Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of several formal national days of service, and it’s coming up on January 20th. It’s part of a national movement to make MLK Day a day on, not a day off.
Here are seven ways you and your kids can participate in the day of service, learn about Dr. King and his legacy, and take some time to make your community a better place. You’ll find easy projects you can do at home, ideas for service-focused parties to have with friends, and ways to spread a little love and kindness in your community.
As Dr. King said, “Everyone can be great because anybody can serve … You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Give a kiss! 1 of 7
Organize a bake sale 2 of 7
Host a fundraising event for Cookies for Kids' Cancer. Their online tools make it easy, and it's a meaningful project for kids who love to bake (or eat) cookies. If you're not up for baking, you can also order a dozen gourmet cookies through Cookies For Kids Cancer, like these Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies ($29.99) and 100% of the profits go to support childhood cancer research.
Host a "Milk + Bookies" party 3 of 7
Host a Milk + Bookies party on MLK Jr. Day! Giving back can be much more fun when it's done with a group of friends, and if you throw in a few cookies for a snack to share with the book-giving attendees, it's sure to be a smash.
Introduce young children to MLK Jr. and his legacy 4 of 7
Get hands-on 5 of 7
Can't find an existing project in your community that works for your family? The Corporation for National and Community Service has a list of hands-on projects divided by grade level that might inspire you, from making cards for residents of nursing homes to walking dogs at a local animal shelter. Picking up trash and cleaning up a local park is one easy family project that takes very little organization — you can just grab gloves, walk on down to the park, and see who can collect the most litter.
Enter an art contest 6 of 7
Scholastic is sponsoring a student art contest. Kids in grades K-12 who attend public, private, or homeschool can submit a piece of artwork inspired by Dr. King's statement: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2014.
Volunteer in your community 7 of 7
Through All for Good, you can discover local volunteer opportunities available on January 20th. Our family has participated in a group planting project as part of a previous springtime day of service, and our then under fours loved working side-by-side with other kids.
In my area, options include walking neighborhoods to distribute disaster preparedness materials and, for older kids and their families, removing debris still left from last year's devastating floods in Colorado. Use All for Good's easy search function to find volunteer projects that will work for you.