“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The United States Congress designated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national day of service in 1994 and directed the Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs the AmeriCorps, to lead volunteer and promotional efforts. Twenty-five years later, many other nonprofits around the country have jumped on board with making the third Monday in January a “day on, not a day off.”
Here in Atlanta, it’s an especially fitting tribute to spend some of all of MLK, Jr. Day in service to others because Atlanta was his hometown. Many organizations that encourage families with kids to volunteer together on projects that benefit families just like yours, or families who may look different but who have the same needs, hopes and dreams as you. You and your kids can support a wide variety of causes close to your family’s heart through the organizations below. Check with an individual organization about their age limits before committing to a project.
Spend your MLK, Jr. Day giving back by volunteering with your kids in Atlanta. You might discover a new family activity you’ll want to continue year-round!
Where to Volunteer with Kids in Atlanta
- The Drake House, Roswell
- The Drake House provides housing and education for homeless single mothers and their children in north metro Atlanta. Volunteer positions are open to individuals age 16 and up and include including professional services, office assistance, mentors, tutors, program speakers, youth group volunteers, landscaping teams, store cashiers, inventory sorters, fundraisers, marketers, advocates and event volunteers. In addition, volunteers staff The Drake House’s three secondhand clothing stores (The Drake Closet) in Alpharetta, Roswell and Sandy Springs.
- Helping Mamas, Norcross
- Helping Mamas is “the baby supply bank of Georgia” and partners with more than 150 agencies in the metro Atlanta area to serve the immediate needs of parents needing help. Their volunteer opportunities are open to anyone age 5 and older, and include office tasks, shopping assignments, sorting donations, and making art and crafts for families in need. HM also offers student internships for high school and college students.
- Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage & Disability, Decatur
- ISDD works to help children with disabilities living in socially and economically disadvantaged circumstances gain access to the medical and support services needed to lead healthier, more fulfilling and productive lives. Their two main projects are Healthcare Without Walls and Project GRANDD, which supports grandparents raising grandchildren with developmental disabilities, chronic health conditions or learning/behavior disorders. Volunteer positions that aid their support groups, plus positions at special events, are available.
- Little Helpers of Atlanta, multiple locations
- From their Facebook page, “Little Helpers is designed to help young people understand the value of volunteering, recognize the blessings in their lives, broaden their community perspective and feel the sense of accomplishment received from lending a helping hand. The ultimate goal of the program is to raise confident children who see giving back to the community as a normal aspect of their lives.” Volunteer opportunities for children and their parents include donation drives, activities with seniors in assisted living, and fund days with foster kids.
- Mary Hall Freedom House, Sandy Springs
- This organization helps women and children escape domestic violence and get back on their feet. Volunteer opportunities include helping with their daycare and special events.
- Meals by Grace, Alpharetta, Cumming, Dawsonville
- Meals by Grace aims to help children in need by feeding them and their families. Volunteer opportunities include cooking meals, sorting food donations and manning their food pantry as families shop, and delivering meals to homes. Special “Kids in the Kitchen” cooking days are open to children under 12 only!
- North Fulton Community Charities, multiple locations
- North Fulton Community Charities assists residents living in North Fulton serving the cities of Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park and Roswell with short-term emergency needs. NFCC collaborates with many local providers to provide the resources necessary to help individuals and families remain stable in our community – providing everything from warming centers to tax preparation services. NFCC provides services in English and Spanish. One-time and ongoing volunteer opportunities are available for individuals 13 and up.
- Rise Against Hunger, Marietta
- Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief organization that distributes food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable, mobilizing the necessary resources to end hunger by 2030. In the Atlanta area, RAG often provides meals to students who would otherwise be hungry on weekends. By keeping these students fed, RAG hopes to help keep them in attendance and ready to learn.
- Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, Sandy Springs and Atlanta
- The Ronald McDonald House provides housing, meals and general support for the families of children experiencing extended hospital stays. Volunteer opportunities for families with kids as young as 9 include cooking meals, baking treats, running family activities, organizing supplies and helping with special events.
- The Packaged Good, Dunwoody
- The Packaged Good provides a fun, inspirational environment where kids and community groups can decorate and personalize care packages and create craft projects for armed forces service members, the elderly, homeless and hospitalized kids. Children are encouraged to participate, and even the youngest kids can contribute by working on care packages from your home.
Still looking for more volunteer opportunities? Check out these volunteering networks that partner with dozens of Atlanta-area schools, nonprofits and charities:
- Be Rich, multiple locations
- Be Rich is a generosity initiative of North Point Ministries that is carried out in conjunction with more than 3 dozen area churches. Beneficiaries of Be Rich volunteers include schools, homeless shelters, counseling centers and foster kid organizations. Age requirements vary by organization being helped.
- Pebble Tossers, multiple locations
- Pebble Tossers began in 2010 as a network of volunteer opportunities designed especially for kids and their parents. Choose from ongoing and one-time volunteer opportunities in partnership with a variety of environmental, animal, social service and community improvement organizations.
- Hands On Atlanta, multiple locations
- Hands On Atlanta connects change makers to nonprofits and schools in need, while engaging socially responsible companies to help make a difference in our community. Volunteer opportunities include arts, health and wellness, the environment, youth and families, hunger and homelessness, and seniors. Families are welcome to volunteer together.
- Be Rich, multiple locations