2005-10-14 / Community

National Make A Difference Day

by Roseanne Honan

  • You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for others-something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it-Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
  • With all that has occurred in the news recently, such as the destructive forces of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it is crucial for communities to band together and support those who need uplifting in times of hardship. Make A Difference Day asks people to set aside the fourth Saturday of every October (This year’s date, October 22) to take the time to help benefit others.

    A nationwide effort established by USA Weekend magazine, Make A Difference Day has a simple mantra: any type of self-sacrifice, be it on a small or large scale, does truly make a difference. Getting on board with projects, or simply doing an act of kindness for a fellow neighbor, are catalysts for positive change in the world around us.

    This ‘holiday for helping’ generates awareness towards community involvement, and provides an opportunity to look outside of our everyday existence and lend a hand to those in need. It is an occasion to become a part of hands-on projects for worthwhile causes. For those who volunteer or give donations to charities on a regular basis, Make A Difference Day urges extra effort and sacrifice for this one Saturday a year.

    The USA weekend website, www. usaweekend.com/diffday, offers some great starter tips and a project idea generator to get individuals motivated and prepared for Make A Difference Day.

    The site gives examples of past projects done around the country, such as a kite-flying fundraising event in Long Beach California that raised money for children with heart disease, a VFW in Missouri collecting clothes and toys for children in war-torn Afghanistan, and a New Jersey teen in a juvenile justice facility who was given the opportunity to fly in an airplane, and now wants to pursue a career in aviation.

    All projects and good deeds registered with the website (the application form is available on the website) are eligible for a $10,000 donation from Paul Newman to chosen charities. The selected honorees, and their stories of giving, will be published in the spring USA Weekend editions.

    One question the website poses is, “What does your community need?” While many of the projects helped

    others on a global scale, Make A Difference Day also stresses the importance of finding local projects to get involved in. Even the smallest acts of kindness can mean the world to someone else.

    Make A Difference Day encourages individuals to find ways to contribute, and by working in your community, the idea of starting a local project may seem less daunting. So take a look around the Rockaways, and try to think of ideas that can benefit the community.

    Projects could range from giving care packages to the many nursing homes here on the peninsula, donating school supplies for students, visiting isolated or sickly neighbors and relative, or even sponsoring a clean up in conjunction with local businesses and parks. On the “Daytabank” website, one project registered in Arverne, ‘Neighbors Caring About Neighbors,’ will address financial empowerment for public housing residents.

    The intent of Make A Difference Day is to promote selflessness and giving to others.The day inspires the nation to become involved and aware of others’ needs. The end result not only helps others, but also encourages and inspires the individuals that got involved.

    For more information on Make A Difference Day, please go to their website at www.usaweekend.com/diffday. For information on the ‘Neighbors Caring About Neighbors’ meeting in Arverne, contact the Carleton Manor Community Service Program at (718) 813-5171, or CMCSPRocks@aol.com. Anyone creating projects should contact editor@rockawave.com so The Wave can spread the word.

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