“The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a powerful reminder of the importance of equality, justice, and compassion. Celebrating his legacy by volunteering in the local community is a meaningful tribute to his life's work and an opportunity to enrich the lives of those who participate,” says Y.E.S. Coordinator Melea Smith.
In 1994, Congress designated the federal holiday as a national day of service. MLK Day of Service is observed as a “day on,” not a day off, and is intended to strengthen communities, create solutions to social problems, and build connections.
This year, the Cal Poly Humboldt community sent volunteers to several different locations, including the University’s Oh Snap! Food Pantry, which serves students at Cal Poly Humboldt by providing access to food and basic needs resources. Volunteers sorted food and clothing donations for the campus’s thrift store and cleaned the pantry to prepare for the first day of classes.
Volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club of the Redwoods helped clean, sort, and maintain high-use program spaces, including garden projects at the Eureka Clubhouse and Teen Center. The Boys and Girls Club of the Redwoods serves the community as a youth development program for children ages 6 to 18.
Volunteers at the Jefferson Community Center assisted with indoor and outdoor site improvement projects. The Jefferson Community Center and Westside Community Improvement Association in Eureka support and facilitate programs to revitalize neighborhoods by increasing recreational, educational, and vocational opportunities.
At the Northcoast Regional Land Trust (NRLT), volunteers worked outside to assist with invasive plant removal to enhance wetland restoration projects and improve the Freshwater Farms Reserve Nature Trail. They also helped develop a pollinator habitat.
“In my experience with the MLK Day of Service at Humboldt, volunteers return to campus with big smiles on their faces, energized and uplifted from their morning at community sites. We hope that volunteers can channel the inspiration and connection they feel during the volunteer event into future action and learning,” Smith says.
For more information on MLK Day of Service, “A Day On, Not A Day Off,” and Y.E.S., visit yes.humboldt.edu/mlk.