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Boca Raton, Fla.: Lucas Metropulos, began catching fresh fish for a food pantry two years ago. Today, he also teaches disadvantaged kids how to fish. On Make A Difference Day, Lucas and 15 volunteers will take about 25 underprivileged children on their first charter fishing trip. Lucas and his crew will help the youngsters clean and fillet their catches.
El Paso: Maida Apodaca will travel with a band of workers across the Mexican border to Juarez, where the group will build a two-room house for an impoverished family. This is Apodaca's 12th year of building homes for the poor on Make A Difference Day; she'll dedicate the house to actor/philanthropist Paul Newman. Apodaca was a national honoree in 2000, earning $10,000 from Newman for the El Paso-based charity Casas Por Cristo. "He was a special man," Apodaca says.
Columbus, Ohio: One lucky family will get the keys to a two-bedroom gray clapboard cottage, courtesy of Mission Viejo, Calif.-based Stone Equity Group. The real estate investment firm runs the Community Home Ownership Program, aimed at helping renters become homeowners.
West Chester, Pa.: Chester County Peace Movement supporters will box and mail the inventory of a month-long collection -- shoes, clothes, school supplies and toys -- for the needy in Afghanistan. "We don't support war," director Karen Porter says. "But we are supporting some really good soldiers."
Brandon, Fla.: About 150 Bank of America employees will join 100 community volunteers -- energized by pint-size philanthropist Zach Bonner, 11 -- to build a playground for A Kid's Place, a center for abandoned, abused and neglected children. The effort will be facilitated by the non-profit playground experts at KaBoom!
New York: Lisa Buksbaum, the founder of Soaringwords, a support network for chronically ill children, is coordinating more than 100 volunteers at each of 100 locations throughout North America to decorate pillows and quilts with inspirational messages for hospitalized kids.
Phoenix: Volunteers from the University of Phoenix will join HandsOn Network projects in Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and, of course, Phoenix. Make A Difference Day will jump-start a multiyear effort to promote volunteerism, starting with its network of more than 1 million students, faculty, staff and alumni. Teaming with HandsOn Network, the university aims to be a force in teaching volunteers through online courses.
Memphis: Children's book author Nick Katsoris hopes to rally 10,000 kids nationwide to help others. He'll read from his "Loukoumi" book series at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and has organized reading activities at bookstores and schools nationwide so kids can pledge to do a good deed.
Omaha: The Omaha Goodwill is partnering with Roncalli Catholic High School for a Make A Difference Day donation drive. More than 300 students will participate in the drive to support the city's 10 Goodwill retail/donation centers. Projects by Goodwill Industries in Baltimore, Little Rock and North Fort Myers, Fla., also are planned.
Eagan, Minn.: Miss Minnesota 2009 Brooke Kilgarriff and volunteers from Cheerful Givers will stuff birthday gift bags for needy kids at the Thomson Reuters corporate offices. The Miss America Organization encourages participation in Make A Difference Day. Other 2009 pageant winners taking part in projects include Miss Alabama Liz Cochran in Birmingham, Miss Illinois Erin O'Connor in Chicago and Miss Delaware Heather Lehman in Wilmington.
Jacksonville: Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation is planning blood drives at 11 area locations. Coughlin, head coach of the New York Giants, started the foundation to help kids with cancer and their families. The coach will join in by donating blood at a site near Giants Stadium.
U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels, Germany: The community on base will collect school supplies and home and garden repair items for the people of Zabul Province, Afghanistan.
Las Vegas: Nearly 300 volunteers for Goodie Two Shoes, a non-profit that provides footwear for underprivileged kids in southern Nevada, will help 1,500 children choose a new pair of shoes. Volunteers will start their day with Newman's Own breakfast cereal. This is one of 50 projects nationwide that will receive free breakfast for volunteers.