MLK Day of Service fills more than week

Next 10 days feature plenty of opportunities for volunteering locally

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter



Listen and learn about King’s legacy

If you’re less into volunteering and more into listening and learning, there’s still lots you can do in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

• The fourth annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast comes to Clark College, beginning at 9 a.m. Jan. 20 at Gaiser Hall. The subject is violence and the keynote speaker is Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia, a doctor and psychiatrist who is an expert in addiction medicine and healing trauma. Tickets start at $30.

• Washington State University Vancouver’s Jan. 20 Day of Service event features interactive morning workshops and a lunchtime talk on “Women and Poverty: Dispelling the Myths and Breaking the Cycle” by associate professor of English Desiree Hellegers. She is the author of a book about homeless women in Seattle. RSVP to Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

• The Baha’is of Vancouver will host “Beyond the Dream,” a showing of videos of King’s lesser-known speeches. That takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 20 at 4016 East 13th Street. Refreshments will be served after the program. It’s free.

• Clark College hosts Lee Mun Wah, a Chinese American educator and filmmaker, speaking on diversity issues at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 22 at the Gaiser Student Center. There will be a 1 p.m. student dialog with Wah, and at 5:30 p.m. a showing of Lee Mun Wah’s film “If These Halls Could Talk,” an unflinching look at racism on college campuses, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker. Gaiser Student Center, with light refreshments served.

Next weekend, you may notice big groups of your neighbors roaming the landscape, performing good deeds. You wouldn't want to miss that fun, would you?

What started out as the Martin Luther King Day of Service has evolved, here in Clark County, into an extra-long weekend of opportunities to pitch in and make your world a better place. Clark County, the city of Vancouver, Clark College and Washington State University Vancouver have teamed up to coordinate many activities, from planting trees and painting walls to yanking weeds and building trails..

It's all in honor of slain civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was born on Jan. 15, 1929. His birthday became a federal holiday in 1983. It took another decade for a federal law to create the King Day of Service, which is always the third Monday in January. This year, it's Jan. 20. "Make it a day on, not a day off," is the slogan.

Here's a list of what's going on here in Clark County. Unless otherwise noted, sign up and get details and locations through Hands On Greater Portland, a volunteer clearinghouse operated by United Way; visit, or call 503-200-3355. Some opportunities may be limited and have different preregistration and age requirements. If you're under 18, you may need to bring a parent or a parental consent form with you.

If you're planning to work outside, dress appropriately — warm clothes, work shoes and gloves are crucial — and bring your own tools and water bottle if you can. No power tools, please.


• Help feed 12,000 hungry students in the Evergreen School District through The Pantry Project. Donate nonperishable foods and essential toiletries at food bins you'll find throughout Vancouver, in spots like the City Hall, the Firstenburg Community Center and New Seasons Market on Southeast 164th Avenue; volunteers are also needed to collect and transport what's in the bins at 10 a.m. on Jan. 13 and 16. On Jan. 23, volunteers will sort, package and distribute the food to six area food pantries. To volunteer, visit Hunger Knows No Season.


• Central Vancouver neighborhood tree planting with Friends of Trees, 8:45 am. All ages.

• Help organize the Habitat for Humanity Store, starting at 9 a.m. Ages 16 and up.

• Help Furry Friends of Washington, an animal rescue and foster-care operation, with a thorough cleanup of its facility. Start at 10 a.m. Ages 12 and up.

Monday, Jan. 20

• Tree planting and restoration along the Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway. 8 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will meet at Fort Vancouver High School. Sign up through the Vancouver Watersheds Alliance,

• Tree planting with Clark Public Utilities' Stream Team, 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Get details by emailing Ashley King at

• Vancouver Lake trail expansion and park cleanup. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers will help add a mile-long section of trail and remove litter from the area. Register at or call 360-487-8344.

• Invasive species pull near the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way. 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. All ages.

• Help organize the Habitat for Humanity Store, starting at 9 a.m. Ages 16 and up only.

• Prep and paint the offices of the YWCA Clark County. A 9 a.m. shift will do the prep work and a 1 p.m. shift will do the painting (tools, ladders and experience appreciated). Age 18 and up only.

• Plant trees in the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge wetlands. Meet at 9 a.m. to carpool into the area.

• Help organize the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington through filing and cleaning up. 12 noon.

• Sort donated hygiene products and household items that will go to local charities Vida's Ark and Share Vancouver. Starts after lunch at Washington State University Vancouver. Register at Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Wednesday, Jan. 22

• Garden party at Pacific Park demonstration garden, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteers will weed, remove dead blooms and perform other maintenance. Register at or call 360-487-8344.

• Service project for Clark College students, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., at the Washington Elementary Boys & Girls Club. RSVP to or call 360-992-2447.