"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.

On Monday, January 15, we honor the birthday of the late civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. From special events to embracing the outdoors, there are various ways to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. For example, the National Park Service waives entrance fees, allowing visitors to enjoy all national parks during the holiday, making it an ideal time to explore Great Falls Park for free! 

While the holiday falls on a Monday, numerous service projects are taking place not only in Fairfax County but also in the Washington, DC area throughout the entire weekend, offering opportunities to pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now is the moment for reflection and finding ways to help others and give back to the community. Here's how to get started.


Service Projects in Fairfax County

Reston Community Center Day of Service 

RCC Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Photo Courtesy of Reston Community Center's Facebook

Reston Community Center invites everyone to come together to celebrate Dr. King's legacy through acts of service. RCC is collaborating with the Cathy Hudgins Community Center, Reston Association, Cornerstones, and The Closet for community service initiatives on January 13. Indoor tasks include sorting and arranging items from The Closet and preparing bag lunches for the Embry Rucker Community Shelter. Beyond indoor activities, there will be opportunities for outdoor projects, including cleaning up nearby pathways and other outdoor areas. Registration is required through Reston Association.

Later that evening, the Annual Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., performance will take place orchestrated by local students and special guests, presenting songs that were cherished by Dr. King.


Volunteer Fairfax Weekend of Service 2024 

Volunteer Fairfax Give Together Event Flier
Photo Courtesy of Volunteer Fairfax's Facebook

Volunteer Fairfax plans to honor Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community" during this upcoming weekend by discovering impactful ways to give a helping hand. The weekend kicks off with a Community Conversation on Racial Equity, broadcasted via Zoom on Wednesday, January 10. On Monday, January 15, they will host the family-friendly volunteer event, Give Together. Volunteer Fairfax is also rallying teen volunteers to participate in service projects to aid environmental stewardship, food insecurity, caring kits, animal welfare, and various other causes. Don't wait, register now!

For kids ages 5-12: Kids will be presented with stamped passports as a recognition for completing projects. 


Frying Pan Farm Park: Following the Spirit of Community

Frying Pan Farm MLK Event
Photo Courtesy of Fairfax County Park Authority/Website

Frying Pan Farm Park pays tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. Service on January 15. Guests who register can partake in interactive stations to learn about the Civil Rights Movement and take part in community service projects. This special event offers families the chance to come together, contribute to the community, and enjoy some family-friendly fun.


Make a Difference in the Greater Washington, DC Area

Service projects are taking place beyond Fairfax County, extending to areas like Arlington, Alexandria, and neighboring D.C., ensuring that this day of service is acknowledged throughout Northern Virginia.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial


Arlington and Washington, DC Area

All are welcome to join the National Park Service and Arlington Regional Master Naturalist at Teddy Roosevelt Island to help remove invasive plants. You can find more information here and to sign up!  Additionally, on the Mount Vernon Trail, helpers are coming together to clean up the Long Bridge Connector Trail that unites the Mount Vernon Trail, Arlington, and Washington, DC. Kids from all ages are welcome to join! Register here.  


Volunteer Arlington Day of Service 

Presented by Volunteer Arlington, MLK Day of Service will be brimming with volunteer opportunities from helping pack snack bags to gardening projects. Check out the list of service projects for more information and to volunteer! 


This weekend embraces the spirit of service and community engagement, as it is marked as “A Day On, Not A Day Off.” There are many activities and events taking place throughout the MLK Day weekend in the DC area and Northern Virginia. And of course, don't forget to pay your respects at the astonishing Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial located along Washington, DC's beautiful Tidal Basin.

What will you be doing to pay it forward this MLK Holiday Weekend? Let us know in the comments below or share with us on social media using #FXVA and @VisitFairfax.