Make A Difference Day 2010 was a huge success! Thank you!!
In a single special day, volunteers gave a school in Washington, D.C., what it usually takes months to build: a brand-new playground complete with a climbing wall, vegetable garden, benches and chessboards.
“There’s an excitement here,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, one of the volunteers ratcheting together a slide at Hyde Leadership Charter School. “People will walk away feeling like they have given back to their community.”
That excitement was felt across America Saturday as an estimated 3 million rolled up their sleeves to take part in the 20th Make A Difference Day. Sponsored by USA WEEKEND Magazine, in partnership with HandsOn Network and Newman’s Own, Make A Difference Day is the nation’s largest day of volunteerism.
Vilsack was one of 500 volunteers, including three other Obama Cabinet members — Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood — and their families. The one-day playground build was organized by KaBOOm!, a non-profit that has built 1,894 playgrounds nationwide since first participating in Make A Difference Day 15 years ago.
Across town, Disney Channel cutie Madison Pettis and High School Musical tween dream Corbin Bleu also were in Washington, D.C., helping kids wrap toys during the launch of GenerationOn, a global youth service initiative created by Points of Light Institute and Hasbro. “I’m out here to get the kids pumped up and to let them know they have the tools to change the world,” says Bleu. For many, Make A Difference Day offered the optimal mix of work and fun. Madelyn Edwards, 9, stood elbow to elbow with Bleu as she put the finishing touches on a gift destined for Toys For Tots. “This is the best day ever!” she said.
A sampling of action elsewhere in the nation:
• In Columbia, Tenn., 50 volunteers from Destiny Church and People Helping People tore out drywall, replaced footers and floor joists and began renovating the home of a couple beleaguered by illness and debt.
• In California, volunteers from San Diego County and the nonprofit coastal organization Wildcoast helped clean up the Tijuana River Valley in an effort to restore wetlands.
• In Fort Lauderdale, Lucas Metropulos, 18, went deep-sea fishing with 30 teens to catch fish for the Boca Helping Hands Soup Kitchen. His non-profit organization, Fishing For Families in Need, aims to teach ethical fishing practices and feed the homeless. “It’s a beautiful day and we’re ready to catch some fish,” Metropulos said.
Many thanks to our 2010-2011 Teammates for helping us make a BIG difference!
WE tv is the official cable partner for USA WEEKEND's Make A Difference Day 2010. Watch for messages about Make A Difference Day on We tv and at WEVolunteer.tv.
The NBA and NBA Players Association are joining forces with USA WEEKEND for Make A Difference Day 2010. Look for inspirational words in the magazine and online from some of the NBA's biggest stars on why they choose to help others. Watch for messages about Make A Difference Day on NBA-TV, NBA.com and NBPA.org. To learn more about the NBA's commitment to making a difference off the court, visit NBA.com/nbacares and nbpa.org/community.
Cisco is provided Flip Video Cameras to 100 projects registered in the DaytaBank by October 1. Winning projects recorded their action on Make A Difference Day and uploaded the video to the new Make A Difference Day Channel on YouTube.
In addition to the $130,000 Newman's Own provides to Make A Difference Day honorees, everyone who registered their project in the DaytaBank received a coupon for a free Newman's Own food product. And 50 efforts received enough Newman's Own cereal to feed their volunteers on the morning of Make A Difference Day.
For more information and to enter, visit www.makeadifferenceday.com.