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The Community Foundation Blog

Make MLK Day 'a day on, not a day off'
By The Community Foundation / January 10, 2019
Make MLK Day 'a day on, not a day off'

The great Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired our nation to strive for equality, justice, peace, service and so much more. Over the long weekend that celebrates his legacy, we encourage the Richmond community to not only reflect on his teachings, but to recommit themselves to serving and bettering our community.

Many community partners have come together to create opportunities for locals to get involved by having community conversations, volunteering and donating supplies to local schools. One of the primary coordinators of these activities is the Community Foundation’s Civic Innovation arm, HandsOn Greater Richmond.  

“This Day of Service is important because it’s a way to transform Dr. King's life and teachings into community service that helps address critical issues in our region," said Christina Mastroianni, Director of Engagement at the Community Foundation. "HandsOn RVA provides various opportunities for volunteers to connect to service on this day and throughout the year."

Below are several ways that you can get involved throughout the MLK Day holiday weekend.

RPS School Supply Drive

Community members can join together to support Richmond Public Schools by collecting and donating school supplies, which will be distributed to students in January 2019. There are two donation drop-off days and volunteers are asked to bring at least 5 items from the list. 

Below are the items needed, and those that are in BOLD are priority:

  • Pack of pencils (at least 12 pack)
  • Pack of erasers 
  • Pencil sharpeners (pack of hand-held or larger mechanical)
  • Pencil pouches
  • Blue pens
  • Black pens
  • Pack of highlighters
  • Mead Composition Notebook
  • Spiral notebooks
  • Loose-leaf paper (standard rule)
  • Copy paper
  • Sheet protectors 3x5
  • Index cards
  • Glue sticks
  • Children's scissors
  • Regular scissors
  • Box of crayons
  • Box of markers
  • Ruler(s)
  • Four-function calculators
  • Box of tissues 
  • Hand sanitizer (10 oz. or more)
  • Dry erase board
  • Markers & erasers
  • Folders with 2 pockets

When: Sunday, January 20 and Monday, January 21, 2019

Register for the drive: Sign up to collect and/or donate supplies

Hosted by: RPS, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC), University of Richmond Bonner Center for Civic Engagement and HandsOn Greater Richmond

Community Service Projects

Sign up for a slot on one of several projects at nonprofit and community groups in Richmond. Many volunteer opportunities are family friendly and include activities like weeding, sorting and organizing, painting and much more. 

When: Monday, January 21, 2019

Where: Across Richmond, VA

How: Volunteer for an MLK Day Service Project

Film and Discussion

STEP (PG, 2017): This documentary follows the senior high school girls on the step team of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women as they prepare to be the first in their families to go to college – and the school's first graduating class. STEP is more than just a hobby for these girls; it is the outlet that keeps them united and fighting for their goals.

When: Sunday, January 20, 2019. Doors open around 4 p.m., movie begins at 4:30 p.m.

Where: The Byrd Theatre: 2908 W. Cary Street.

Bring: School supplies to donate to RPS (see needs above)

Register: FREE TO THE PUBLIC! Get tickets here

The film will be followed by a short discussion and community conversation with HandsOn and co-hosts, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC) and the University of Richmond Bonner Center for Civic Engagement.

Community Discussion Opportunities

Take this opportunity to gather your friends, family or colleagues and have a discussion around your community. You can use the following discussion questions as a guide:

  • What is one thing you'd like to change in your community?
  • What are the characteristics of a healthy community? 
  • What skills, resources, or talents do you have that you could use to change your community?

Visit to view service projects and sign up, or to download resources to use at home. Follow @HandsOnRVA and #MLKDayRVA on social media.

We hope you can join us in these service opportunities to make MLK Day “a day on, not a day off”!

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