Posted December 4, 2012

Martin Luther King Day service initiatives set for Jan. 21

Students, faculty and staff are invited to begin the Spring semester with service

Temple volunteers assisted with a variety of projects during Martin Luther King Day of Service events last January, including a clean up at nearby St. Malachy Church. The university's involvement will continue in 2013.

Last January, more than 400 Temple students ended their winter breaks early to work alongside community members, faculty and staff on clean-up projects and volunteerism efforts in community centers, neighborhood playgrounds and faith-based institutions around Main Campus

This year university administrators hope to repeat that success by encouraging the entire university community to participate in the 18th annual Martin Luther King Day of Service, a day-long volunteerism campaign designed to bring communities together for a good cause.

In this time of economic challenge, Dr. King's vision of service and volunteering are more critical than ever, said Andrea Swan, Temple’s director of community and neighborhood affairs.

“We really want to see student groups get involved this year,” said Swan. “Service is a powerful to work together to meet critical needs and advance King's dream of opportunity for all. We hope the Temple University community will come out and participate in the several community projects we have planned.”

The National Day of Service will take place on Jan. 21, 2013. Participants can visit Girard College, this year’s host site, on the day of event or contact the Office of Community Relations to volunteer for a service project.

In 2012, more than 100,000 volunteers served in some 1,500 projects in the 17th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, the largest King Day event in the nation.

“We really need additional hands,” said Swan. “Several students are cutting their vacations a few days short so that they can be back on campus to participate in a volunteer or service project.”

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. National organizers see the milestone as a perfect opportunity for Americans to remember Dr. King’s life and legacy and to honor him by taking action to solve problems in their communities.

The King Day of Service evolved from a discussion in 1988 with former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford. As a U.S. Senator, Wofford co-authored federal legislation with Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, both close friends and colleagues of Dr. King during the Civil Rights Movement. President Bill Clinton signed the King Holiday and Service Act into law on August 23, 1994.

The national King Day of Service started in Philadelphia as a small project in 1996 with 1,000 volunteers. It has become a fast-growing nationwide movement that has worked to break down barriers, form ongoing partnerships, and foster understanding about the legacy of Dr. King, particularly among young people.

Since 1996, some 700,000 volunteers across our region have celebrated Dr. King’s legacy by turning their community concerns into volunteer service and ongoing citizen action on King Day and beyond.

The Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service is organized through Global Citizen. Projects are taking place in all 50 states and include delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collecting food and clothing, signing up mentors, reading to children, promoting nonviolence, and more.

Temple University will host projects at Penrose Elementary School, the Newman Center, Treehouse Books, St. Malachy Parish, Berean Presbyterian Church and the YMCA on Broad Street.