USA WEEKEND Magazine and Points of Light have joined together for over twenty years to sponsor Make A Difference Day, the largest national day of community service. On this day, millions of volunteers from around the world unite in a common mission to improve the lives of others. This year’s Make a Difference Day is Saturday, October 26, 2013.
The examples of past Make A Difference Day events below show that anyone - regardless of age, location or resources - can accomplish wonderful things when they address a need they see in their community. Let their stories inspire you.
There are many more amazing examples of compassionate outreach by individuals, organizations and schools who come together to make a difference, on this day and many others. For more information, please visit makeadifferenceday.com.
Past Make A Difference Day events:
California State University - 5,500 college students across 23 campuses from California's state university system cleaned and landscaped community schools, painted homeless shelters, planted trees and hosted parties for needy kids at shelters.
University of Nevada-Reno - In 2011, the Undergraduate Student Social Work Association collected 5,000 pounds of clothing and distributed it to the homeless at a barbecue in the parking lot of Project Restart. They served 400 hot dogs donated by local businesses, and treated children to balloons, candy and Halloween toys. These students received an award of $2,000 that went to the Committee to Aid Abused Women.
Lake Superior State University - Michigan students hosted a career fair for "at-risk" students from seventh grade to college. Career Day '98 consisted of career information tables attended by volunteer professionals, and at least three workshops: Goal Setting, Resume Writing, and Interviewing.
Georgetown College - In 2011, an impressive 390 of the 1,000 students at this Kentucky school volunteered to serve a meal to 25 needy families, including 76 children; gave away 5,700 donated clothing items; and awarded prizes to the kids. They also did chores for elderly people, cleaned a highway and collected 3 tons of food. They received an award of $2,000 that went to school-based Family Resource Centers.
Goodwill Industries International’s past events include a community garden in Roanoke, Va., that was built by participants in a mentorship program for at-youth risk, and Traverse City, Mich., where alumni of Michigan Tech University helped a homeless shelter prepare for winter.
High Point Regional High School in Sussex, NJ - In 2007, class members decided to help troops serving in Iraq. In all, Ms. Joan Smith's class collected 1,700 letters and $3,300 worth of phone cards.
Ottawa, Ohio Tragedies united communities - In August 2007, floodwaters poured into the Ohio community of Ottawa, damaging two-thirds of its homes. For months, volunteers toiled to clear the mess, and just before Make A Difference Day, Volunteer Connection of Northwest Ohio received a call from James Grandey, head baseball coach at nearby Bluffton University. Earlier that year, five of his team's players died when their bus crashed near Atlanta. The community embraced the team then; now it was the team's turn to help. On Oct. 27, 2007, 36 members joined 18 Bluffton Habitat for Humanity volunteers and 161 area residents to help 31 families.
Individuals make a difference too:
· More than 70 volunteers traveled from as much as 45 minutes away to the Cranston, R.I., home of Nicholas Lowinger, 14, to help distribute hundreds of pairs of new shoes Lowinger had collected for children in homeless shelters. “To be part of a day when there are so many people helping out in so many different ways across the United States is really inspiring,” said Lowinger.
· Jordyn Schara, 17, of New Freedom, Wis., distributed comic books as part of her literacy promotion program, Comics for Change (C4C). “It’s absolutely important for young people to be involved in their communities,” she said.
According to the Make a Difference Day website; other organizations join with USA WEEKEND and Points of Light each year to recognize the valuable work of volunteers. For example, Newman's Own supports the day by awarding $10,000 to the charities of each of 10 National Honorees and three City Awardees. Find more information at makeadifferenceday.com and use their “project search” feature to find an event near you!
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