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Hoda Kotb
NBC's Today Show's Hoda Kotb / NBC

Will you join the Oct. 27 action?

One way to help your cause: At, founded by actor Kevin Bacon and Network for Good, you can make a donation to any of 1 million charities or host a social media fundraiser.

Download the 2012 app: Android phone users can register their plans, find a hometown project, view a national map of events and share their own stories via social media. The Make A Difference Day app, created by Motorola Mobility Foundation, is free via Google Play.

Awards: USA WEEKEND’s Make A Difference Day is held in partnership with Points of Light and supported by Newman’s Own, which provides $130,000 in awards to Make A Difference Day projects. Awards will be presented in Washington, D.C., in April 2013.


I’ve spent a lot of my career covering difficult stories — poverty-stricken neighborhoods, murders, strapped school systems. It’s given me a real soft spot for inner-city kids, some of whom are trapped just by accident of birth.

Once, while covering a story, I met two little boys named Quinten and Jonathan, who lived on the most dangerous corner in a New Orleans housing project.

They buried their heads in books trying to do their homework while there was gunfire right outside their door. I started to spend time with them on the weekends and really came to love them.

I remember I had a big white quilt in my apartment. We would throw it up in the air and it would fall down on top of us, and they would squeal with laughter. They called it “the cloud.”

When I left New Orleans, what they remembered most wasn’t any of the things I’d bought for them; it was the cloud — the time they’d spent with me.

Sometimes it’s hard stepping outside yourself when you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. You have to pick up the kids from school. You have to cook dinner. You have bills to pay. You have stuff going on and your load is heavy. But you know what? Someone else’s load is heavier. Someone needs you right now. And sometimes the way to lighten your own load is to try to lighten someone else’s.

On Make A Difference Day, Oct. 27, I know you can find even just one hour to reach out and help someone. What you’ll get back is immeasurable.

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.

More In Make A Difference Day

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.