Doing Good: The MLK Day of Service: The Start of a Year of Citizen Action
Dr. Martin Luther King had a powerful dream which he courageously pursued!

And I Thank God for that.

Because of his vision, his commitment, his passion, his tenacity, his leadership, his accomplishments

his sacrifices and his legacy, my life–and the lives, hearts and minds of millions of people–has been

altered forever.

Dr. King believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up

to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence to make

this country a better place to live—creating the Beloved Community.

The MLK Day of Service


Doing Good: The MLK Day of Service: The Start of a Year of Citizen Action


The MLK Day of Service is a powerful way to transform Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life

and teachings into community action that helps solve social problems.

That service may meet a tangible need, or it may meet a need of the spirit.

On this day, Americans of every age and background celebrate Dr.King through service projects

that strengthen communities, empower individuals, bridge barriers, and create solutions.


“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said,

“Life’s most persistent and urgent

question is:

‘What are you doing for others?'”


Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on

the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.

A Call to Serve


The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to

service initiative.

It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most

pressing national problems.

In the PSA below, The Corporation for National and Community Service MLK Day Legacy

of Service public service announcements feature civil rights luminaries Congressman John Lewis,

Ruby Bridges, Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery and former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford

remembering Dr. King and his legacy of service.


This video reminds us of the importance of keeping Dr. King’s legacy of service alive and challenges

us to make service a part of our lives – everyday of the year.

A Day On, Not a Day Off!

Doing Good: The MLK Day of Service: The Start of a Year of Citizen Action

The organizers of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service provide tools and resources for

organizations and individuals to become engaged in service activities to honor Martin Luther

King Jr. on the federal holiday, including grants to organizations to support volunteer projects

across a state or throughout a multi-state area.

But more importantly, they encourage us to make a commitment to serve not just on one day,

but throughout the year.

Start Your Own Year of Citizen Action
Doing Good: The MLK Day of Service: The Start of a Year of Citizen Action

You can start by connecting your MLK Day activities to the work you are doing year-round.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service shines a spotlight on the great work that

is already happening and kicks off a year of service, as part of the President’s United

We Serve Initiative.

The MLK Day of Service has inspired hundreds of thousands of Americans to come

together to make each year the start of a Year of Citizen Action.

Citizens in all 50 states delivered meals, refurbished schools and community centers,

and collected food and clothing.


Doing Good: The MLK Day of Service: The Start of a Year of Citizen Action


Volunteers also recruited mentors, supported job-seekers, built homes and provided

other services for veterans and military families, and helped citizens improve their

financial literacy skills.

Our nation’s leaders including President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama,

cabinet secretaries, congressional members, governors and mayors honored Dr. King’s

legacy through service projects addressing pressing community needs.

In particular, the MLK Day of Service served as an opportunity for federal agencies

to collaborate in the spirit of the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service,

which was established last year.

Find Ways to Stay Involved with Helping Your Community

Doing Good: The MLK Day of Service: The Start of a Year of Citizen Action
MLK Day is a chance to start the year off right by making an impact in your community.

MLK Drum Majors for Service are volunteers who perform extraordinary everyday acts of

service with reliability and commitment, but who seldom receive recognition.

Service is called by a variety of names.

To some it may be outreach; to others, it may be mission driven; to still others, it may be

volunteerism, ministry, or even regarded as a calling—but no matter what you call it, there

are many Americans who serve every day, every month, every year through faith-based

organizations and as volunteers for community groups, addressing a variety of unmet

critical needs.

Now you can also recognize extraordinary volunteers – the Drum Majors for Service –

with the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award is a way to thank and honor Americans who,

by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer


The award recognizes individuals, families, and groups that have achieved a certain standard

– measured by the number of hours of service over a 12-month period or cumulative hours

earned over the course of a lifetime.


Doing Good: The MLK Day of Service: The Start of a Year of Citizen Action


Visit the MLK Day of Service website for more information on how you can get involved and

make the King Day of Service, the start to a year of service in your community.

Where and how you serve is up to you – the important thing is to get involved.

Check out to find a volunteer opportunity in your community and for ideas

on planning your own project.

Additional opportunities to serve include:

A wealth of helpful teaching tools, lesson plans, books, resources and materials on

Dr. Martin Luther King, non-violence and the civil rights movement are available at

this website.

Visit for more on MLK Day and ways to do good for others and “live the dream”

throughout the year.


What are your feelings about the impact and legacy of Dr. King?

What are you doing to help others in your community?

Share your thoughts and comments with us.