01/13/2022 Finding Ways to Serve on Martin Luther King Jr. Day


Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a state and federal holiday that marks the birthday of the iconic Civil Rights Movement leader. 

MLK Day, as it has come to be known, was originally enshrined in federal law in 1983 as a way to honor King’s life and legacy of relentlessly pushing our country to fulfill its promise of freedom, equality, and justice for all. In 1994, Congress took the additional step of designating MLK Day as national day of service, further recognizing King’s legacy of service and leadership in a way that would perpetuate it. 

“Somewhere along the way,” King said in his 1967 sermon The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life, “we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others.” Doing well for ourselves, King preached, is simply not enough in a world where people struggle to meet their basic needs and live with dignity. 

Indeed, MLK Day encourages Americans to honor King through service to one another and their communities. Years later, King’s widow Coretta Scott King echoed his preaching in her essay, “The Meaning of the King Holiday,” noting that MLK Day was “above all a day of service”: 

“All across America on the Holiday, his followers perform service in hospitals and shelters and prisons and wherever people need some help. It is a day of volunteering to feed the hungry, rehabilitate housing, tutoring those who can’t read, mentoring at-­risk youngsters, consoling the broken-hearted and a thousand other projects for building the beloved community of his dream.” 

We hope the words of both MLK and Coretta Scott King will inspire you to partake in some sort of service to others or to your community more broadly—especially if it concerns children living in foster care or adults who are living with disabilities—if not today, then next weekend or next month. No matter the day, there’s always something we can do to help someone else. 

If you’re looking for MLK Day of Service opportunities in your area, check out the AmeriCorps nationwide volunteer opportunity portal, where you can easily find local projects based on your zip code. is also a great place to find opportunities to engage in service to individuals living with developmental disabilities as well as children in need (and lots of other meaningful work) on MLK Day and year-round. 

Of course, HopeWell also welcomes those who wish to serve. We’re always in need of foster parents, shared living caregivers, volunteers and donors who want to help the children living in our foster homes or the adults living with disabilities in our care. Find out how you can help here.