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Celebrating Dr. King in Michigan: "Everyone has Something to Give"

The Michigan Community Service Commission is supporting 29 MLK Day of Service projects in 2020. (Adobe Stock)
The Michigan Community Service Commission is supporting 29 MLK Day of Service projects in 2020. (Adobe Stock)
January 20, 2020

LANSING, Mich. -- From young students to business professionals, today Michiganders from all walks of life will honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by giving back to their communities.

This is the 25th anniversary of MLK Day as a National Day of Service, which encourages Americans to observe the holiday as "a day on, not a day off." Hundreds of service projects are scheduled, which Kristina Coby, volunteer and community engagement director with the Michigan Community Service Commission, said are intended to emulate Dr. King's message of peace, unity and service.

"One of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s most notable quotes is that 'Everybody can be great because everybody can serve,'" Coby said. "And the Michigan Community Service Commission likes to shine a light on that legacy and show people wherever you are, whatever your circumstances are, everybody has something to give."

And because it sometimes takes money to make a difference, the commission provides funding and support resources each year to select MLK Day service projects. Grants this year will help fund 29 organizations with projects that support people who are homeless, natural area preservation, food pantries, financial literacy and other social issues.

Coby said first-time volunteers are often inspired to continue giving back.

"Flint last year had a phenomenal program where they engaged hundreds of volunteers, a lot of young people, where it was their first opportunity to serve with a large community group," she said. "The energy that's around that can be really inspiring, and quite often is a catalyst for a continued lifetime of service."

Coby encourages Michiganders to look for small ways to help others, and noted there are many worthwhile causes.

"Whether it be helping the elderly or providing fresh, nutritious food to those in their community that may not have a decent meal to put on their own table; first, ask yourself, what do you care about most? And then, inquire to the organizations that are providing services around those causes," she said.

Local volunteer opportunities also can be found on the website MLKday.gov.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI