During his lifetime, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked to bring people from all walks of life together to address important community issues.
Working alongside individuals of all ages, races and backgrounds, Dr. King encouraged Americans to come together to strengthen communities, alleviate poverty and acknowledge dignity and respect for all human beings. Service, he realized, was the great equalizer.
On the weekend of Jan. 15, as we celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday, Hands On Greater Portland will provide a variety of service activities for volunteers to participate in.
The following is a shortened list of activities offered throughout Multnomah and Washington counties. For a full description, go to the agency's Web site www.handsonportland.org. The full project address and directions will be sent to volunteers' e-mail after they sign up for activities.
The following activities are being offered:
• World Arts Foundation, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.: The 22nd Annual "Keep Alive the Dream" Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event brings together guest speakers, community leaders, musical guests and entertainers for a community celebration of Dr. King's message. Community members should bring canned food donations.
Volunteers are needed in two shifts from noon to 4 p.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. to help usher, host nutrition services, security, setup and break down. Northeast Portland.
• Big Brothers Big Sisters Northwest, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15: Be a "big" to a "little" for a day. Volunteers will pair with a little brother or sister at Park Rose High School and do crafts from recycled materials. The masterpieces will displayed at a gallery downtown to raise awareness of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Volunteers should wear clothes that they don't mind getting dirty, enjoy working with kids and doing arts and crafts. Southeast Portland.
• Community Cycling Center, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14: Come help the Community Cycling Center tear down and clean (or recycle) donated bikes and bike parts. No mechanical experience is required, but working with bicycles would be helpful. The center mechanics will turn these reclaimed parts into "new" bikes for kids and commuters of all ages — saving the parts from the landfill. Closed-toe shoes are required, and dress for the weather. Northeast Portland.
• Books to Oregon Prisoners, 12:15 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13: Help answer letters and wrap packages of books and educational materials for Oregon inmates. North Portland.
• YMCA of the Columbia-Willamette, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13: Y's Choice Day Care, a member of the YMCA, serves children from 6 weeks through 6 years old. The turn-of-the-century building that houses Y's Choice SE needs a new coat of interior paint. If you're handy with a paint brush and some masking tape, come on down. Portland.
• Metropolitan Family Service Experience Corps, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14: Campfire children are joining with the Lynch Wood SUN School program to beautify Lynch Wood Elementary. Tasks will include a mosaic project, mural project and a woodcut design project. Volunteers are needed to collaborate and supervise at each project station. Knowledge about construction, home repair or arts and crafts would be helpful. Southeast Portland.
• Partnership For Safety and Justice, 10 a.m. to noon Monday, Jan. 15: Spend the morning at the Partnership for Safety and Justice, where there will be conversation about the "Prison Industrial Complex"; watch a compelling video made by the Prison Moratorium Project; and learn why some people believe that prison as it is today is obsolete. Northeast Portland.
• Hands On Greater Portland, 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14: "Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel" is founded on a core belief that the education of Jewish and Arab children in Israel must prepare students for peaceful coexistence. In honor of MLK weekend, Lee Gordon, co-founder of Hand in Hand, will lead a discussion on how integrating Jewish and Arab children in Israeli schools affects peace and reconciliation throughout the communities in which they live.
How much power does education have in cultural conflict? How might Hand In Hand's model translate to Portland's Public Schools and the hope of creating multicultural, peaceful classrooms? North Portland.
• Catholic Charities, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12: Help organize a "store" of goods open to newly immigrated families, most of them refugees. Here they can find furniture, cooking utensils and clothing for little to no money. Southeast Portland.
• JOIN, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15: On any given night, over 2,000 people will sleep outside on Portland's streets. One of the best ways to learn about poverty and social injustice is to meet and talk with homeless people. Immerse yourself in a three-hour project where homelessness in Portland will be discussed, tour Old Town, go on a small group scavenger hunt and have lunch at a local soup kitchen with homeless people. Portland.
• Legacy Emanuel Hospital, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14: Join in this project and knit or crochet a blanket or sweater to be donated to the neonates at Emanuel Children's Hospital. Booties and hats are also welcome. Volunteers should know how to knit or crochet. Some materials supplied; bring your own if possible. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old. Beaverton/Aloha
• P:EAR, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13: P:EAR provides programs, workshops and services that use education, the arts and recreation to build positive relationships with homeless and transitional youth, ages 15 to 23. Volunteers are needed to revitalize and fix-up the center. Jobs will include spot-painting the walls, repainting the bathroom and making bathroom repairs, organizing art supplies, power washing and other small needs. Helpful skills include construction, home repair and painting. Southwest Portland.
