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MLK Day of Service: Where to volunteer around Los Angeles

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Honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by answering one of his most enduring questions:  What are you doing for others? 

In conjunction with United We Serve — a Presidential call for action  — the MLK Day of Service encourages Americans from every curb, cubicle and castle in the land to get involved. On Jan. 19 we're asked to come together in service of each other and take action to help solve the complex issues facing our country. 

This year, MLK Day commemorations will coincide with the Presidential Inauguration, so the President is asking all citizens to join him in participating in a National Day of Service on Saturday, Jan. 19. 

To support committments beyond just one day, a number of DIY toolkits were created to help service project ideas become realities. The kits (full list below) are specialized by interest area, and there are options to create your own. 

(click event links for complete details)

The First Baptist Church In Venice

  • Jan. 19 - Help neighbors, organizers and other community members clean up the First Baptist Church of Venice, CA.

Westminster WE Garden Workday

  • Jan. 19 - WE Garden's day of service is all about school gardening. Parents, kids, teachers, and community members are welcome to weed, water, plant, and harvest for the good of the community. WE Garden will have the snacks. Bring your own hat and gloves.

Send Me A Penny Foundation

  • Jan. 19 - A community effort in two shifts to feed the homeless on Venice Beach. Meet at 1011 Ocean Front Walk. The following donations are also needed: water, personal hygiene items, socks (new), underwear (new), clothes, sweatshirts, sleeping bags and backpacks.

Clean The Beach

  • Jan. 19 - Beautify the beach between Washington Boulevard pier and the Main channel in Marina del Rey. Protect birds and other wildlife from toxic cigarette butts and other trash. Bring trashbags and gloves.

Heal The Bay

  • Jan. 19 - Improve the quality of the Santa Monica Bay and our beaches and neighborhoods. Some supplies will be provided.  Bring reusable bucket, garden gloves and recycled bags. Rain or shine.

TAM & Compton Initiative Paints Elementary School, Church, And Homes

  • Jan. 19 - Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum (TAM) and the Compton Initiative will be painting the exterior of Longfellow Elementary School, Mt. Hebron Missionary Baptist Church, and a few homes in the city of Compton. Equipment and materials will be supplied (and coffee and pizza).

Maintaining Trails & Beautifying Historic Santa Susana State Park

  • Jan. 19 - Tour the park and take in "sweeping views of the valley" while removing invasive plants and maintaining trails of Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park. Install posts for park rules, paint over graffiti, and help remove trash.

Beautification Project At Winnetha Elementary School

  • Jan. 19 - Help the organization Jack and Jill of America clean the school grounds impacted by budget cuts. Sweep, rake leaves, clean under stairs wells, pick up paper and beautify.

Ballona Creek Environmental Renaissance

  • Jan. 19 - Participate in the LA Citywide Cleanup of Ballona Creek.  Some tools, supplies, gloves and water will be provided, or bring your own! Collect trash from the banks of the creek so it doesn't reach the ocean.

Big Sunday Clothing Drive

  • Jan. 19 - New or gently used clothes and shoes of all kinds will be collected, sorted, and packed on Melrose Avenue from 9 a.m. until noon. 

Long Beach Bluff Park Clean Up

  • Jan. 21 - The Building Healthy Communities Long Beach Americorps Project is hosting community cleanup near Bluff Park. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Transform Washington Irving Middle School Into A Magnet School

  • Jan. 21 - L.A. Works leads a major service project to to revitalize the Glassell Park school and grounds as it becomes the new Washington Irving Advanced Math, Music and Engineering Magnet. 1,500 volunteers are expected to help paint murals, build picnic tables, renovate structures, transform classrooms.


Community Renewal
     - Toolkit: Support Local Food Banks
     - Toolkit: Organize a Clothing Drive | en Español
Disaster Preparedness
     - Toolkit: Preparing Your Community for Disasters
     - Toolkit: Read with Children
     - Toolkit: Organize a Book Drive | en Español
     - STEM Mentoring Toolkit
Energy and Environment
     - Toolkit: Energy Reducing Home Audit | en Español
     - Toolkit: Maintain Public Lands | en Español
     - Toolkit: Let's Glean! (USDA)
     - Toolkit: Support Community Gardens | en Español
     - Toolkit: Starting a Walking Team | en Español
     - Toolkit: Promote Back to School Health | en Español
     - Toolkit: Anti-hunger Nutrition Assistance Program
     - Toolkit: Summer Food Service Program
     - Toolkit: School Breakfast Program 
Veterans and Military Families
     - Toolkit: Connecting Veterans to Community Services
     - Toolkit: How to Help Military Families (AARP)
Create Your Own Project
     - Toolkit: Create Your Own Project



(Source: KPCC Volunteer Opportunities DatabaseVolunteerMatchUnited Way Los AngelesServe.govNational Day of ServicePatch.comPoints of LightVolunteers of, and KPCC listeners and readers!)


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