01/17/2011 01:59 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and His Legacy of Service

This Monday, January 17, marks the 25th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, honoring this amazing hero and all he stood for and accomplished. Of all Dr. King's lasting legacies, one of the most powerful was his belief in strengthening communities and empowering individuals. This belief propelled Dr. King to accomplish a great many things for this country that have inspired generations of Americans.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is also the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. A part of United We Serve, the President's call to service for citizens, the MLK Day of Service provides the opportunity to come together with friends and neighbors to address some of American's most pressing issues.

One such issue is a lack of financial literacy. The importance of learning the basic concepts of money management, from a young age, cannot be understated, yet many feel inadequate to take the job upon themselves.

The recent recession taught many Americans just how little they know about personal finance, let alone our nation's complex financial system. Learning basic financial concepts early on in life helps build a foundation for making smart financial decisions throughout one's life. The cry for money management lessons to be taught to our children is loud. A recent Junior Achievement (JA) survey found that 83 percent of students said they wanted to learn about money management and work readiness during grades K-12.

Junior Achievement and AARP recognize the importance of this issue and want to help young people throughout our nation's communities understand the necessity and value of learning to manage their money. For their part in the MLK Day of Service, JA and AARP teamed up to create a toolkit on how to teach kids about money management and help volunteers make the leap from novice to know-how mentor a simple one.

Just because you don't hold a finance degree doesn't mean you can't make an impact in a young person's life by giving them the guide posts of money management. Junior Achievement provides the training and materials you need to make an impact, and the rest is just showing up.

Contact your local JA office to see which local schools are looking for volunteers. For those without a local JA office nearby, look to family members and friends with kids, and take time to get to know them and share with them the basics of managing their money and the importance this plays in their economic success. You can make an impact in your community by joining the hundreds of thousands of people who serve on MLK Day and throughout the year.

See what Junior Achievement programs are available in your area and get involved today. Now more than ever, young adults need your knowledge and skills to help them succeed and you can make a big difference in the life of a young person. For more information, visit