Martin Luther King Jr. devoted his life to building a more just and equitable society. But the respected civil rights leader challenged us all to build a better world. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question,” he declared, “is ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Every year, Americans answer that question by coming together on King’s birthday, celebrated on the third Monday in January, to serve their neighbors and communities. Citizens across the country — including the first family — deliver meals, refurbish schools, and collect food and clothing for the needy.

“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1994, Congress designated King’s birthday a national day of service. This honors King’s dream that Americans from all walks of life would work together to solve their nation’s most pressing problems. Since then, many Americans have marked the day with acts of service — and now frequently call it “A Day On, Not a Day Off.”

The National Day of Service is part of President Obama’s United We Serve initiative, which calls for Americans to incorporate volunteerism and public service into their daily lives as a responsibility of citizenship.

Do you have an idea for a service project in your community — like getting a group together to volunteer at a homeless shelter, or reading to kids at your local library? Turn your volunteer idea into a successful service project using this do-it-yourself toolkit.