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MLK Day: Inspiring the Spirit of Service

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CNCS Staff

When asked how to best honor her husband, Coretta Scott King replied, "The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others." As the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service approaches on Jan. 21, 2013, teachers and students across the country are exploring the idea of service to others through an online curriculum created by the Corporation for National and Community Service and Scholastic.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service logo.

These free curriculum-focused lessons approach the idea of service to others through the lens of language arts, social studies, and science. Students in grades 3-8 will discover how Dr. King's words can inspire, teach, and change the world; watch interviews with civil rights pioneers Ruby Bridges and Congressman John Lewis; and create service projects to help their own communities.

“So many students know that Dr. King helped our nation make great strides against racial discrimination and toward increased civil rights, but many are just learning about Dr. King's legacy of service,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “With this curriculum we're inspiring a new generation of service. These lessons teach students that they can help realize Dr. King's dream by going out and volunteering in their community. It doesn't matter how old you are or where you live. Each one of us can make a difference.”

Educators can download the MLK Day Spirit of Service Curriculum at and order free classroom resources (posters, bookmarks, and stickers) and find service project ideas at the MLK Day website.


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