MLK Day of Service - “A Day On, Not A Day Off”

Photos from MLK Day of Service, January 2024

Women's basketball team volunteers paint the rainbow stairs at Jefferson.

Women's basketball team painting at Jefferson

Student volunteers paint the rainbow stairs at Jefferson. A yellow and purple playground can be seen in the background.

Painting the rainbow stairs at Jefferson

Two volunteers week around the base of a tree at the Jefferson Community Center

Weeding and mulching trees at Jefferson

A mother and two sons add mulch around the base of a tree at Jefferson Community Center

Mulching trees at Jefferson

Two student volunteers, Marylisa Wood (staff), and Dr. Mitchell (Dean of Students) weed around a garden trellis.

Tending the garden at the Boys and Girls Club

Three volunteers mulch a garden bed. Two student work with rakes and one student bends down and used gloved hands to spread the

Mulching a garden bed at Freshwater Farms Reserve

A large group of volunteers gather in a circle in front of the Freshwater Farms barn to reflect on their volunteer experience

Reflecting on their volunteer experience with the NRLT

A large group of volunteers stand in front of the SBS building at Cal Poly Humboldt before leaving for sites on MLK Day

77 volunteers joined the MLK Day of Service in 2024

MLK Day of Service

Each January, Cal Poly Humboldt students, staff, faculty, and community members are invited to join in a morning of community service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This is a wonderful opportunity to contribute to local organizations while commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. King. 

What is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Why is it a “Day of Service?”

Legislation signed in 1983 marked the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a federal holiday.  In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service.  Each year, on the third Monday in January, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is observed as a “day on, not a day off.

Who organizes this event? 

The MLK Day of Service is a collaborative event organized by several programs at Cal Poly Humboldt. We are proud to partner with College of the Redwoods for MLK Day of Service in 2025. 

Student Volunteer Reflection

“After attending my first MLK Day of Service event, I really look forward to being able to participate in future events like this one on campus and in the community! It was super rewarding being able to connect with peers in a face-to-face setting and share the significance of the holiday while giving back and building community with one another.” 

- Autumn Cry-Mark, Cal Poly Humboldt student and Y.E.S. student leader 

Community Partner Feedback

MLK Day with YES House has become a tradition. From our inception, participants from the University have come and invested their time and talents in beautifying and building up our Community Center. The Jefferson Community Center, located in an formerly abandoned school, is founded and led by neighbors in the most ethnically diverse and lowest median income section of Eureka. Through volunteerism and community support, together we have created the bustling, beautiful heartbeat of our neighborhood.  THANK YOU!"

- Heidi Benzonelli, President Westside Community Improvement Association

“Together, we repaired a fence, removed over 2 truckloads of invasive vegetation, and just about 500 lbs of trash from this former dairy farm. After last weekend's winter storm and flooding, the community garden was looking rough, with sheet mulching that floated away, and vegetation that tangled into the fence and pulled it down during the flood. Now, the space looks better than ever - what would have taken staff a month to fix was done in a short 3 hours!”

- Northcoast Regional Land Trust (Instagram post 1/17/24)

“The work we did today saved me a month’s worth of work in 3 hours. This was huge! So amazing!”

- Matt Drummond, Community Garden Planner


MLK Day Collaborators

MLK Day of Service is Organized and Supported By:

  • Division of Enrollment Management & Student Success
  • Office of Student Life
  • Youth Educational Services (Y.E.S.)
  • Umoja Center
  • Social Justice, Equity, and Inclusion Center
  • Center for Community-Based Learning
  • College of the Redwoods

MLK Day of Service Community Partners have included:

MLK Day of Service 2025

Event information coming later this fall.

January 15, 2024      8:00am-12:00pm  

8:00-8:15am: Volunteer Registration & Breakfast Snacks/Coffee (catered)

  • Sign-in, release of liability and field trip roster forms

  • Glove distribution

  • Breakfast drink and light snacks available

  • T-shirts available for the first 100 volunteers!

8:20am: Welcome Message

  • Welcome remarks

  • Project & logistics overview

8:30am: Group Photo

8:40am: Load Busses (or Vans) and Departure for Community-Based Sites

8:40-9:00am: Travel to Community Sites

9:00am-11:45am: Engagement at Community-Based Sites

  • Off Campus: 3 community sites (Eureka)

  • On Campus Service Event: Event Clean-Up and OhSnap! 

