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Newswoman Nancy Cordes makes community service a priority.
Newswoman Nancy Cordes makes community service a priority. / Craig Blankenhorn / CBS NEWS

You can help, too. Oct. 26, 2013, is the 23rd annual Make A Difference Day, the nationís largest day of community service.

On Make A Difference Day 2013, millions of volunteers will unite to improve the lives of others in their communities.

Find out how you can join us at makeadifferenceday.com.

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My father is a doctor, and when I was a child, he ran the local chapter of the American Cancer Association in our home state, Hawaii. Our house was festooned with stickers and buttons featuring a big green frog and the words ďKiss me, I donít smoke.Ē

Dad had some pretty creative ideas for fundraisers. Once, he decided to sell garbage cans. He persuaded the governorís wife to pose with a garbage can for pictures to drum up publicity ó and sold hundreds.

Another time, he set out to organize the islandís biggest sale ever of ďhuli huli chicken,Ē a local delicacy. He amassed a small army to cook the chickens, and he ended up selling 6,000 of them ó impressive when you consider that only about 30,000 people lived on the entire island at the time!

Often, Dad would wake us early on a Saturday to participate in some walkathon or fundraiser. My brother and sister and I may have missed sleeping in, but we grew up viewing service to oneís community as a given. We also learned that no matter how busy you are, there is always time to help others. My father ran a busy practice and was on call every third night, but he took great pride in his service to cancer research. He taught me that the best time to get my own kids involved in service is when they are very young.

One other bonus: To this day, Iíve never smoked a cigarette! I have Dad and the big green frog to thank for that.

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