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Lend a Hand on MLK Day

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Jan 14, 2019 04:08 PM |
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January 21 is a day to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Starting in 1994, the day has also been recognized as a national day of service, mobilizing the nation to work together and make a positive impact on their communities.

January 21, the third Monday in January, is a day to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. To honor that legacy, the day is also recognized as a national day of service, mobilizing the nation to work together and make a positive impact on their communities while honoring the activism of Dr. King.

To celebrate the spirit of the day, consider lending a hand in your community today — and all year long. Here are several great MLK Day service opportunities to inspire you to get out, make connections and make an impact near your home. 

Gloves by Britt Le.jpg
You can give back on trail with WTA all year long. Learn more at Photo by Britt Lê.

Garden Work Party with World Relief Seattle
Location: Kent
Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
The Paradise Parking Plots community garden was an underused parking lot that has been transformed into a garden with 50 plots. It is a place where refugees, immigrants and local community members can gather to grow culturally appropriate foods that promote a healthier lifestyle, improve food access, foster economic independence, and build community. We look forward to your help in continuing to build and improve the space!

Grounds Work at Pacific Bonsai Museum
Location: Federal Way
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Volunteers will be working on maintaining healthy, beautiful, forest grounds for the Pacific Bonsai Museum: an open-air museum. The campus, in which the museum sits, is used as a site of natural recreation and exercise by the general public from the surrounding communities. The Museum is responsible for maintaining a portion of the campus grounds. In order for the museum to continue to be open to the public with free admission by donation, it must rely on the help of volunteers for maintenance. Therefore, the volunteers’ work will contribute to providing much needed cultural experiences in a diverse and underserved area that does not yet have a highly concentrated arts community.

Tree Potting with Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
Location: Issaquah
Time: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The Greenway Native Plant Nursery is home to nearly 16,000 native trees and shrubs. The trees and shrubs at the nursery are potted by volunteers and will grow for 1-2 years before being planted by volunteers in parks and forests along I-90. These trees and shrubs are an important part of keeping our natural areas healthy, and potting these plants is the first step in restoring the areas. Thank you for coming out to help this MLK Day!

Restore Neighborhood Green Space with Forterra
Location: Snoqualmie
Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Do you love being outside? If getting down in the dirt is your thing, we have just the right opportunity for you! We will spend the morning removing invasive plants to make room for native plants that support our native birds and other wildlife.

Reclaim West Kubota Natural Forest with Green Seattle
Location: South Seattle
Time: 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 
Come liberate native plants from ivy and blackberry in the West Kubota natural area. We will finish winter planting, supplementing potted plants by live staking. Since 2014 volunteers have reforested the beautiful natural hillsides and ravines along Mapes creek. The reclaimed native area requires continuing care to nurture and establish natural habitat. Volunteers can learn about native species and PNW forest ecology if they are interested

Community Work Party with Bellingham Parks
Location: Bellingham
Time: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Help the City of Bellingham and NSEA honor and achieve Martin Luther King Jr's vision of a beloved community by helping to improve riparian habitat along Whatcom Creek at Maritime Heritage Park.  Please join in supporting our community on this national day of service!

Volunteer Work Party with the Stream Team
Location: Olympia
Time: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Join the City of Olympia and Stream Team in honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a service project at Priest Point Park. We will be removing invasive plants and planting natives.

Weekend of Service with Arc of Spokane
Location: Spokane
Time: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The Arc of Spokane and collaborative respective agencies plan to join the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day activities that already exist in Spokane and provide a practical way to meet the needs in our Spokane community. They will be holding a food & hygiene drive as well as an information booth during the MLK march.

These are just small set of the volunteer opportunities available across the state — but you can search opportunities in your zipcode, try using the National & Community Service volunteer finder, or checking in local papers and community pages.


Keep the spirit, all year long

There are plenty of incredible organizations who need volunteers throughout the year, too. Here are several nonprofits who are doing great work in their communities and could use a hand:

Interim CD: A nonprofit affordable housing and community development organization based in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District which works to advance social justice and equity for low income, Asian and Pacific Islanders, immigrant, and refugee communities.

El Centro de la RazaAn organization grounded in the Latino community, their mission is to build unity across all racial and economic sectors, to organize, empower, and defend our most vulnerable and marginalized populations and to bring justice, dignity, equality, and freedom to all the peoples of the world.

Northwest African American Museum: NAAM’s mission is to spread knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment of the histories, arts and cultures of people of African descent for the enrichment of all.

Latino Community Fund of Washington: The Latino Community Fund cultivates new leaders, supports cultural and community based non-profit organizations, and improves the quality of life for all Washingtonians. To achieve its mission and address the needs of Latinos, LCF programs create a vibrant community through civic engagement, healthy families, arts and culture. 

Asian Counseling and Referral ServicesACRS promotes social justice and the well-being and empowerment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities – including immigrants, refugees, and American-born – by developing, providing and advocating for innovative, effective and efficient community-based multilingual and multicultural services.

Lambert House: Lambert House empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth through the development of leadership, social and life skills.

Got GreenGot Green organizes for environmental, racial, and economic justice as a South Seattle-based grassroots organization led by people of color and low income people. We cultivate multi-generational community leaders to be central voices in the Green Movement in order to ensure that the benefits of the green movement and green economy (green jobs, healthy food, energy efficient & healthy homes, public transit) reach low income communities and communities of color.

Rainier ScholarsRainier Scholars is a 12-year program that offers a pathway to college graduation for hard-working, low-income students of color.  We provide intensive academic preparation, leadership development and personalized support so our scholars can earn their four-year degrees and become career professionals and leaders in our community.

You Grow Girl!: The mission of You Grow Girl! is to provide comprehensive services for young women to reach their authentic self through the development of life skills, confidence and self-respect.

Will you spending MLK day giving your time volunteering in your community? Tell us about it below! And don't forget that WTA offers volunteer opportunities all year long on trails across the state, if you're looking to get more involved!