(Excerpted from LA Times, “Volunteers honor Martin Luther King Jr. by beautifying South L.A. schools” By Angel Jennings)

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For most Americans, the third Monday of January marks a day off from work or school to commemorate the birthday of the slain civil rights leader. But across the nation, a growing number of people have chosen to honor King through community service.

This year, so many volunteers signed up to help beautify a South L.A. elementary school that organizers added a second school. More than 1,500 showed up to honor the spirit and legacy of King by revitalizing the campuses of Woodcrest Elementary and George Washington Preparatory schools.

"We're celebrating the man, but we're also celebrating the ideas that he stood for: service and doing something for somebody other than ourselves," said Bob L. Johnson, chairman of L.A. Words, a volunteer network that coordinated the event.

Later in the day, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti pulled a blue T-shirt over his white button-down and grabbed a power tool. He drilled nails into stained wood, working with other volunteers to construct a park bench. In Washington, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama planted a community garden at an elementary school where many students come from military families.

And thank you to our volunteers for participating in service all year round!  You make every day another step closer to a healthy beach community.