LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville is celebrating the Louisville boxing legend's birthday by helping others.
Muhammad Ali would have been 78 years old on Jan. 17, 2020, and several volunteer events are planned to honor his legacy. Metro United Way has partnered with the Ali Center to host an event called "The Greatest Give Back." As part of the celebration, 500 volunteers gathered for three different projects to honor Ali's lifelong commitment to service.
Ali is universally known as the "greatest of all time" not just for his boxing skills, but also his giving heart.
"Being the greatest is serving," said Muhammad Ali Center President and CDO Donald Lassere. "It's the most important thing you can do. Serve your brother, your sister, your neighbors. It's the most important thing to serve, just like Ali did."
The event got started at 9 a.m. with "The Greatest Confidence" project, involving volunteers assembling 780 personal care packages for neighbors in need of hygiene items.
In the afternoon, volunteers moved on to the "The Greatest Care" project, where filled 780 healthy snack packs for local youth and seniors. The day will wrap up with "The Greatest Comfort" project, with volunteers making 78 blankets to keep children and families warm.
Students from Stuart Middle School were among the volunteers learning about what it means to serve like Ali did. They believe Ali would approve.
"I feel like he'd be very proud," said Laelah Jordon.
Jose Rodriguez agreed. "I feel like he'd be really happy, and I feel like he'd be doing it with us if he was here."
The celebration doesn't end Friday -- with MLK Day coming up on Jan. 20, the Ali Center is also honoring Martin Luther King's memory through the holiday by offering special admission for mentors and their mentees who visit the center. Mentors will pay a $5 admission fee, while mentees will be allowed in free of charge.
Mentors and mentees who make a visit to the center for Ali's birthday Friday, which is also International Mentoring Day, are encouraged to share photos from their experiences on social media with the hashtags: #MentoringDay, #AliDay, #Mentoring4SDGS, #MentorIRL and #MentoringMonth.
On MLK Day, the center will offer screenings of King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a panel discussion of King's legacy by members of the Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students and the UCREW Social Entrepreneurship Program after the 11 a.m. showing of the speech.
Admission to the panel is free on a first come, first serve basis, but admission to the center's exhibits is not included.
For more information, visit the Ali Center's official website.
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