Martin Luther King Jr. Day is more than just a day off of school in January. It is celebrating the life of a man who pledged his life to service in order to change the lives of so many.
In 1994, Congress declared Martin Luther King Jr. Day a day of national service. Participation in the MLK Day of Service has grown over the past decade, with thousands of Americans each year vowing to help do their part to make their community a brighter place for all.
This year there are plenty of opportunities in our community that we can all participate in. Be sure to check the website before attending as some events require registration. Or, consider planning your own day of service on a day that works for you.
MLK Day of Service Events Lake County
Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service
Recreation Center of Highland Park, Highland Park
15 January, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Join the Highland Park community for this 9th annual multigenerational event and take part in meaningful, creative and fun projects to help local community agencies. Proudly presented by the Park District of Highland Park and the City of Highland Park Human Relations Commission.
Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast
D’Andrea Banquet Hall, Crystal Lake
$20 Adults, $10 Students
15 January, 7:30 a.m.
Held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day every January, this event brings together people of all faiths to commemorate the achievements of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and to celebrate our belief in the unity of the human race and the sacredness of creation. The program includes prayers, readings and music, from a variety of traditions. The keynote speaker is selected by the FaithBridge Board to bring a message that helps us understand our part in creating justice and peace in the world.
Annual Martin Luther King Jr Program: One Better World
Lake Forest College, Lake Forest
15 January, 4:30 p.m.
Each year, the Office of Intercultural Relations presents the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Program celebrating Dr. King’s life and legacy. This year’s program will focus on Dr. King’s legacy of action with the hope that our community will be motivated to serve and make a difference in the lives of those around us. The speaker for this year is Vernon A. Wall, an international social justice educator and consultant.
Martin Luther King Dreamer’s Breakfast
Lakehurst Banquets, Waukegan
January 15, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Join Waukegan Township as they reflect on a great leader at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dreamers’ Breakfast. There will be a special tribute to reflect on the life of President Nelson Mandela. In addition, this inter-generational event will feature a local youth will offer a youth prospective and guests will enjoy live entertainment and guest speakers.
Martin Luther King Day of Service – Color a Smile
Waukegan Public Library, Waukegan
Honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and help put a smile on the face of military service members and nursing home residents by coloring a card
Black Creativity Family Day
Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago
January 15, all day
Free to Illinois Residents on this Day
The 2018 Black Creativity Program an annual tradition at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago kicks off on Monday, January 15 with a Family Day event, the annual Juried Art Exhibit and an Innovation Studio experience. These events are included in Museum Entry—which is also free to Illinois residents on this day.
Meet Harriet Tubman
Grayslake Heritage Center & Museum, Grayslake
15 January, 2:00 p.m.
Join us on this day off from school as we learn about Harriet Tubman. Reenactor Pamela Welcome will share Harriet’s life as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and spy during the Civil War through stories and songs.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Drop in Craft
Cook Park Library, Libertyville
15 January, 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Celebrate the legacy and memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. and join us in creating a beautiful collaborative art project. Drop in any time from 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Martin Luther King Day of Service Storytime
Waukegan Public Library, Waukegan
15 January, 5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Learn about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and create a craft promoting peace.
Plan Your Own Day of Service
If you can’t make it to one of these events or want to create your own day of service, below are some organizations that welcome children and families.
Northern Illinois Food Bank
North Suburban Center, 440 Keller Drive, Park City
Weekday shifts available Tuesdays and Thursday; Weeknight shifts on Wednesdays and a shift on Saturday.
Volunteers are needed to help with sorting and packing. Children age eight and older can volunteer with families or in groups with adult chaperones. See website to register for times.
Bernie’s Book Bank
28101 N. Ballard Dr., Unit A, Lake Forest
Drop-in Volunteer hours are available everyday except for Sunday.
Bernie’s Book Bank welcomes volunteers of all ages and abilities to help sort and bag books its processing center. Groups of more than eight are asked to please contact them in advance to set up a time. Volunteers under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. See website for specific times and more information.
Lake County Forest Preserve District
Many volunteer times and shifts are available.
The LCFPD has many opportunities for families to volunteer. These are mostly warmer weather restoration activity best suited for older children. Projects can include pulling invasive plants, picking up garbage or planting. See the LCFPD website for information and specific opportunities for families.
Feed my Starving Children
742 East Park Ave. (Rt. 176), Libertyville
Many volunteer shifts available, must register ahead of time.
Loralie gave you the full details on volunteering with kids at FMSC where volunteers will pack lunches for the hungry throughout the world. Minimum age for volunteering is five. It’s recommended that groups of children be in at least 3rd grade. .
St. Lawrence Church., 125 West Church Street, Libertyville
Held the 3rd Saturday of every month from 8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Hope Café is the name given to a Community Meal St. Lawrence provides on the 3rd Saturday morning of every month. This is a cooperative effort with a mobile food pantry provided by our neighbors at The First Presbyterian Church. All are welcome to help assist.
Martin Luther King Food Drive
15 January ,10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
1207 Park Avenue West, Highland Park
Please bring non-perishables for the Moraine Township Food Pantry. Drive-thru donations available from the convenience of your car!
How will you be serving your community this month?