He Had a Dream: The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King

A man who never stopped asking the question, “What are you doing for others?” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career.

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”

Today, millions throughout the nation will come together to honor Dr. King’s legacy by giving service to others.  As we extend a hand to our fellow man, we will continue to spread his message. The Martin Luther King Day of Service is a moment to work together to fulfill King’s vision for a better America.

MKBServiceLearningEach year, Families and individuals across the country come together on the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy by serving their communities. The MLK Day of Service is part of United We Serve, a national service initiative, which calls on Americans to work together to solve our most pressing problems.

Volunteering can be an incredible experience, especially when you’re helping to further a cause you believe in.

So what are some good volunteer opportunities for teens, tweens, and even younger children? That really depends on the child’s interests, abilities, maturity level, experience, and level of commitment. With that in mind, here are some common volunteer opportunities:

  • Help care for animals at a local shelter
  • Assist at a sports or recreation program
  • Visit a nursing home – perhaps on a regular basis and play games or share your musical talents
  • Stuff warm socks with snacks and fruit to pass out to people who are homeless
  • Help with children’s classes at a local library
  • Have a garage sale or lemonade stand for your favorite cause
  • Promote bike-riding and carpooling at your school to reduce traffic and air pollution
  • Work with younger children at your place of worship
  • Plant a garden or tree that your school or neighborhood can enjoy
  • Lead tours at a museum
  • Organize a fundraiser for a local group or charity
  • Make a no-sew fleece blanket or knit scarves and hats for a child in need
  • Bring gently used board games and decks of cards to a local homeless shelter
  • Help at a local community event
  • Plant trees
  • Design or hang posters for upcoming events
  • Assist with registration at events
  • Plan an afternoon of fun: crafts, a movie and popcorn afternoon, or a kickball tournament at a children’s home or refugee center. Plan a day of fun!

Regardless of the volunteer activity, choose something personally meaningful so that you and your family will be interested in continuing the involvement in the future. The real goal of volunteering is, after all, to gain personal satisfaction from making a difference.

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Sign up for service projects across the country on Serve.gov or VolunteerMatch.org
  • Coordinate a food or clothing drive where you live
  • Tell your friends on social media how and why you’re serving by spreading the word
  • Talk with your kids and their teachers about community service and look into long-term service learning projects that can be integrated into the classroom
  • Consider joining a service learning youth group like Roots & Shoots

Let’s keep the momentum going – find or create a project today, and commit to serving this year and beyond!

Learn more about national MLK initiatives at mlkday.gov and find free lesson plans for teaching students in grades K-8 about Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy of service.

Martin Luther King Day for Kids on Multicultural Kid BlogsThis post is part of the series Martin Luther King Day for Kids from Multicultural Kid Blogs. Come learn with us this month as we share resources to teach kids about Civil Rights and community service! You can link up your own posts on our main page or find even more resources on our Black History and Teaching Global Citizenship Pinterest boards.

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Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children (Academia Celestia), teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level science curriculum called Science Logic. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥
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