Organizers of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday celebration urge people to participate in service projects. The King holiday, by law, is an official national day of humanitarian service.
The theme for this year's, "Day of Service," is "A day ON, not a day OFF."
According to www.mlkday.gov, King worked tirelessly during his lifetime toward a dream of equality.
"He believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by uniting and taking action to make this country a better place to live.
"The King Day of Service is a way to transform King's life and teachings into community service that helps solve social problems. That service may meet a tangible need, such as fixing up a school or senior center, or it may meet a need of the spirit, such as building a sense of community or mutual responsibility," the Web site said.
Organizers of MLK Service Day believe that volunteerism can strengthen communities, empower individuals and bridge barriers.
In an article at www.thekingcenter.org, Coretta Scott King said that the King holiday "is not a black holiday; it is a peoples' holiday."
It is "above all a day of service," she wrote. "It is a day of volunteering to feed the hungry, rehabilitate housing, tutoring those who can't read, mentoring at-risk youngsters, consoling the broken-hearted and a thousand other projects for building the beloved community of his dream."
Mrs. King asked Congress to expand the holiday honoring her late husband into a day to promote humanitarian service in 1994. She cited his words - "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve."
MLK Day of Service is sponsored by The Corporation for National & Community Service, a federal agency that gives more than a million Americans opportunities to improve communities through service, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, established in 1968 by Mrs. King, as a official living memorial to Dr. King's work and philosophy.
For more information, visit www.mlkday.gov. For a list of volunteer opportunities in Pinellas County, visit TBN Online Edition's Volunteer News section.