Celebrating Martin Luther King Day in New York City with a Day of Service

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Though it seems like it’s been a national holiday longer than 27 years, it was only established in 1986 as a way to recognize the achievements of Dr. King, one of our nation’s the greatest civil rights leaders. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday of January each year, around the time of Dr. King’s birthday on January 15th. It is a federal holiday and all public schools, post offices, and government buildings will be closed. If you have the day off from work, there are many activities around NYC to participate in as well as volunteer opportunities.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

In honor of Dr. King’s achievements in bringing people together to address important community issues, thousands will gather on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to participate in community service projects. The slogan is: “A day ON, not a day OFF.”

President Ronald Reagan and the Signing Ceremony for Martin Luther King Holiday Legislation

This milestone is a perfect opportunity for New Yorkers to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of community. If you want to join in, here’s a way to find a community service project in New York City.

Martin Luther King Day with the Family

Just a short walk away from Stonehenge Village, the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan is holding its annual Artists Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. event. The JCC in Manhattan sponsors this annual performance, which honors Dr. King in his own words of peace, tolerance and civil rights. There will be readings, playlets, songs and more, all paying tribute his legacy. Visit the JCC’s website for a complete lineup.

Address: Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street
Date/Time: Monday, February 21, 2013 from 6:30-9:30pm
Cost: FREE

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan , located in the Stonehenge Tower neighborhood, is open all day for various Martin Luther King Day activities starting at 10am. Although CMOM is usually closed on Mondays, it’s open in honor of the holiday. Young children can celebrate NYC’s diversity by creating self-portraits to add to the “I Have a Dream” mural, while older kids can pledge to make a difference in their communities. All visitors will be treated to a concert by the famous Harlem Gospel Choir. Check the museum’s calendar for a complete schedule of activities.
Address: Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd Street between Amsterdam Avenue & Broadway
Date /Time: Monday, February 21, 2013 from 10-5pm

Cost: MLK Events Free with admission: $11 for children over 12 and adults, children under 12 are free, seniors are $7, members of CMOM are free

The Childrens Museum of Manhattan is a good start for family activities on MLK Day. Photo Credit: Jim.henderson

Martin Luther King Day Volunteering Opportunities in NYC

The Martin Luther King Day of Service website, sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, is a great resource if you’re looking for a project in your area. Just put in your zip code and you’ll get a list of opportunities along with registration information.

GenerationOn—the youth service arm of the Points of Light Institute—invites families to gather at PS 57 (East Harlem) to work on Hurricane Sandy relief and other service projects for local organizations. The activities are meant to be fun and engaging for children, and there will also be snacks.

Address: PS / MS 57, James Weldon Johnson, 176 E 115th Street between Third and Lexington Avenues
Date/Time: 10am-1pm
Cost: FREE

The generationOn staff is spending the day volunteering for New York Cares Day

Still looking for more? The Obama Admisitatraion’s Inauguration Committee has created a database of opportunities on Saturday, January 19 as National Day of Service.  Check it out as it is searchable by zip code!

Whatever you do this weekend, be safe and enjoy the day off…or on!

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