Make Martin Luther King Day a Day “On,” Not a Day Off

Dec 21, 2023

a day on not a day off

While many see Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day off, we see it as a “day on.” It’s an opportunity to start your year in the spirit of volunteerism and service, continuing the legacy of Dr. King, who spent his life working to better the lives of others.

Just as Martin Luther King Jr. believed in service, so did Points of Light founder President George H. W. Bush. Once saying, “Any definition of a successful life must include serving others,” President Bush recognized the importance of this day when he signed the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission Extension Act in 1989. In 1994, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating MLK Day as a national day of service.

Since then, each year on MLK Day, Points of Light calls together its community of changemakers to reflect on gains won during the Civil Rights Movement and to address contemporary issues facing our nation through acts of volunteer service.

ways you can get involved on Jan. 15, 2024 For a day on, not a day off


Visit Points of Light’s Engage platform to find MLK Day volunteer opportunities in your community. You can also create your own project using one of our DIY toolkits. Many of the Points of Light Global Network affiliates are hosting volunteer events for MLK Day. You can search our network to find opportunities near you.

Host a Sunday Supper

Inspired by Dr. King’s vision that people of diverse backgrounds would come together to discuss injustices of the day and create a plan for action, “Sunday Suppers” call people to engage in dialogue about issues affecting their communities. Conversations, a form of civic engagement, about pressing topics are important because they are often the starting point for change.

Get Kids Involved

Volunteering as a family is a special opportunity to bond, create memories and help others. Include kids in your MLK Day service plans. Volunteer together and use this time to lead by example around what MLK’s legacy means for the United States today.

Honor a Volunteer

Recognize volunteer leaders with the MLK Drum Majors for Service Award. This special President’s Volunteer Service Award honors volunteers who perform extraordinary everyday acts of service. You can also nominate a deserving volunteer for the Daily Point of Light Award.

As the first national day of service in 2024, let MLK Day be your start to a year-long commitment to service. Leading a life of volunteerism has been shown to have benefits not only to the community, but also to the volunteer. And there are so many opportunities to get involved.

Join us on MLK Day to jumpstart a year of volunteerism and service to make our communities, and the world, a better place for all.

Points of Light

We are champions of civic engagement with a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.