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Nebraskans 'Reach Their Hand Out' to Build Stronger Nation

Many Nebraskans are answering Martin Luther King Jr.'s call to give back to others. (Pixabay)
Many Nebraskans are answering Martin Luther King Jr.'s call to give back to others. (Pixabay)
January 16, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. – People around Nebraska will honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by making Monday’s federal holiday a day of giving back.

Since 1994, MLK Day has been a national Day of Service, and Cathleen Plager, executive director of ServeNebraska, says each year people around the state participate in volunteer events.

King once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

And Plager says many Nebraskans hear that call not just today but throughout the year.

"We're sixth in the nation in volunteerism, and I think that speaks volumes to just the character of the folks in Nebraska,” she points out. “It really does set aside a day where individuals feel like it's important to reach their hand out to help others."

Plager says there are many ways for people to get involved, including collecting donations for those in need, cleaning up parks or volunteering at food pantries or homeless shelters.

More information about volunteer opportunities is available online at or

Samantha Jo Warfield, a spokeswoman for the Corporation for National and Community Service, says service can spark citizen action, bridge barriers and move the country closer to King's vision of a community working together to solve social problems.

"When we stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans, we gain perspective on the lives we share with others as we use our time and our talents to build a stronger nation. And that's good for ourselves as well," she stresses.

And Warfield adds those who are unable to attend a volunteer event Monday can always find other ways to give back.

"Perhaps you donate money, perhaps you engage in a conversation with a young person,” she explains. “Perhaps you pledge to volunteer once a month for the rest of the year, or you decide to become a mentor at your local school, so there are many, many ways to get involved."

Schools, churches, museums and other community organizations are hosting MLK Day events around Nebraska that include forums, art displays and memorial services promoting social justice and peace.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NE