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News / Life / Clark County Life

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: Organizations in Clark County offer volunteer opportunities

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer, and
Monika Spykerman, Columbian staff writer
Published: January 10, 2024, 6:09am

Honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of social justice by making Jan. 15 a day to celebrate Clark County’s spirit of volunteerism by, well, volunteering.

Help with cleaning, organizing, planting and pruning or join the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration for kids on this National Day of Service.

As King said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”


Vancouver’s total tree cover spans about 6,000 acres, or 4,600 football fields. An assessment from nonprofit American Forests found the city’s canopy is less prominent in communities that are lower income or where residents are people of color.

Vancouver wants to plant thousands of trees throughout the city so everyone benefits from the tree canopy. Volunteers can join Vancouver’s Naturespaces crew to plant native trees and vegetation from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sam Brown Park, 5722 Montana Lane, in east Vancouver.

Julian Ankney, Washington State University Vancouver director of Native American Programs, and Desiree Hellegers, director of WSU Vancouver’s Collective for Social and Environmental Justice, will speak about environmental and racial justice to open the event.

Training, gloves and tools will be available, and participants can enjoy snacks and hot drinks.

Anyone can join the event, regardless of age or ability. Those younger than 18 must bring a signed minor consent form, which can be found on the city of Vancouver’s website.

Those who are interested can register at www.cityofvancouver.us/government/calendar.

Stay informed on what is happening in Clark County, WA and beyond for only

Contact Volunteer Programs at cityvolunteer@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-8344 with questions.

Watershed Alliance

The Watershed Alliance of Southwest Washington is hosting a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service tree-planting from 9 a.m. to noon at Northeast 18th Court, near the west entrance of Arnold Park. The worksite is down the driveway behind the residences.

Volunteers should wear long pants, closed-toed shoes and dress for the weather. Bring snacks and water.

Register at thewatershedalliance.org/volunteer/.

Master Gardeners

The WSU Extension Master Gardeners program needs volunteers to work from noon to 2 p.m. in the Natural Demonstration Garden at Pacific Park, 1515 N.E. 164th Ave., Vancouver. Participants should enter from Northeast 172nd Avenue.

The event starts with a tour of recent design updates; volunteers will work on winter tasks such as weeding and pruning. Volunteers should dress for the weather and bring water. Tools will be provided.

Registration is required at extension.wsu.edu/clark/2023/12/mlk-day-service-event/. For details, email erika.d.johnson@wsu.edu or call 564-397-5738.

Odyssey World

Volunteer with Odyssey World International Education Services from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to clean and organize its storage unit, which is filled with supplies used for community events. Volunteers are needed to move boxes, organize supplies, label containers, build shelves and transport various items.

Register and get more information at odysseyworld.org.

Messiah Lutheran Church

Kids and their families can learn about social justice themes and build community at Messiah Lutheran Church, 905 N.W. 94th St., Vancouver. This year’s theme is “The Time Is Always Right to Do What Is Right.” Activities include a music presentation, crafts, storytelling and workshops. Young people will be encouraged to recognize their potential as advocates for positive change to create stronger, better communities.

Kids in eighth grade and younger must be accompanied by an adult. This kid-friendly event will be from 10 a.m. to noon.

Registration is recommended at sites.google.com/view/mlkvanwa.