(WLTX) - For more than 20 years, USA WEEKEND Magazine and Points of Light have joined together to sponsor Make A Difference Day, the largest national day of community service.
Make A Difference Day is a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. This Saturday, millions of volunteers from around the world will unite in a common mission to improve the lives of others.
Thousands of projects are planned each year involving corporations, communities, nonprofit organizations, entire states and individuals. Many of the 250 HandsOn Network affiliates lead projects across the nation. The stories told around Make A Difference Day show that anyone - regardless of age, location or resources - can accomplish amazing things when they take on the problems they see in their community.
Here in the Midlands, we believe that each individual has the opportunity to make a difference. If each person did one thing, imagine the real difference that we'd make in our communities. Making a difference can come in many forms; here are a few examples:
• Volunteer to pack and hand out food at a local food bank like Harvest Hope.
• Mow the grass of the elderly person down the street
• Organize and/or participate in a neighborhood trash & little cleanup
• Buy lunch for the person in back of you in line at a fast food restaurant
• Buy lunch or dinner for a soldier
• Read to and help teach a young child to read.
• Help cook and/or serve a meal at a homeless shelter.
• Gather clothing from your neighbors and donate it to a local shelter.
• Make 'I Care' kits with combs, toothbrushes, shampoo, etc. for the homeless.
• Adopt a "grand friend" and write them letters and visit them.
• Visit senior citizens at a nursing home.
• Rake leaves, shovel snow, clean gutters, or wash windows for a senior citizen.
• Pick up groceries or medicine for an elderly person.
• Go for a walk with a senior citizen in your community.
• Deliver meals to homebound individuals.
• Hold an afternoon dance for your local nursing home.
• Teach a senior friend how to use a computer and the Internet.
• Paint a mural over graffiti.
• Call an old friend you haven't spoken to in years.
• Invite local police officers to present a drug awareness or safety program.
• Tutor a student that needs help learning English or another subject.
• Organize a canned goods drive.
• Clean up a vacant lot or park.
• Organize a neighborhood recycle event
• Organize a campaign to raise money to purchase and install playground equipment.
• Plant flowers in public areas that could use some color.
• Volunteer to help at a Special Olympics event.
• Set up a buddy system for kids with special needs in your community.
• Bring toys to children in the cancer ward of a hospital.
• Organize a public issues forum for your neighborhood.
• Volunteer at a polling booth the day of an election.
• Take a friend to the polling booths.
• Plant a garden or tree where the whole neighborhood can enjoy it.
• Set up a recycling system for your home.
• Organize a carpooling campaign in your neighborhood.
• Clean up trash along a river, beach, or in a park.
• Create a habitat for wildlife.
• Create a campaign to encourage biking and walking.
• Test the health of the water in your local lakes, rivers, and streams.
• Contact United Way for opportunities to serve.
• Volunteer at your local animal shelter.
• Help build a home with Habitat for Humanity.
• Walk a neighbor's dog or pet sit while they are on vacation.
• Teach Sunday school.
If you would like to organize a project, here's a resource guide to learn how to create high-impact, well managed projects that will have a positive impact in your community: http://daytabank.handsonnetwork.org/sites/default/files/files/pdf/2011_mdday_volunteer_leader_guidebook.pdf
Youth today have dynamic power and potential to make a difference in their communities and the world. This link provides a guide to empower you with the tools needed to be agents of change:
WLTX invites you to join us in service on Make A Difference Day 2012.