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To mark the 25th anniversary of the King Holiday, and to encourage ongoing service throughout the year, we are launching the MLK 25 Challenge – a call to all Americans to honor Dr. King by pledging to take at least 25 actions during 2011 to make a difference for others and strengthen our communities. Watch the MLK 25 Challenge video.

From something as simple as cleaning a neighborhood park to a more intensive commitment such as becoming a mentor, the key is to give of yourself in some way to help others. You may want to volunteer in a range of efforts, or make a sustained commitment to a single cause. There is no shortage of work to be done, or lack of ways to get involved. Follow your passion, and find something that’s right for you. You can find volunteer opportunities and get ideas for your own projects by visiting Serve.gov.

Here are some ideas to get you started:
1
Send a letter or care package to a soldier deployed overseas
2
Visit a wounded veteran at the hospital
3
Donate unused frequent flier miles to a military family organization
4
Do home repairs for a veteran or military family
5
Drive a veteran or military family member to a medical appointment
6
Help a veteran tell their story through an oral history project
7
Serve and prepare food at a homeless shelter
8
Help someone who is out of work with their resume or job search
9
Donate to your local food bank
10
Volunteer as an income tax preparer
11
Help build or renovate a home
12
Donate gently used professional clothes to an organization that helps people rejoin the workforce
13
Volunteer at a food pantry to prepare and distribute meals
14
Clean your closets, attic, basement, or garage and donate gently used items to a homeless shelter
15
Organize a coat and winter clothes drive
16
Deliver meals to homebound seniors
17
Stop and have a conversation with a homeless person
18
Help a local nonprofit post their volunteer opportunities on Serve.gov
19
Spread the word about your city's emergency warming centers and hypothermia hotlines
20
Help connect a homeless person to services they need
21
Serve on a nonprofit board of directors
22
Share your technology skills with a nonprofit that needs them
23
Volunteer on a hotline
24
Become a mentor
25
Teach English classes to adults
26
Volunteer or donate books to your local library
27
Teach a senior how to use a computer
28
Serve as a tutor
29
Teach parenting classes to young fathers and mothers
30
Participate in a service-learning project
31
Become a homework helper at your school
32
Volunteer to lead a club or teach an after-school enrichment class
33
Read books to elementary school students
34
Chaperone a school field trip
35
Organize a book drive
36
Participate in a school beautification project
37
Be a recess or lunchroom monitor
38
Bring someone new with you when you volunteer
39
Participate in a charity ride or race
40
Hold a dance for your local senior center or nursing home
41
Become a virtual volunteer by helping a nonprofit with graphic design
42
Volunteer at your local youth or recreation center
43
Invite local police officers to present a drug awareness or safety program
44
Read books or the newspaper on tape for the visually impaired
45
Be a hospice volunteer
46
Take a volunteer vacation
47
Attend a meeting of your neighborhood association
48
Visit patients or provide administrative support at a hospital
49
Assemble emergency supply kits
50
Get trained to respond to emergencies
51
Become CPR certified
52
Make presentations to schools and community groups about emergency preparedness
53
Become a volunteer firefighter or EMT
54
Volunteer with your local police department
55
Help create or expand a community garden
56
Clean up a nearby empty lot, or pick up trash on your street or in your neighborhood
57
Walk or bike to work or school once a week
58
Test the health of the water in your local lakes, rivers, and streams
59
Replace old light bulbs with energy efficient ones and turn off appliances when you're not using them
60
Take mass transit more often
61
Make an intensive commitment to serve by joining AmeriCorps
62
Join the bone marrow registry
63
Become a coach for a youth sports team
64
Make quilts or blankets for hospitalized children or wounded soldiers
65
Volunteer on MLK Day and the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance
66
Create a neighborhood safety patrol
67
Help build a playground
68
Rake leaves, shovel snow, clean gutters, or wash windows for a neighbor
69
Share your lifetime of skills and experience by joining Senior Corps
70
Give blood
71
Be a friend to someone with mental illness
72
Pick up groceries for a senior citizen in your community
73
Volunteer at a local animal shelter
74
Check in on your elderly or disabled neighbors regularly, especially in hot and cold weather
75
Visit Serve.gov to find a volunteer opportunity

We hope this list is a starting point for you to develop your own commitments. However you choose to get involved, you will be making a difference at a time when our nation needs your service. As Dr. King said “Make a career of humanity...and you will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

How will you answer the MLK 25 Challenge? Follow MLK Day on Twitter and use the hashtag “#MLK25” to tell us how you will be serving this year. We’ll post some of your responses throughout the year.

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Additional Opportunities

Additional opportunities to serve include:

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