• Loaves and Fishes, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12: Honor Dr. King's message of service by spending a few hours serving lunch to local seniors. Loaves and Fishes provides nutritious lunches to active seniors at 30 meal centers throughout Multnomah, Washington and Clark counties. They serve an average of 850,000 meals every year. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old. Southeast Portland.
• Sisters of The Road Café, 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15: Sisters promotes nonviolence and community organizing just as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of nearly 40 years ago. On Jan. 15, volunteers will help with the cleaning of the Sisters of the Road Cafe by dishwashing, busing, mopping, etc. After an hour of work, volunteers are invited to St. Mary's Academy for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. rally and speeches hosted by Sisters. This year's theme is economic human rights. Downtown Portland.
• Goose Hollow Family Shelter, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14: The Goose Hollow Family Shelter, a winter emergency shelter, is one of the few family shelters in the Portland metro area that allows homeless families to stay together while living in a temporary shelter. Volunteers will be asked to either provide a light, nutritious meal for the families or help with the laundry, organize donations and assist with special projects. Downtown Portland.
• Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12: Help maintain our welcoming and accessible space as we shelve and categorize books for our library, organize supplies in the storage room and freshen up the kitchen. We'll provide lunch. Southeast Portland.
•Friends of Tryon Creek State Park, 8:45 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 13: Remove invasive species at Tryon Creek State Park. Volunteers must be at least 15 years old. Southwest Portland.
• Portland Public Schools, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14: Volunteers will finish painting Metropolitan Learning Center, a public school in Northwest Portland. Construction, home repair and painting skills would be helpful.
• Oregon Food Bank, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 13: Unpack and sort donated food destined for agencies that directly serve low-income people in Oregon. Volunteers should wear closed-toed, closed-heeled shoes and clothing they don't mind getting dirty. Volunteers younger than 18 years old must bring a Youth Volunteer Registration Form (available from http://handsonportland.org/uploaded_files/deliverFile.php/86youthreleaseform.doc?ixActivity=17) co-signed by a parent or guardian. Children are welcome with an accompanying parent or guardian. Northeast Portland.
• Loaves and Fishes, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12: Join the Centro Cultural Loaves & Fishes in serving lunch to seniors. Volunteers will help set-up, serve lunch and clean up. This project is best for those who want to practice speaking Spanish because the majority of the population speaks only Spanish. Hillsboro/Cornelius
• Hillsboro Public Library, 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Jan. 15: Volunteers will work at the Tansaborne location, straightening book shelves, organizing materials and cleaning. Snacks will be provided; families with grade-school kids are welcome!
• Willamette West Habitat for Humanity, 8:15 a.m. to noon or noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13: Pick up a paintbrush or a hammer and head for Willamette West Habitat for Humanity in Hillsboro to build homes for 19 low-income families in Hillsboro. No construction experience is necessary, but you must be willing to work hard and possibly do some lifting. We will be working on framing, insulating, dry walling and painting. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes and bring work gloves, water and lunch. Tools will be supplied. Hillsboro/Cornelius.
• Cat Adoption Team, 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Jan. 15: Help do a deep cleaning at the Pacific Northwest's largest nonprofit, no-kill cat shelter. Cleaning will be done in the free roam rooms, lobbies, hospital area and kitten headquarters. Wash cages, walls, and floors. Volunteers should wear clothes they don't mind getting dirty, closed-toed shoes only, and they should bring a pair of rubber gloves. Sherwood.
• Animal Aid 1p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12: Volunteers will move things around, clean cages and grooming the kittens at this no-kill animal shelter. Southwest Portland.
• Hands On Greater Portland 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14: Create personalized greeting cards to be given to sick children (some with terminal illness). Use markers, construction paper and other fun craft items to create cards that will brighten a child's day. Tualatin.
• Northwest Children's Outreach, 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15: Volunteers will sort and package orders for infant layettes, children's toys, clothes and supplies to be shipped to nonprofits that serve families across Oregon. Beaverton/Aloha.
• Edwards Center, 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12: Volunteers will help paint a large room to provide fresh office space for the program managers who work with adults with developmental disabilities. Wear painting clothes and closed-toe shoes, and bring a favorite paint brush for trim work. Beaverton/Aloha.