President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama got into the spirit of the National Day of Service, at an elementary school in Washington where they applied wood stain to a bookcase.
Near Los Angeles, volunteers at a local church built a community garden, and others brought baby diapers to a homeless services center.
Volunteer Patrick O'Connor says there are many other projects in this neighborhood .
“Food drives, community beautification projects, working at schools, community gardens.
There's a lot of ways to do good,” said O'Connor.
In Washington, Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former U.S. president Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urged people to become involved, and young people in Pasadena, California, heeded the message.
They planted trees at a local high school, an annual effort that occurs at a different school each year, says volunteer coordinator Wayne Burton.
“We try to improve the looks of that school, either by planting flowers or trees, or sometimes painting, or just cleaning up,” said Burton.
At a local boys and girls club, some volunteers painted while others worked outside digging up weeds in the yard.
Volunteer Flor Braxton says these efforts improve her neighborhood.
“This is one way how we can work together as a team, as a family, as a community, and make something good in our society,” Braxton said.
In Maryland, on the East Coast, the African American college fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King, who was a member.
Cynthia Jiles, who leads a local charity, says King's message of community service is important now.
“There are a lot of people who are having difficulties, a lot of situations that need to be rectified, and we need to start today and then carry on throughout the year,” she said.
Volunteers say these community projects offer a chance to meet neighbors and do good at the same time.
We should not only know the theory but also how to apply it to practice.
Will you change the baby's diaper?
There is no such man in our neighborhood.
The campaign needs an effective coordinator.
There is deep fraternity between the brothers.