Community service projects organized to celebrate MLK Day

Volunteers will gather to work in Farmington, Shiprock

Megan Petersen
Farmington Daily Times
  • Organizers of the Day of Service in Farmington hope to make it an annual event.
  • The inaugural event in Farmington features five community projects.
  • Volunteers will work on three service projects in the Shiprock area.
Steve Clarke

FARMINGTON — Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated with service projects in Farmington and Shiprock on Monday.

Farmington church groups, businesses and community members are organizing the inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, according to Steve Clarke, one of the event’s organizers.

Clarke said five years ago, he and his family moved to Farmington from Philadelphia, where local organizations hosted service projects on the federal holiday that honors the civil rights leader and his legacy, and they hope to start an annual tradition in the Four Corners, too.

The first event includes five community projects, Clarke said. Volunteers will spend time with children at the Sycamore Park Community Center, paint hallways and stock the freezers for Childhaven Inc., work the community garden at New Beginnings Transitional Housing and Support Services, assemble survival bags for homeless residents at the San Juan Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and clean up trash along the Riverwalk Nature Trail at Berg Park.

Participation in the service day is open to the public. Volunteers will meet at 8:30 a.m. on Monday at the San Juan Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 219 N. Orchard Ave. for a light breakfast and a short program about the significance of the holiday and the service projects, according to the event flier.

Volunteers are scheduled to leave for their sites at 9:30 a.m., with the day of service ending with a lunch back at the church at 1 p.m., according to the event flier. All volunteers will receive a T-shirt.

Dream Diné Charter School, and the Hogback and Shiprock AmeriCorps groups also are hosting service projects in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, according to Shiprock AmeriCorps program manager Debra Yazzie. Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. at the Shiprock Chapter house for a welcome and introduction before being split into groups. The groups will work three projects, including installing railroad ties and cable for a fence along the river trail, and two home projects for the widows of veterans — chopping and stacking firewood, and digging a footing for a bathroom addition on a home.

Yazzie said volunteers are welcome to help with Monday’s service projects and any of AmeriCorps’ ongoing service project in the Shiprock area.

The Bureau of Land Management will waive most day-use fees in observance of the federal holiday. Site-specific standard day-use fees at BLM-managed recreation sites and areas will be waived for the day, according to a BLM press release. The fee waiver honors the legacy of King and is an invitation to families “to spend the day together enjoying America’s rich public lands heritage.”

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or