WANT TO BE nice - and not naughty - to start off the year?

Sign up to volunteer, or initiate a service project, for the 17th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service on Jan. 16.

Individuals and organizations are being sought to host service projects.

Ideas include preparing and distributing food at homeless shelters or delivering meals to homebound seniors.

Or starting a mentoring program, freshening up schools and recreation centers, creating safe-corridor programs or renovating or weatherizing homes.

"What started 17 years ago as a local project has become a growing nationwide movement of celebrating Dr. King's legacy by uniting people of all backgrounds and ages and turning pressing community concerns into ongoing citizen action," Todd Bernstein, president of Global Citizen and director and founder of the Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service, said in a news release.

Global Citizen, a nonprofit organization, leads the day of service and also runs MLK365, a program that expands the King Day of Service into a year-round program.

The third Monday in January was named a national holiday in 1983 to celebrate King's birthday (his actual birthday falls on Jan. 15).

In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law the King Holiday and Service Act, which calls on Americans to honor King's legacy through volunteerism.

Anyone interested in volunteering or hosting a project should call 215-665-2475 or register online at www.mlkdayofservice.org.

Sponsors of the event include the Daily News, the Inquirer and Philly.com.