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Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Legacy Through Service

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
January 12, 2021
"Everybody can be great because everybody can serve." Martin Luther King, Jr. American Christian Minister and Activist

The New Year often brings feelings of positive improvement and change – and in 2021, that feeling is stronger than ever. We want to make positive changes both for ourselves and our community.

As we make our way through the month of January, it’s important to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a pioneer in the world of positive improvement and change, with the celebration of the MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 18.

Dr. King once said, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve,” and for nearly 30 years the MLK Day of Service has encouraged greatness by asking individuals to volunteer their time in service to their communities.

While the Y’s celebration will look different this year, there are still ways people can honor King’s legacy through service. From Friday, January 15, King’s birthday, through Friday, January 22, the Y encourages everyone to get involved to better our community in 2021.

Volunteering, regardless if the opportunity is big or small, can make a major impact on those around you and it helps keep our communities and personal relationships strong. With the devastating effects of COVID-19, volunteer work is needed now, more than ever.

We’ve put together a list of things you can do to make a difference. And we’re using social media to highlight what YOU are doing to make our community stronger. This Facebook event is a place to share service opportunities with others and engage our community.


Post a photo of your service activity in this Facebook event and you'll be entered into a drawing for items from the National Civil Rights Museum:*

  • Framed 5x7 Print of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Freedom March, Washington, D.C., 1963
  • King Quotes Mug

You can also enter the drawing by sharing a photo on Instagram and tagging @ymcakansascity.

*Posts must be made by 11:59 p.m. Friday, January 22, 2021, to qualify for entry into the drawing.

Suggested Service Activities

  • Create Blessing Bags to hand out to the homeless
  • Create sleeping mats out of plastic bags for the homeless
  • Write cards to people in ICU and deliver them to a local hospital
  • Write cards to frontline workers and deliver them to local hospitals and other essential service providers
  • Create dog toys or treats for animals at a local shelter
  • Go outside and pick up litter
  • Write a letter to an elderly friend who might be isolated
  • Let someone know how much you appreciate them and why
  • Create Kindness Rocks and place them around your community
  • Donate to a nonprofit
  • Clean out your closet(s) and donate to a shelter
  • Create a care package for a neighbor
  • Create sack lunches for the homeless and deliver them
  • Read a book to kids virtually with a book that focuses on MLK Jr.

Events at Ys

  • January 18 - City Trash Pickup, North Kansas City YMCA. Stop by the North Kansas City YMCA to pick up trash bags and collect trash around North Kansas City and in your neighborhood.
  • January 18 - Neighborhood Cleanup and Virtual Workshop, Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr. Community Center. Click here to register for the neighborhood cleanup.
  • January 18 - 21 - Write notes to essential workers, nursing home residents and first responders; Daily 8 a.m.- 12 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. at Kids Zone at Platte County Community Center South

Thank you for helping us strengthen our community. We look forward to all of the great work that will have a positive impact on others.

#MLKDayofService #GiveBack