WASHINGTON, DC - So many children spend national holidays off from school doing nothing to honor the legacy of whatever person, group or cause is being celebrated or remembered. This doesn’t have to be the case, at least not on the day most are off celebrating Dr. Marting Luther King’s birthday. This Monday, January 17, 2011 will mark the 25th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. After a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The federal holiday was first observed in 1986.
On the this landmark anniversary date, Americans across the country will honor Dr. King by helping their neighbors and communities, making it a “day on, not a day off” – a national day of service to bring Americans together to help others. This holiday represents a perfect opportunity for Americans to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort.
The MLK Day of Service, which takes place on the 3rd Monday in January each year, is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service and 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.
The President and First Lady, Joe Biden and other cabinet and executives have also committed to volunteer this Monday in Washington, DC, Atlanta, Georgia and elsewhere.
To learn of volunteer opportunities in your town, visit MLKDay.gov to and plug in your zipcode. You will be taken to a search site offering you a whole host of projects going on in their neighborhood and area that they can volunteer on and support. Schools, organizations, and other groups and entities that have existing volunteer options can enter their opportunities in the database as well. The site includes an area to submit and share your story, apply for a service award or nominate other stewards who have gone above and beyond in front of or behind the scenes. It has tools for planning and promoting your own service projects
MLK Day of Service provides parents and caregivers a wonderful opportunity to teach children about volunteerism and connect them to the world around them and beyond their Wii consoles and television screens. It’s also a pretty easy way to show them about being grateful for the many privileges they have, especially compared to others who may be living in their same town or just down the street.
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