Martin Luther King Day 2022 Family Experience Activity List

Have you ever asked yourself, "What role am I meant to play in social change?” Our activities are organized by the four roles of social change, as described by author Bill Moyer and Friends Select grandparent George Lakey: Advocate, Helper, Organizer, Rebel. While there are independent activities for all ages, families are meant to be involved in activities for lower school students.

Try something in each category and see what role resonates with you. We hope you can take a deep dive into this incredible list and share your work and what you have learned with our community on social media #FSSMLKDay. 

Remember, educating ourselves about injustice is not enough. What we do with our knowledge is what matters. The four roles of social change can help you turn knowledge into action. 

Quick links to: Advocate, Helper, Organizer, Rebel, Afternoon Program, Background and Read Aloud

The following activities have been curated by the FSS Family Association Social Justice committee and do not necessarily represent the views of Friends Select School. If you would like to send feedback or are an FSS family member who would like to join the committee, please email

An Advocate uses mainstream institutions like courts, City Hall, and legislature to get new goals and values adopted. Uses lobbying, lawsuits, elite networking/coalition building for clearly stated demands often backed by research. Monitors successes to make sure they are implemented.

Advocate for families experiencing homelessness by adding your name to these calls for action. Click here to see the full list of PA State Senators along with where you can contact them to ask for their support in passing the below legislation.

  • Join Senator Saval in advocating for the passing of the following legislation at the State level:
    Fair Records for Renters: Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda - PA State Senate
    Whole Home Repairs Fund:  Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda - PA State Senate
  • Join Project Home in their call to action asking state and local officials to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens during the COVID crisis. Here is a link to take action, and send elected officials a letter. Project HOME’s mission is to empower adults, children, and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, and to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society.
  • Join People’s Emergency Center in writing to your PA Senators and asking them to support the following important bills listed below at the Federal level. To email Senator Bob Casey, click here, and to email Senator Pat Toomey, click here:

    The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA) of 2019 (H.R. 5191/S. 2916)​
    This act needs to be reintroduced in the 117th Congress to enact critical changes that would reflect the unique needs of young people experiencing homelessness and would increase their ability to access pathways to independence, socioeconomic mobility, and success. 

    Emergency Family ​Stabilization Act, S. 220
    Children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness have been largely left out of previous coronavirus legislation—yet they are at high risk of transmission, illness, and other harms. The Emergency Family Stabilization Act fills the gap by providing flexible emergency funding to the agencies that are closest to children, youth, and families. Helping children, youth, and families through the systems to which they are most connected will stabilize them quicker and more effectively, and prevent long-term homelessness.

Quick links to: Advocate, Helper, Organizer, Rebel, Afternoon Program, Background and Read Aloud 

A Rebel protests: says "no!" to violations of positive American values. They employ nonviolent direct action and attitude, including civil disobedience, and show in behavior the moral superiority of movement values.

Make a protest sign
Make a sign about a cause you care about and put it in your window or on a telephone pole in your neighborhood. Share it on social media and tag us #FSSMLKDay

Write a thank you letter
Research someone still living who influenced an impactful historic, legal, economic, or social change. Someone they admire for their bravery and commitment. Then teach them how to write a formal, yet heartfelt letter. This lesson in gratitude and in honoring the changemakers before us is one often overlooked when we think of social justice. For the actual mailing, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to find a viable address for most public figures with a little Googling.

Activism vs. Slacktivism – Business Boycotts/Buycotts
Real change comes from sustained, uncomfortable protest, as well as impact to a company’s bottom line. Posting on social media is largely ineffective. The slang term “slacktivism” is used to characterize exactly those kinds of efforts. Research a company’s current practices and statements and decide if you support them or not. If you do, write a letter of encouragement and support, pledging your intention to remain a loyal customer. If you do not support what a company is doing, create a “buycott” letter. Challenge a company to ascribe to the specific changes you want to see. Rally other students to support your efforts.

Do Something . . .
Check out As the largest not-for-profit exclusively for young people and social change, DoSomething’s millions of members represent every US area code and 131 countries. Using our digital platform, DoSomething members join our volunteer, social change, and civic action campaigns to make real-world impact on causes they care about. 

Do Your Own Thing Project Guides for kids, teens, and families at offer step-by-step ideas on how to identify a problem and move toward change. (You will have to set up a free account to access the guides. It is easy and worth it.) What changes do you want to see in the world? Raise your voice and take a stand with this easy to follow resource guide. 

  • Project Guide for younger kids, click here.

  • Project Guide for teens, click here

  • Project Guides for kids, teens, and families that can be modified to do at home, and delivered via mail or drop off to adhere to the social distancing guidelines of the CDC. 

Virtually Visit the Stand Up by Sitting Down Exhibit at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. Imagine yourself as one of these “rebels.”

