Give Back to Your Community on the 2024 Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service

January 15, 2024 is the official Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service. Learn about community service opportunities throughout the City!

  • Dec 20, 2023, 12:03 PM

On January 15, 2024, we celebrate the birthday of an exemplary person in American history, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. An advocate of nonviolent activism, Dr. King dedicated his life to combating racism, and in recognition of his fight for justice and equality during the Civil Rights Movement, he became the youngest man ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.  Today, we honor his legacy on the third Monday of January each year with a federal holiday, when many agencies and institutions, including all NYC schools and Department of Education offices, are closed.

But this holiday isn't just any holiday—it’s our official National Day of Service, created “to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.” And in the spirit of service, we encourage every New York City Public Schools community member to make January 15 a “day on, not a day off.”


Martin Luther King, Jr. at the March on Washington
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Consider any of the many volunteer opportunities already planned around New York City that you can participate in to help make a difference in your community, including:

  • Beautifying City parks by raking leaves, cutting down vines, and clearing out woodland areas in multiple locations such Forest Park and Highland Park in Queens.
  • Spending time crafting, learning, and being creative in Brooklyn during two events held by The Kings Bay Y:
    • Senior Extravaganza, where “volunteers will engage in uplifting recreational activities and join in inter-generational lunches, fostering connection and companionship for our valued senior community members”
    • A Day of Fun, where you can choose music, drama, arts and crafts, storytelling, robotics, coding, and more adapted for children and families with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other learning disabilities
  • Helping asylum seekers feel more at home by making essential kits featuring personal and hygienic items, sandwiches, and membership cards to the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood in the Fort Washington section of Manhattan. Similar events are also being planned in other neighborhoods.
  • Educating and register young voters for Election Day 2024 with Youth Service America.

For opportunities like these and more, we recommend visiting the following organizations’ websites, as they will continue to update on their MLK Day of Service events ahead of January 15, 2024:

While there are lots of great community service events already planned for this year’s National Day of Service, if you can’t find one that speaks to you, then take inspiration from Dr. King’s incredible legacy and be the change in your own community by creating your own service event!

We hope these suggestions help you to fulfill the heart of the MLK Day of Service theme: "Make it a day on, not a day off." Because through acts of service, you, too, can inspire others to perform their own individual acts of kindness, whether in service to their families, peers, or even their entire communities.