Celebrating Martin Luther King Day: An Opportunity for Service with Grandchildren

Honoring the Dream Banner - Celebrating Martin Luther King Day - Adventures in NanaLand

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most inspirational leaders in history. Born on January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. lived a life of service to his country and community. We can honor his memory by a day of celebration known as Martin Luther King Day.

Martin Luther King Day is a day that we set aside to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his work in the 1960s fighting for the civil rights of African Americans in America. The day of observance is a great way for each of us to reflect on how we can be better citizens in our own communities and around the world.

Each year, a weekend of service is held in connection with Martin Luther King Day. This is a chance for communities to come together in meaningful ways. One way for grandparents to share the importance of this day with their grandchildren is to participate in service in and around their own communities during the weekend of service.

By serving together, grandparents can set an example for their grandchildren as well as take advantage of the opportunity to talk to the kids about helping others, lifting them up, and treating everyone as equals.

Here are a few suggestions for service projects that grandparents and grandchildren can participate in together along with some resources to accomplish them:

  • Care packages for military familiesMilitary.com has resources that have been vetted so you don’t have to worry about scams. These sources can help you with all aspects of sending care packages.
    Girl with lady in military uniform - Celebrating Martin Luther King Day - Adventures in NanaLand.com
  • Planting flowers at a care center – Always make sure you get permission first, but a few flowers can brighten up an otherwise drab area. As an alternate, you can paint rocks with inspirational messages to place in an already existing garden area.
    Children planting flowers - Celebrating Martin Luther King Day - Adventures in NanaLand.com
  • Helping in a community vegetable garden – Check your local community government website or justserve.org. These sites often have resources to help you find a project like this in your local area.
    older people working in small community vegetable garden - Celebrating Martin Luther King Day - Adventures in NanaLand.com
  • Donating books to a library – I’m not aware of any library who would turn down donated books. However, keep in mind that the books you donate should either be new or in really good used condition.
    little girl donating books and library shelves - Celebrating Martin Luther King Day - Adventures in NanaLand.com
  • Cleaning up a park/playground – Be smart when choosing a location to clean up. Make sure the community space is safe from crime or illegal activity.
    A family picking up trash in the park - Celebrating Martin Luther King Day - Adventures in NanaLand.com
  • Making sandwiches for the homeless – While you could do this on your own if you feel confident about doing so, there are organizations that coordinate these efforts. Again, justserve.org often has resources to point you in the right direction here.
    giving a sandwich to a homeless man
  • Visiting the elderly shut-ins – There are many in our communities who don’t have the ability to get out and go places. Even if they have family support close-by, the families are likely busy and can’t attend to their shut-in family member all the time.
    little girl bringing flowers to elderly woman - Celebrating Martin Luther King Day - Adventures in NanaLand.com
  • Tutoring students – This service works well to do with your teenage grands. Together, you can tutor younger children in math, spelling, language arts, reading, and other basic skills.
    teenager helping small child with reading
  • Working with a charity or cause that is important to you both – Contact the charity of your choice and talk to them about the best way for you to help them. You can volunteer or raise money or awareness for their entity.
    Multigenerational family volunteering together
  • Take pictures of headstones at a cemetery for a search website like Billiongraves.com. This is an easy activity that is surprisingly fun. It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt.

There are so many different ways you can serve with your grandchildren in your community. If your grandchildren do not live close, you can choose a service that you can each do in your respective communities and then come together and talk about your experiences.

Another thing that you can do is to serve within your own family. Choose a way to help your grandchildren figure out how to serve within your family. Do you have a family member who is in the military or serving in some way away from home? You could write letters or draw pictures to send. Is there someone who is going through a difficult time who could use some extra help? Maybe someone in the family has just had a new baby. You could clean the house or bring in some meals.

The bottom line is that there are so many ways around us to serve and make the world a little bit better than we found it.

Hopefully, these ideas will inspire you and your grandchildren to do something good together in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. As Dr. King once said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” Let’s all work together to answer this question in our own unique way.

Mural of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I found someone who put together some fun, free printables especially for Martin Luther King Day. Check out The Flanders Family Homelife blog. They have put together a few pages of great resources to learn while you celebrate this special observance day.

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