This activity is modeled after the museum's Standing Up By Sitting Down exhibit. Students will virtually walk through the protest experience through a series of questions. The lunch counter sit-ins are an example of the non-violent direct action strategy used by college students that spread across the U.S. in the 1960s. Click here to enter the interactive platform.

Quick links to: Advocate, Helper, Organizer, Rebel, Afternoon Program, Background and Read Aloud 

An Organizer believes in people power, builds grassroots networks, nurtures growth of natural leaders, chooses strategies for long-term movement development, and uses training to build skills.

Organize a neighborhood food drive for Philabundance or another Food Bank you care about.

All food banks are in need of direct donations of non-perishable food items. Philabundance is the largest hunger-relief organization in the Delaware Valley region and services 90,000 people weekly. Philabundance is seeking individuals who would like to host their own virtual food drives. For more information about direct donations and hosting a virtual food drive for Philabundance click here. 

Be a political changemaker.

John Dewey said, “It is the aim of progressive education to take part in correcting unfair privilege and unfair deprivation, not to perpetuate them.”

Philadelphia’s political parties are holding party elections in 2022, and you can run for a seat in your neighborhood. If you’re interested in local politics and want to have a small but meaningful influence in the 2022 and 2023 primary elections, running for a committee person seat in your voting division is one of the best ways to have an impact. It only takes 10 signatures to get on the ballot, and most typically about 40-60 votes to win a seat. Petitions start around Valentine’s Day. Learn more here.

Use to start a petition about something you want to change.

This year we are focused on housing justice but you can make a petition about any change you’d like to make! is proven to influence politicians, public officials, and business leaders. Work with your decision-maker to reach an outcome that solves your problem. Learn how to start a petition here.

Join an organizing group to build people-power and create change.

Reclaim Philly connects with local communities to unify communities in order to end structural racism, classism, sexism and oppression in all its forms. The housing taskforce is using people power to fight for tenants rights and housing as a human right. Learn more and join today

Quick link to: Advocate, Helper, Organizer, Rebel, Afternoon Program, Background and Read Aloud

A Helper understands that charity cannot fix social problems, assists people in ways that affirm their dignity and respect, shares skills and brings those impacted into the decision-making process, and educates about the larger social system.

Have your child make something to welcome SREHUP guests to the new shelter opening soon!

  • Art for the walls of the new space

  • Decorate a pillowcase to welcome new guests

  • Create some welcome cards with kind messages   

  • Collect supplies and donations or volunteer. Contact Stephanie Sena, Founder,, (484) 437-3042, or Ellari Hillard, Operations Vice President,, (973) 600-9606.

Martin Luther King Day of Service volunteer locator resource:

Global Citizen has a search engine to find local volunteer opportunities and match them with your availability and interests. You can support outdoor clean-up events and deliver food boxes, along with many other no-contact options. Find an organization to volunteer with in the Greater Philadelphia area by using this search tool.

Clean-up Events

  • The Ray of Hope Project is hosting various clean ups across the city for King Day.  Please contact the following link to register.

  • Bartram’s Garden needs your support in collecting trash and debris throughout their site. Also a small group of volunteers will assist in the green houses with pot sanitation to prepare for spring plantings. For more information and registration, please use this link.


  • Donate to Help Victims of the Fairmount Fire, Philadelphia Inquirer article 

  • Support SREHUP, the organization Stephanie Sena founded.

  • Support Hannah’s House. Founded by an FSS Parent, Hannah’s House is a shelter for women that provides a safe, nurturing home for survivors of human trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic violence.

  • HUB of HOPE is the organization that the Friend Select middle school service learning group is supporting as they focus their study of the issues leading to homelessness. They are collecting unused hats, gloves, and socks for the Hub of Hope. If you would like to support their drive, drop off items at the Middle School Race Street entrance between 17th and 16th Streets before January 19th.

  • Project HOME focuses on breaking the cycle of homelessness through programming like Project HOME Books. Project Home Books has helped to employ people at risk of homelessness. Employees resell gently used books online and the profits support Project Home. Gently used books can be dropped off at the HOMEspun Boutique anytime Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. HOMEspun Boutique is located at 1523 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. For more information, please visit their site or contact Nic Watson at or 215-232-7272 x5215.

  • Reading Recycled is a non-profit organization that gives new and gently used books to families, shelters, schools, laundromats, and pantries—any place a child may want to read. They strive to eliminate children growing up without books in their homes. Look through your bookshelves and see if you have some books in good condition that you want to give away. Contact Ann  to plan a drop-off at 1423 N. Bethlehem Pike, Ambler, PA 19002.

