ANDOVER — Martin Luther King Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. This year, Andover public schools have decided to celebrate King's legacy with the first ever APS Service Day.

Organizers said the service day was created in the spirit of King's philosophy of dedicating one's life to helping others.

"That’s the reason for the holiday,'' said Sandis Wright, a parent involved in PTOs at both the Doherty Middle and Bancroft Elementary schools, which created the APS Service Day after the idea was pitched by the schools’ principals.

Through the website students can volunteer for 24 different activities this MLK Day, including putting “troop care packages” together for the military; contributing to food drives for Lazarus House Ministries; helping Neighbors in Need, Bread & Roses or The Greater Boston Food Bank; and shoveling or yard cleanup for senior citizens sponsored by Andover Elder Services.

Wright said about 100 members of the Andover public school community have signed up to volunteer for the service day so far.

In addition to APS Service Day, during the weekend alumni of  the A Better Chance (ABC) program will speak at seven different church services in honor of MLK Day. ABC is a program that selects scholars from minority groups from across the country and houses them in Andover so they can attend Andover’s prestigious public high school.

“They may be doing an MLK reading from one of Martin Luther King’s speeches, or they are going to be talking about various topics of interest as a person of color, maybe who went through the ABC program and what that meant to them,” Wright said.

On Friday, ABC alum Ian Dowe, who lives in Andover, will speak at Temple Emanuel. On Sunday, ABC alum Carlos Juan Cedeno will speak at the Faith Lutheran Church.

A full list of ABC events scheduled for the weekend can be viewed at



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