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David Gregory and mentee Steve Cherenfant lean on each other for support.
David Gregory and mentee Steve Cherenfant lean on each other for support. / Gary Landsman

USA WEEKEND Magazine and NBC News join together for Make A Difference Day 2011

Now through October, read inspirational messages from NBC anchors here and learn more about Make A Difference Day during NBC Nightly News. Each year, USA WEEKEND’s Make A Difference Day and Nightly News’ Making a Difference inspire millions to help others.


My job has given me a very public platform that allows me to meet and interact with incredible people all over the world. But it’s nice to know that one of my most treasured relationships is with someone who really doesn’t care what I do for a living or that I’m on TV.

For a little over a year, I’ve been mentoring a young man named Steve Cherenfant through Sasha Bruce Youthwork in Washington, D.C. Steve’s mother died in childbirth in Haiti. His father struggled emotionally and financially and died a few years ago.

Steve had spent a lot of time on his own and was struggling to get his life together. He just needed a friend, somebody who could be there and support him.

Steve reminds me that often the best influence you can have is just being a good friend. Far more important than any advice I can give or words I can say is the simple act of showing up and being present in Steve’s life. We have lunch or coffee together. We go to baseball games or the movies. I’m someone he can call with a question, someone he knows he can count on. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

It’s really meaningful that what I can offer Steve isn’t about my job. It’s about who I am and who I want to be as a person. Giving of myself and my time in a direct relationship with him is incredibly powerful. I feel as if it’s a real fulfillment of my potential.

On Oct. 22, I urge you to think about how you can have that human connection. We all have something to offer. It’s so important to be able to step out of our comfort zone and share the benefit of our experience with others who are trying to find their way.

You can make a real difference and have real impact. I haven’t experienced anything more satisfying than that.

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