11:45am-12:00pm: Return to Humboldt 

Volunteer Event Details: MLK Day of Service - January 15, 2024

Cal Poly Humboldt students, staff and faculty, and community members are invited to participate in a morning of community service. Volunteer and support our Humboldt community! 
T-shirts available for the first 100 volunteers. Breakfast snacks, coffee & tea provided.

Volunteer Projects / Community Site Descriptions

Oh Snap! Food Pantry - Cal Poly Humboldt Campus (10 volunteers)
Volunteers will help sort donations for the campus thrift store. Volunteers will also assist with food sorting and pantry cleaning to prepare for the first day of school! This program serves students at Cal Poly Humboldt in providing access to food and basic needs resources.
Boys and Girls Club of the Redwoods (10 volunteers)
Volunteers will help to clean, sort, and maintain high-use program spaces, including garden projects at the Eureka Clubhouse and Teen Center. The Boys and Girls Club of the Redwoods serves the community as a youth development program for children ages 6 to 18.

Jefferson Community Center (30 volunteers)
Volunteers will assist with indoor and outdoor site improvement projects at this urban community space in Eureka. The Jefferson Community Center and Westside Community Improvement Association (WCIA) supports and facilitates programs to revitalize neighborhoods by increasing recreational, educational and vocational opportunities.

Northcoast Regional Land Trust (NRLT) (40 volunteers)
Volunteers will work outside to assist with invasive plant removal to enhance wetland restoration projects and improve the Freshwater Farms Reserve Nature Trail. Volunteers will also help develop a pollinator habitat. Join the Northcoast Regional Land Trust at the Freshwater Farm Reserve and help protect native plant biodiversity at this beautiful 74-acre property of protected wetlands and pastures.

MLK Day Of Civic Engagement January 2021 and 2022 - A Recap

MLK Day Of Civic Engagement January 2021 and 2022 - A Recap

January 2022

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Civic Engagement

“A Day On, Not A Day Off”

Closing Speaker: Bree Newsome 

Virtual Speaker & Guest

Monday, January 17th, 2022


Schedule for the Day

8:00-8:15am: Volunteer Registration & Breakfast Snacks/Coffee (catered)

  • Sign-in, release of liability, and field trip roster forms
  • T-shirt and glove distribution
  • Drinks and granola bars available (room off lobby)

8:20am: Welcome Message

  • Welcome remarks: Dr. Eboni Ford Turnbow
  • Project & logistics overview: Melea Smith

8:30am: Group Photo

8:40am: Load Busses and Departure for Community-Based Sites

9:00-10:45am: Engagement at Community-Based Sites

  • Off-campus: 3-4 community sites (Eureka and Arcata)
  • On Campus: Event clean-up and OhSnap!

10:45-11:00am: Return to campus

11:00-11:15: Grab & Go Lunch

  • Return work gloves

12:00-1:25pm: Closing Speaker (Bree Newsome)

  • Hyflex event in the Great Hall (with Zoom access for virutal attendees)
  • Closing speaker
  • Q & A / Reflection

1:25-1:30pm: Evaluations

MLK Day Flier



January 2021

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Civic Engagement

“A Day On, Not A Day Off”

A Morning of Civic Engagement & Community Organizing Workshops

Monday, January 18th, 2021


Schedule & Recordings for the Day

9:35-10:00am: Land/Labor Acknowledgement & Welcome Message 

9:50-11:00am: Keynote Speaker - LaTosha Brown

11:05am-12:00pm: Break Out Sessions (2 workshops offered)

  • Art and Community Activism

  • The Salvation of Democracy: Civic Engagement of the Dispossessed

    • Presented by: Ron White from Humboldt Area Foundation & Chair of a National Organizing Network
    • Movements are often spearheaded by those most oppressed in society but results in the expansion of the democratic promise for all. This presentation will explore how marginalized communities have organized and breathed life into campaigns that have expanded our franchise of participation. We will use this conversation to explore what this means for local politics
    • Recording:

12:00-12:30pm: Reflection & Closing