Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Orlando

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the life’s work of such a crucial member of the civil rights movement.  Celebrate with events and volunteer opportunities, as well as learning something new as a family.  I love taking any opportunity to teach my kids something new while having fun and having an impact on my community at the same time.   

*Due to Covid-19, most social celebrations have been cancelled.  

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day in Orlando

Here are different ways to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and to teach kids about him and what he stood for.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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In-Person Events Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Chasing the Dream 5K
Chasing the Dream 5K at Blue Jacket Park is an opportunity to Celebrate the life of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as the opportunity to support equality and unite the community.  Registration for the race is open to children over the ages of 10 with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, place medals presented for each age group.  Be sure to arrive early for your packet pick up.  Before the race starts, join in on an energizing Zumba warm-up.  A Virtual registration is also available.

Proceeds from the race will benefit New Image Youth Center, they will also be accepting donations of new socks, deodorant and other toiletry items, and gently used clothing and books for ages 5-17.  Donations will be taken at the registration area. Children’s registration is $25, virtual registration is $35. 

Date: January 18, 2021
Time: 6:30AM Race day Registration and Pick up Packets
Location:  Blue Jacket Park 2501 General Rees Ave.  Orlando, FL US 32802

Martin Luther King Day Parade
Join the South Apopka Ministerial Alliance as they host their 12th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade.  All ages welcome.  Parade begins at 2:00PM.  The parade route will be Station Street to Marvin C Zanders Avenue to West 13th Street in Apopka, Fl.

Masks and Social Distancing required.

Date: January 18, 2021
Time: 2:00PM

Volunteer in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

January 18, 2021 marks the 26th year of Martin Luther King Day becoming a day of Service.  Quoted as “A Day On, Not a Day Off”.  Celebrate the day of service as a way to carry on the legacy of this Civil Rights Leader by volunteering at a local food bank, cleaning up your community, or spending the day with the less fortunate.  Below you’ll find opportunities to help and volunteer, not only for MLK Day, but throughout the year as well. 

Hands On Orlando
Hands On Orlando is celebrating Martin Luther King Day with a day of service to the community.  Join them to help clean up Mother Earth as they pick up debri as well as removing non native plants from walking trails.  Ages 8+ are welcome with a parent, and 14+ without a parent.  

*Once you sign up the address will be emailed to you.

 Date: January 18, 2021
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
Children 10+ with an adult can volunteer to sort food at Second Harvest Food Bank on select days.  Ages 16+ have opportunities to volunteer without an adult in multiple areas of the food bank.  

Dates and Times Vary
Location:  411 Mercy Dr.  Orlando, Fl. 32805

Clean the World Foundation
Clean the World Foundation is not allowing volunteers since Covid-19, but their cause is amazing nonetheless.  Clean the world Foundation works to bring showers, and hygiene supplies to those that don’t have access to these needed amenities. 

Check out their website and follow them on their Facebook page to see how their efforts along with help from volunteers and contributors are helping those in need.  Continue to check back on their website for volunteer opportunities to open back up.  Ages 8+ can help sort the bins for products.

Location: 2544 E Landstreet Rd. Suite 600 Orlando, FL 32824
Phone: (407) 574-8353

United Against Poverty
United Against Poverty hosts a monthly Family Volunteer Night on the second Friday of every month.  All ages can join in to help stock shelves, clean, and organize along with their family.  Pizza will also be served.

Dates: Available dates
Time: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: 150 W. Michigan St. Orlando, FL 32806

Virtual and At Home Activities

I Have A Dream-Virtual Event
Orange County Library system will be hosting a virtual event this year for Martin Luther King Day.  On January 14th only. Log in to their zoom meeting to celebrate the life and dreams of Martin Luther King, with stories and crafts based on your own dreams and the importance of peace and togetherness. 

Recommended for ages 6-12.  

Date: January 14, 2021
Time: 4:00PM-4:45PM
Location: Zoom meeting, event will be emailed to your email address provided at registration.

Sanford Virtual Celebration
Join Sanford for a virtual 3 day celebration.  Sanford’s Celebration Committee decided to host a virtual event to showcase the programs for the Celebration of the life and dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Cost for the 3 day virtual zoom celebration is $25.  

Date: January 15, 2021 – January 18,2021
Times: Vary

Virtual Tour of Memphis Museum
Take a virtual tour of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.  This small video not only speaks of Dr. Martin Luther King, but also of other leaders in the Civil Rights Movement.

Other Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Words and Speeches
Play Dr. Martin Luther King’s Speeches or share his words to open up the discussion with your kiddos.
Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes

Read and Learn
I love buying or checking out books at the library about anything my children show an interest in.  Luckily, they are avid readers and want to soak up details on so many topics.  The Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Rights Movement have been a topic of conversation lately.  They ask questions that I’m not exactly sure about, so I am loving the opportunity to become educated right along with them.   It also opens discussions about their character and the kind of person they want to be.

Here is a list of books for more information on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Civil Rights Movement, and Black American trailblazers.

“Who Was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” 

Little People Big Dreams, Martin Luther King Jr. 

National Geographic Readers Bios Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Who was Rosa Parks”

“What is the Civil Rights Movement”

“What is the March on Washington”

Howard Thurman’s Great Hope

Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence

Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas 

She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story 


Create and learn with activities such as painting rocks with positive messages, Dr. King’s quotes, a peace sign, etc. Keep them or take a walk and place them around your neighborhood for others to find and share.

Plant a tree or flowers as a symbol of growth.

For younger children, print and color a picture of Dr. King while discussing his birthday and why you are celebrating in a way they can understand.

I will leave you with this, one of my all time favorite videos. Check out Kid President as he tells you The Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Abby O’Connor

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