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Thousands Of Volunteers Take Part In 25th Annual MLK Day Of Service At Girard College

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - People across the country on Monday, including in Philadelphia, took part in a day of service to honor the legacy of  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. More than 1,800 service projects will be going on throughout the region, with the largest in the U.S. at Girard College in North Philadelphia.

About 5,000 volunteers took part in 150 projects, workshops, job fairs and other events across the city.

"It's definitely a good thing to honor his birthday and honor who he was as a significant contributor to the United States, but I also think it's important for us to remember that it is about service," volunteer Brian Dobbins said.

Now in its 25th year, this year's service theme stressed the importance of being counted both through voting and the census and honored those who fought for women's right to vote.

"One of the things we take great pride in is that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was the only African-American women's organization to participate in the women's suffrage march," Marvetta Coleman with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority said.

There are also a number of murals painted by kids to follow the theme importance of voting and how much went into achieving the right for women and minorities to vote.

Many people brought their children and grandchildren in the hopes of teaching them what Dr. King stood for and instilling a culture of service in them for a lifetime.

"Everybody should be treated equally, no matter if we are brown, Chinese, African-American. We all should be treated fairly and we should be the same," 8-year-old Milan Pascal said.

"He made a change in the world," 5-year-old Holland Pascal said.

This year's event Organizer, Todd Bernstein of Global Citizen, says he really hopes that it will be a springboard that will encourage people to not only volunteer today, but every day in their communities.

"Today throughout the region, 150,000 volunteers, hundreds of organizations [are] engaging in a community-building process of really determining what the needs of the community would be in their area and of their interest. And really turning those concerns into citizen action today but also one day serving as a springboard to year-round ongoing community involvement," Bernstein said.

A job fair and a health fair will also take place at the event in North Philadelphia.

A few blocks away at 23rd and Oxford Streets, volunteers were literally building a better community.

Twenty new homes are going up in this North Philadelphia neighborhood -- a Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia project to increase homeownership.

"MLK Day of Service is great for the community but even better is when we have volunteers every single day of the year," volunteer Talani Mathis said.

For more information on how to participate in your area, visit

CBS3's Trang Do and Ukee Washington contributed to this story. 

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