MLK Day of service

Honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by serving others, strengthening communities

Paul Olson, Thrivent Rocky Mountain Region manager of community engagement, spent many Martin Luther King Jr. holidays (MLK Days) on the slopes in Denver, Colorado.

Until recently, he didn't think twice about his MLK Day activities. That is, until he heard Daniel Shannon, 2016-2017 co-chair of Thrivent's Hues Leadership Network1, discuss how Americans can honor the legacy and continue the work of Martin Luther King Jr. by serving other people.

"In many communities, MLK Day is viewed as a day of service," says Shannon. "Rather than a day off, we can continue the work he was doing by using it as a day to volunteer or serve."

This started Olson on a journey to consider the true meaning and purpose of MLK Day – a celebration of the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., and an opportunity to honor his legacy through acts of service that strengthen communities.

This year Olson will participate in a Martin Luther King Jr. march and rally in Denver. He also encourages Thrivent members to "look for opportunities in your community to serve on this day to honor the legacy of Dr. King."

Taking place on the third Monday in January each year, MLK Day is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a day on, not a day off.

"Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."

– Martin Luther King Jr.

Make it a day on, not a day off

On Monday, January 15, find a meaningful way to serve your community. Volunteer to give back at a local nursing home, hospital, animal shelter, library, food bank or soup kitchen. All acts of service are generous acts.

Other ideas:

  • Involve your kids in your service project to create memories together while helping others.
  • Consider taking time to honor or thank a volunteer who's helped in your community.
  • Start a conversation about how Martin Luther King Jr. made an impact on millions of Americans.

Find more service opportunities in your local community.

Get involved: Lead a Thrivent Action Team

Eligible Thrivent Members can apply to lead a Thrivent Action Team to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Need some inspiration? Check out these Thrivent Action Team ideas (PDF).

To apply:

  1. Click on "Apply now" below to log in.
  2. Complete the application.

Once your activity is approved, you'll receive $250 in seed money to jump-start your event as well as a kit containing T-shirts and a banner to create visibility.

Need ideas for being of service throughout the year? Learn more about how you can help families receive affordable housing through Thrivent Builds.

1 Hues Leadership Network is a Thrivent employee business resource group focused on professional development for employees of color. It is open to all employees.