housing Coalition (DAHC) and Durham Habitat for Humanity and Merck have partnered with triangle MLK Day of Service to build ramps in the Durham community. Service members include 12 seniors and people with disabilities. 

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service sponsored by the University of Iowa’s Civic Engagement Program encourages the participation of people with disabilities and publicizes the availability of accommodations on their “Days of Service” website. 

For a helpful resource on inclusive days of service, please see:
Effective Practices Guide To Inclusive And Accessible Days Of Service

NSIP would like to know what inclusive service activities you are planning and or participating in!  Please contact NSIP email at: NSIP [at] umb.edu, or call 888-491-0326 (V/TTY).

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Service Nation Brings Leaders Together in Honor of Dr. King

Political leaders and celebrities will join Service Nation organizers and coalition members in breakfast honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of service. picture-12

On the morning of January 19th — MLK Day — the Service Nation movement will convene its second large-scale, high profile event to call attention to the need for expanded national service.The event will take place at a public high school in Washington, D.C. After the event guests are invited to participate in a service project.

Celebrities in attendance at the breakfast will be Tobey Maguire (who also attended the Presidential Candidates Forum at the Service Nation Summit in New York last fall), and Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. Moore and Kutcher will premiere the “Presidential Pledge,” a Web-based video message from entertainment luminaries pledging service commitments.

Other speakers will include Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, Martin Luther King III, and TIME Managing Editor and Service Nation champion Richard Stengel.

Since the September 11, 2008, Service Nation Summit in New York City, a lot has changed. It was just after that event that Lehman Brothers fell, and the economy began to slide out from under us. With the second major gathering of Service Nation, the conversation will turn to policy advances, and the progress that the Serve America Act and The GIVE Act are making in the House and the Senate.

To volunteer in your community on MLK Day, check out the listings on the MLK Day site, or on USAService.org.

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Obama site for MLK Day events

President-Elect Obama’s inaugural team invites organizations to post their MLK Day events to the inauguration website.

This coming year, MLK Day falls on January 19th, the day before the 2009 Inauguration. Known as a “day on not a day off” and a popular day for organizing direct-service events, President-Elect Barack Obama is encouraging people to serve in their communities MLK Day and beyond.

Organizers of projects are invited to post their projects on the event registration page on the inauguration site. If you are an organizer and you’ve already posted your event on MLKDay.gov, you are asked to wait to cross post; the aim is for MLKDay.gov events to be migrated to the Inauguration site.

Community members will be able to search for local projects after the New Year. Here is analysis from the Huffington Post; below is the text of the invitation:

Every time our nation faces crisis, our national experience has shown Americans rise to the challenge. While government has an important role to play in helping rekindle our economy and addressing the problems of a distressed nation, President-elect Obama believes each of us, as Americans, have a responsibility to do what we can for our communities and fellow citizens.  We are one nation….

As a tribute to that legacy and the very real needs of our nation, the President-elect and Vice President-elect will launch a national organizing effort on the eve of their Inauguration to engage Americans in service. This national day of service will fall on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 19, 2009 and, unlike past calls to service, President-elect Obama will ask Americans to do more than just offer a single day of service to their cities, towns and neighborhoods.  He will ask all of us to make an ongoing commitment to our communities. …

The call will go to all Americans to organize service projects and join others at events in their communities. As the Co-chairs of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, we invite you and your organization to join other Americans to organize service projects in your communities. The Presidential Inaugural Committee will offer Americans a new website to help promote your events and for Americans to make their commitments, build communities, find opportunities to serve and share their results. These can be events that orient people to your organization’s work, engage people in direct service, or bring people together to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy and how they can commit to becoming more engaged citizens.

The official place to post and search for projects is on the MLKDay.gov site. Read more about resources for running a great project.

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