On Saturday Oct. 26, University of Wisconsin Parkside will celebrate 13 years of involvement in National Make a Difference Day. The national day is sponsored by USA Weekend Magazine who started the event over 20 years ago to encourage people lend a hand in their communities. In recent years, there have been close to 3 million participants nationwide on every fourth week of October.
Last year, Parkside had a total of 120 students working alongside other community volunteers. Over 60 agencies have been invited by the school this year to submit specific project requests, and there are currently around 160 students signed up for the event.
Parkside volunteers will meet for breakfast in the student atrium at 7:45AM. After breakfast, t-shirts and directions to assigned project sites will be handed out. Project sites for this year’s mission include the Pringle Nature Center, Racine Zoo, Petrifying Springs, River Bend Nature Center, and the Racine Urban Garden. Many of these projects consist of ground cleanup and construction. Students at sites such as Women and Children’s Horizons in Kenosha will be sorting donations of clothing and household goods for victims of sexual and domestic violence/abuse. The Student Nurses’ Association at Parkside (SNAP) will also be doing blood pressure checks for veterans at Stand Down in Kenosha.
The Student Activities Center offers help for students in recording their volunteer hours from this specific event. Also, every year an award is given to the student club/organization with the highest number of participants. Last year, The Outstanding Participation honor was awarded to the Ladies of Gamma Alpha Omega in first place. The UW-Parkside Track & Field Teams came in second place, and the Parkside Asian Organization was awarded third place.
Each site requires a specific number of students to complete their project, so every hand in this mission makes a huge difference in the community. You can stop in to the Student Activities Center to sign up for the event. For any further questions regarding Make a Difference day contact UW-Parkside Volunteer Programs Coordinator Casey Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Doria DeBartolo