Honoring of Martin Luther King Jr.: Acts of Service That Add Up

A group of volunteers hold of wood framework s a new house os constructed.

Three decades ago this year, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a National Day of Service. 

Volunteering your time and talent on MLK Day and throughout the year helps make Dr. King's vision of a beloved community a reality. You can celebrate Dr. King's legacy by volunteering, knowing your service helps empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, and create solutions in your community.

There are endless ways to give back to the Mecklenburg community: help protect public health by getting a flu shot; support the local economy by dining, shopping, and doing business with small, local businesses, serve on a County Advisory Board, Committee, & Commission or by volunteering your time in a number of ways with Park and Recreation

From January through December of 2023, 6,300 volunteers donated 38,100 hours to support and supplement the work of Park and Recreation staff, a 16% increase from 2022. Volunteer roles ranged from youth sport coaches to recreation/senior/nature center assistants to park/greenway/community garden/nature preserve project volunteers and more. This volunteer time added approximately $1,174,700 in value to Park and Recreation and had an immeasurable impact on the Mecklenburg County community.

Like Dr. King said, ““Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” There are opportunities for all ages and skill sets to volunteer with Park and Recreation:

  • Be a youth sports coach: We depend on hundreds of volunteer coaches every year to help make our youth sports amazing. Find a recreation center convenient to you to find out what sports are available.
  • Join the “Trash Trackers": Explore a different location each month while you connect with people and nature, all the while making a positive difference in our community by removing trash from our Nature Preserves and Parks!
  • Be a homework tutor: Students aged 5 to 14 receive weekly tutoring and homework help during the school year - led by Park & Recreation staff. Volunteers provide valuable 1-on-1 assistance for these scholars. A great opportunity to provide a positive example to youth and teens. Student materials/supplies are provided.
  • Host Bingo for Seniors: Programs for Seniors at the Northern Regional Recreation & Senior Centers are a big hit, and we could use some help!
  • Group projects: Sign your church group, neighborhood association or other civic group up to volunteer together. We also offer opportunities for Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops.

It’s easy to volunteer with Park and Rec and support your community: