As we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we recall his words, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"
Many Americans answer that question by volunteering on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Congress established the Martin Luther King Day of Service in 1994 to honor the civil rights leader’s legacy of citizen action. Across the nation, the holiday becomes a day “on” instead of a day off and an opportunity to serve others, strengthen our communities and advance the common good.
This year, in conjunction with the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC, the National Day of Service is being transformed from a “day on” to a “year on”. In addition to volunteering on the Day of Service, Americans are being urged to pledge to a year of service. As part of this national celebration of service, on January 19 United Way is participating in a Service Fair on the National Mall. An expected 25,000 people will attend and will be invited to pledge to a year of service and given the opportunity to schedule a time to serve with United Way and other participating organizations. Actresses Eva Longoria and Angela Bassett, elected officials and others will inspire the crowds at the service fair. Sign up to attend and learn more here.
United Way will continue our call to action for one million people to pledge to become a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor. Research proves that caring volunteers working with students of all ages have the power to help kids boost academic achievement and put young people on track for a bright future. Take the pledge now and find opportunities to help a child succeed in school. Simply type your zip code in the upper right hand corner of this website and click on “Find your local United Way” to get started.
And think about joining the President, First Lady, Vice President, Dr. Biden, Cabinet Secretaries and other high-profile Administration officials and celebrities in attending National Day of Service events in the nation’s capital and where you live. For example, in Washington State, United Way of Snohomish County and United Way of King County are offering a choice of many projects on the National Day of Service. There are bound to be similar events in your area.
Even if you can’t join volunteers across the country right now, extend the spirit of service by taking a picture of yourself with an #iserve sign that says why you’re pledging to serve your community. Share it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the #iserve hashtag.
United Way has mobilized communities with the aim of advancing the common good for more than 125 years. Through the real work that you continue to do every day, and the pledge of new volunteers to commit to a year of service, we will honor the legacy of Dr. King and create a stronger nation through a stronger culture of service. LIVE UNITED.