GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is observed each year on the third Monday in January as "a day on, not a day off." MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. AmeriCorps has been charged with leading this effort for the past quarter century.
MLK Day of Service inspires hundreds of thousands of Americans to come together to serve their community. Citizens in all 50 states deliver meals, refurbish schools and community centers, and collect food and clothing. Volunteers also recruit mentors, support jobseekers, build homes and provide other services for veterans and military families, and help citizens improve their financial literacy skills.
But, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some service activities will look different this year. In Greensboro, The Volunteer Center of the Triad is hosting a virtual MLK Day of Service event on Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through service. It will include speakers from local nonprofits, footage from service projects, performances, fun children activities, and much more.
"There are so many people right now that just need to have heart,” said Carley Swaim Walker, Executive Director of The Volunteer Center of the Triad. “They need to feel warmth, love, and compassion, and that is what volunteering is all about.”
Dr. King famously said, "Everyone can be great because everybody can serve." Organizers say observing MLK Day through service is a way to begin each year with a commitment to making your community a better place. Your service honors Dr. King's life and teachings and helps meet community challenges. Your service can also bring people together of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities during these difficult and uncertain times.
"If you are down and out and feeling a little bit depressed about all of the things that are going on around us, go out and volunteer a little bit, Walker said. “You can even volunteer virtually. It will completely change your attitude almost instantaneously. You'll have the ability to give back and feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself.”
The Volunteer Center of the Triad will hold the MLK Day of Service virtual event on Monday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. It will broadcast live on the web from various outlets, including The Volunteer Center of the Triad website.