UA makes a difference

“For the third year, the University of Akron will be participating in the largest annual community service endeavor in the world.  International Make a Difference Day, which takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October, was created in 1992 by the staff of USA Weekend Magazine, a weekly publication that is distributed with over 600 newspapers.”

For the third year, the University of Akron will be participating in the largest annual community service endeavor in the world.

 International Make a Difference Day, which takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October, was created in 1992 by the staff of USA Weekend Magazine, a weekly publication that is distributed with over 600 newspapers.

Since its humble beginning, Make a Difference Day has steadily spread throughout the world, with over 3 million people participating each year.

According to the day’s official Web site, service projects could be as ambitious as collecting truckloads of clothing for the homeless, or as personal as spending an afternoon helping an elderly neighbor or relative.

Here in Akron, the University’s Office of Service Learning and Civic Engagement has helped the humanitarian effort by registering more than 850 volunteers (over 650 of which are students) to perform various projects in University Park and the surrounding communities.

Ron McDonald, Director of Leadership, Development and Special Projects at the UA’s Department of Student Life, seemed excited to see so many students helping those in need.

They’re going to be doing a real variety of projects, from working with the local schools to working with the elderly and children, he explained.  It could be painting or cleaning or visiting nursing homes.

UA’s service partners for the day include many area organizations, from the Haven of Rest to the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame to Crouse Elementary School.

Volunteers had until Friday, October 10 to register to be counted by USA Weekend as one of the millions officially becoming part of the tradition.

Though registration is closed, we will accept walk-up registration, said McDonald.  If someone just comes up this Saturday and says, ‘Put me to work,’ we’re going to do that.

Students that are interested in being put to work can check in at the Student Union Ballroom on Saturday morning, starting at 7:45 a.m.

Volunteers do not know exactly where or how they will serve, but they can expect a solid four hours of work along with a Make a Difference Day t-shirt, breakfast, and transportation to and from their projects.

Of course, volunteering is not limited to the fourth Saturday of each October.

Participating in service projects not only helps those in need, but also has been shown to improve the self-esteem of the volunteers themselves.  Volunteering also helps students’ motivation towards school and offers career exploration opportunities.

We have student organizations that are volunteering for service projects all the time, said McDonald.

Students can get involved by calling the Coordinator of Service-Learning Kristin Kullander at 330-972-6232.