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Park project is a natural

Kudos to the Volunteer Center of Silicon Valley's Green Challenge Youth Corps in San Jose, Calif., for earning the inaugural Outdoor Award, a $1,500 grant from the Outdoor Foundation for promoting nature to kids. More than 350 volunteers from 18 schools groomed Guadalupe River Park & Gardens.

SABETHA, KAN. City races to help a friend
Auto mechanic Wade Moore, 26, of Sabetha, Kan., was making a delivery last August when a van struck his motorcycle, leaving him paralyzed. News of the accident spread quickly, raising concern in residents like Helen and Darryl Hoppe. "This was a guy who fixed kids' bikes and put air in the tires for little old ladies," Helen Hoppe says. "Everyone knows him."

The Hoppes, who are officers in a local car club, decided to sponsor a benefit car race -- featuring Mattel Hot Wheels -- for Moore's mounting medical expenses. On Oct. 25, nearly 400 people gathered in a Sabetha gym to cheer on participants as their cars flew down (and sometimes off) the track. With matching funds from the community, the event raised $10,000.

Midafternoon, the crowd erupted with joy when Moore appeared, his first outing since the accident. "I was nervous, not sure how they'd react. Then someone gave me a big hug. Words can't explain how that made me feel," Moore says.

$10,000 Make A Difference Day Award from Newman's Own goes to Sabetha Community Hospital.

Encore Award

A united effort

Continuing its winning ways, 2007 National Honoree United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties rallied 7,800 volunteers for 41 projects in Central Florida. Its ongoing commitment earns the organization a $10,000 donation from the Gannett Foundation and USA WEEKEND.

Travel for good Contest winner!

As this year's winner of Travelocity's "Picture a Better World" contest, pastor Willie Bacote and his youth flock from Troy, N.Y., will travel to New York City courtesy of Travelocity's Travel for Good program and its partner Take Pride in America. They will spend a day volunteering with the National Park Service at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The youngsters spent Make A Difference Day cleaning a mile-long swath of their hometown.

Newman's Own: Nourishing the volunteer spirit
This month, Newman's Own fuels the efforts of 10 Make A Difference Day projects with awards totaling $100,000. Last Oct. 25, the company fueled the tummies of nearly 2,000 volunteers, providing Newman's Own cereal to 10 projects to power up everyone's day. Newman's Own will expand this giving effort for Make A Difference Day 2009, providing 50 projects (one per state) with free cereal.

Make A Difference Day, the largest national day of helping others, is sponsored by USA WEEKEND Magazine and its 600 carrier newspapers. Make A Difference Day is held in partnership with HandsOn Network and is supported by Newman's Own, which provides $10,000 donations to charities selected by of each of 10 national honorees. The 19th Make A Difference Day is Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009.

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Make A Difference Day, the largest national day of helping others, is sponsored annually by USA WEEKEND Magazine and its 800 carrier newspapers. Make A Difference Day takes place on the 4th Saturday in October each year.