  • Cradles to Crayons is in need of children’s books and new and like-new goods that are appropriate for use by children ages newborn to 12. Their mission strives to provide every child with the essentials. Please ensure that your like-new donations are high-quality: not ripped, stained, broken, or missing pieces. Please reference this site for their most needed items and donation guidelines. For MLK Annual Day of Service day locations, please click here to find a drop-off site near you from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Monday, January 17. Please also consider supporting Cradles to Crayons 2022 Ready for Learning campaign. This year they will provide backpacks full of school supplies to 50,000 local children. Each backpack needs a hand-made well-wish card inside. Their goal for MLK Day is to have 10,000 cards made; for more information please use this link. They can be mailed to Cradles to Crayons Philadelphia locations or can be dropped off to one of their donation storage units, please call 215-836-0958.

  • Turning Points for Children-FAWN (Food and Wellness Network): Coordinates a network of community-based food pantries offering food, diapers, nutrition education and other resource connections to poverty level families in Philadelphia. You can donate new diapers and formula to families in need through FAWN. Please label donation bags of diapers and formula with the word: FAWN (Food and Wellness Network). Drop-offs can be made at the Center City office of Turning Points for Children (415 S. 15th Street, Phila. Pa. 19146), Monday-Friday (excluding holidays) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Please label donation bags of diapers and formula with the word: FAWN (Food and Wellness Network). FAWN is the pop-up food pantry that distributes diapers and formula from Turning Points for Children, an organization that brings social and health services to over 17,000 vulnerable individuals and families in the Philadelphia region. For more information, contact Elizabeth Prohasky at 267-639-0208.

  • MANNA is a leader in providing medically appropriate meals and nutritional support services to individuals battling life-threatening illnesses and food insecurity. Current kitchen meal prep hours are: Monday – Wednesday: 7-10 a.m., 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 1-4 p.m., 5-8 p.m. Thursday: 7-10 a.m., 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 1-4 p.m. Friday: 7-10 a.m., 10 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information about opportunities in the kitchen click here. Delivery drivers are the final and critical step of the MANNA experience, delivering contactless meals to MANNA clients’ homes. The routes are well mapped out and concentrated in a neighborhood or small area.  Volunteer drivers are needed Tuesdays-Fridays. If you are interested, please review this link and contact Harrison Rothbaum, by email or 215-496-2662 ext 3. 

Quick links to: Advocate, Helper, Organizer, Rebel, Afternoon Program, Background and Read Aloud 

32nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Tribute Concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Monday, January 17, at 1:00 p.m. The concert will be broadcast live on WRTI 90.1 FM.

Join Yannic and Your Philadelphia Orchestra in honoring the life and work of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and celebrating our Philadelphia community with the uniting power of music.

Quick link to: Advocate, Helper, Organizer, Rebel, Afternoon Program, Background and Read Aloud 

Dr. Martin Luther King Background Material:

Listen to Dr. King's “I Have a Dream” speech. Reflect on your dreams and think about how you can advocate for change in our world. Share your ideas using #FSSMLKDay. (This activity can easily be adjusted for all ages/types of learners.)

Kids Read Aloud:

  • Enjoy the Small but Mighty Storytime here. This series from the National Civil Rights Museum offers books read aloud thematically focusing on peacemaking, kindness, diversity, and creating positive social change. Titles include: We March, Sing a Song, Pride, The Youngest Marcher, Pies From Nowhere, Let the Children March, A Sweet Smell of Roses, and Counting on Community.
  • Little People, Big Dreams: Maya Angelou by Lisbeth Kaiser
    This book tells the story of Maya Angelou from childhood to adulthood. Maya Angelou was a writer, activist, dancer, and performer. She also had selective mutism, which is an anxiety disorder that makes it difficult to speak, as an adolescent as a result of a trauma. This book is written for children in grades 1-3.
  • I Am Harriet Tubman by Brad Meltzer
    This book is about Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist who worked on the Underground Railroad. She also had a traumatic brain injury that led to narcolepsy and epilepsy. In the book, the injury is addressed and there is a scene where Harriet talks about how it caused “vivid dreams,” which was a symptom of the traumatic brain injury. The book shows these dreams as having a positive impact on Harriet’s life; this scene can be used to teach a lesson about how disability can be a good thing. This book was written for children in kindergarten to 3rd grade.
  • What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? by Chris Barton
    This book tells the story of Barbara Jordan, the first African American woman from a Southern state to serve in Congress. Barbara Jordan also had Multiple Sclerosis. This book would also be useful in a lesson about civic engagement, impeachment, or the political process. The end of this book has more resources for learning about Barbara Jordan. This book is written for children in pre-K - 4th grade.
  • Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano and Marietta Collins
    This book is a story about a police shooting that helps young children understand racial injustice. The authors include parent pages in the back to help parents start the conversation about bias and injustice. 

Quick links to: Advocate, Helper, Organizer, Rebel, Evening Program, Background and Read Aloud 

Special thanks to Friends Select School's Family Association Social Justice committee for compiling these activities and sharing them with our community.

Thanks to our guests, Senator Nikil Saval, Stephanie Sena, and to the Friends Select upper school student volunteers.

Please send feedback to