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Ohioans Live the Dream of Dr. King With Acts of Service

PHOTO: Ohioans around the state will spend the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by volunteering in their community. Photo courtesy of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
PHOTO: Ohioans around the state will spend the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by volunteering in their community. Photo courtesy of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
January 19, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be remembered and honored today through acts of service in Ohio and around the country. The federal holiday became a national day of service in 1994. Samantha Warfield, spokesperson for the Corporation for National & Community Service, says every year, more and more people become engaged and want to give back to their community.

"Young people have grown up in school learning about what Dr. King does through the lens of service, whether through service learning projects or through history lessons," Warfield says. "We hope Dr. King would be proud of a day named in his honor and the work that's being done."

In Ohio, schools, universities, businesses, and community organizations are hosting service events around the state. Volunteers are doing a variety of projects to help others including sorting donations at food pantries, tutoring, creating care packages for the homeless, and cleaning up neighborhoods.

Warfield says engaging children in today's projects can inspire a lifetime of volunteering.

"Sometimes service is the best entry point into a conversation," she says. "Kids who grow up knowing about service or knowing about volunteering and experiencing it in their daily life grow up to be more engaged and civic-minded citizens."

Not everyone has the holiday off from work, but Warfield says that shouldn't stop people from looking for ways to give back to their community.

"Maybe you use MLK Day as a day where you're going to pledge service year around," she says. "MLK Day is often a time that becomes a launching pad for both volunteer organizations and volunteers. So, maybe on King Day you decide you're going to pledge to be a mentor for the year."

According to a recent report, Ohioans contributed over $6 billion of service through more than 283 million hours of service in 2013.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH