On the third Monday every January, we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, legacy and his commitment to creating a Beloved Community.
For nearly three decades, Americans have united in service to make lasting change in communities on MLK Day of Service, even during our nation’s most difficult times. MLK Day of Service has grown, and its impact continues to increase as more Americans embrace the idea that citizenship involves taking an active role in improving their communities.
Learn how Americans participated in MLK Day of Service over the years and find your own inspiration to serve in 2023.
Former President Obama Honors MLK Day in 2009
The day before his inauguration, former President Obama joined MLK Day projects to honor Dr. King and highlight the importance of service.
Former President and First Lady also visited a shelter on MLK Day 2014 (video credit to CNN)
The president visited troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who had been wounded during their tour of service. He then joined Martin Luther King, III, to help renovate dorms at Sasha Bruce House, a homeless shelter for young adults in Washington, DC.
Volunteer Maryland and Members Beautify Communities
More than 100 AmeriCorps members, volunteers, and staff members with Volunteer Maryland joined forces to serve on MLK Day in 2014.
They helped beautify Ambrose Kennedy Park, organizing a cleanup, restoring cement, and helping build a tire pyramid for children.
The volunteers and AmeriCorps members also joined Asian American Center of Frederick’s MLK Day of Service project to create a “I Have a Dream” mural together where the children drew their dreams.
Healthcare Workers Serve to Help Underserved Communities
Doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff in Colorado serve every MLK Day to give back to their communities. In 2015, Kaiser Permanente’s healthcare workers helped fight hunger for its 12th annual MLK Day of Service project.
Kaiser Permanente staff volunteering on MLK Day 2015 (video credit to Fox 21 News Colorado)
Hundreds gathered at food banks and other service locations to provide for underserved communities in Colorado.
Our Nation’s Young People Make Lasting Change on MLK Day 2022
In 2022, AmeriCorps MLK Day grantee Youth Service America, a global organization that fosters volunteerism in young people, and its partners engaged more than 29,000 volunteers for the observance day. The volunteers served a total of 88,990 hours across the nation.
These volunteers along with AmeriCorps members organized food drives for the homeless, hosted a concert to register and educate new voters, delivered and read books to children, and much more.
Give the Gift of Time This MLK Day
There are many ways you can join MLK Day of Service. Whether you join a local beach cleanup, mentor a young person, or even organize your own project to help those in need, your commitment to serve creates ripples that make a world of difference.
Need ideas for your own project? Find resources and more at AmeriCorps.gov/MLKDayResources. Join the thousands of Americans from all walks of life who will participate in service projects to honor Dr. King’s legacy. By donating the gift of time, together, we are one step closer to the Beloved Community of Dr. King’s dream.