Don’t let the MLK holiday be just another day off of school, participate in one of the many local service activities in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of strengthening communities. This year’s Day of Service is Monday, January 16. Read below for a list of age-appropriate activities that will ignite the spirit of volunteerism in your child and be fun for the whole family to participate in.

sorting-toysphoto: North Charleston via flickr

Recycle Electronics with Free Geek
Have a little tech monster on your hands? Volunteers at this event will help tear-down and recycle electronic components at Free Geek – a nonprofit that recycles and refurbishes used technology and provides training on re-building electronics. Ages 10 and older with adult chaperone, or 16 and older without. Volunteer registration and RSVP required.

Mon., Jan. 16
9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
1731 SE 10th Ave.

Remove Weeds Along Johnson Creek
Pulling weeds can be fun! Keep our wetlands healthy and thriving by removing invasive plants along Johnson Creek. Children welcome with adult chaperone, or 16 and older without. Wear warm, waterproof clothes and footwear. Email to register.

Mon., Jan. 16
8:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
SE 21st Ave & Clatsop St.

Plant Trees with Friends of Trees at Ibach Park in Tualatin
Love nature and don’t mind getting a little muddy? Help plant trees in Ibach Park. Breakfast, warm beverages and guidance provided. Wear warm, waterproof clothes and footwear. No pre-registration required. Groups of five or more are asked to RSVP by emailing

Mon., Jan. 16
8:45 a.m. to register
10455 SW Ibach St. in Tualatin


Photo: U.S. Department of Agricu via Flickr.

Help Eliminate Hunger with the Oregon Food Bank
Want to learn a little about the food supply chain? Volunteers will repack and sort donated food for distribution to hungry families. Ages 6 and older with adult. Be sure to wear closed shoes and clothes that can get a little dirty. Volunteer registration and RSVP required.

Mon., Jan. 16
9-11:30 a.m.
79 NE 33rd Dr.

Make Memories at Portland Memory Garden

Alzheimer’s and dementia impacts a lot of children and families. Help explain these circumstances and make positive associations by volunteering with simple gardening at the Portland Memory Garden. Children welcome with adult chaperone. Email for more information.

Mon., Jan. 16
8:00 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Ed Benedict Park at SE 104th, between Powell Boulevard and Bush Street

Sort Donations with Northwest Children’s Outreach in Vancouver
Ever wonder where your items go after they’re donated? Help Northwest Children’s Outreach sort through toys, clothing, books, baby and hygiene supplies to ready the materials for needy families. Ages 4 and older with adult, or 14 and older without. Volunteer registration and RSVP required. *Note that NCO is a faith-based nonprofit and there may be a short prayer at the beginning of the project. Volunteers of all faiths are welcome and each volunteer may choose whether or not they wish to participate in the prayer.

Mon., Jan. 16
9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
6615 E Mill Plain in Vancouver

Need to stay indoors, or forgot to sign up for an event? Assist your little helper in sorting through their old books and clothing and make a trip to the local thrift store, or come up with your own family tradition to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

How does your family plan to spend the day? Please share in the comments!

-—April Hasson