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MLK Day of Service at City Year Detroit


Service to a cause greater than oneself is a core value for City Year and it’s why at City Year Detroit, the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is an official day of service. We’re not off. We are on! MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all Americans to participate in service projects to improve their communities. By serving, we honor Dr. King’s legacy by working toward a more just and equitable society.

This MLK Day, our staff and AmeriCorps members gathered at three locations: Kiwanis Club of Detroit, Matrix Human Services, and our headquarters. Kiwanis Club of Detroit’s Books for Kids Program has supplied over 100,000 free new children’s books each year since 2001 so that every child can own books. Matrix Human Services has been advocating for and serving the Metro Detroit community for more than a century at more than 35 Detroit locations. Their wide range of programs educate children, support families, and rebuild neighborhoods in Detroit.



Service is a fundamental force that builds community between organizations, community leaders, and residents. I love that City Year celebrates MLK Day as a day on, honoring Dr. King’s legacy through impactful service. In just a few hours at 3 different locations, we were able to organize and label 3,500 books, sort and fold 5 tables full of interview clothes, craft 10 blankets, assemble 200 hygiene kits and 250 back-to-school bags, and prepare 5 garbage bins full of paper to be shredded. More than just the physical results we can count, there was a lasting impact, not just on the communities affected, but on all the individuals who served. The collective spirit, unity, and shared purpose that emerge when people dedicate themselves to a common cause on MLK Day embody what Dr. King wisely said, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’ Imagine the ripple effect if everyone dedicated a few hours to serve, creating a wave of positive change that goes far beyond the initial act of service.”

– Jessenia Cranfill, Challenge Detroit Fellow at City Year Detroit

Our service projects at Kiwanis Book Club of Detroit and Matrix Human Services included helping to prepare books for distribution, cleaning, and sorting and folding interview clothing. At our headquarters, we assembled hygiene kits and back-to-school bags and crafted no-sew blankets. These items will be donated to organizations like Alternatives for Girls and Elli’s House.



You don’t have to wait until the next Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday to act on Dr. King’s legacy of social justice and equity. Commit to volunteering in your community today!

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