Summit County Make a Difference Day celebrates nonprofits
Ryan Summerlin October 13, 2012
Snow didn’t keep volunteers from coming out to join in the 14th annual Make a Difference Day benefiting local nonprofits, schools and agencies around Summit County Saturday. Approximately 300 volunteers committed their time to help with volunteer services like building and maintaining trails, painting, cleaning classrooms and making kits for preschoolers at the library. Most volunteers were Summit County residents, but some traveled from the Front Range, a tradition that many continue year after year.Volunteers were matched with appropriate activities throughout the county, with Frisco, Silverthorne, Breckenridge and Keystone all represented.The volunteer projects combined with the annual food drive collected 100 pounds of donations for the Summit County food banks.Volunteers too, said participating in the national event is rewarding.”We had six kids and three adults cleaning the Silverthorne library and the energy was great – the kids were really excited,” said Carol Christiansen, a volunteer. “It’s so much easier when you have a lot of people helping out.”Make a Difference Day, a national day of contribution, was hosted this year by Summit County government, a change from previous years when the event was managed by Summit Prevention Alliance. In the peak of the event, about 500 people showed up, compared to this year’s slightly smaller attendance.”The Summit County volunteers are a pretty hardy crew,” said event coordinator Jordan Schultz. “It really shows the commitment when we get 300 volunteers when the weather is like this and it would be nice to stay inside. This community demonstrates their selflessness.”Among the 25 locations for indoor and outdoor volunteer projects, a crew of 30 braved the snow for trail work in Breckenridge near Slalom Gold Mountain Road. Tony Overlock, the lead trails technician for Breckenridge Open Space and Trails, said the trailwork was challenging given the weather, but the incentive to stay warm kept his crew moving quickly.”It could have been a horrible day without the crew we had,” he said. “It was great to watch everyone motivate one another. This is the first trail we’ve ever made in the snow and everyone worked really hard to get that accomplished.”The biggest challenge builders faced in the adverse weather Saturday was not slipping on the trail, according to Overlock and volunteers from Lord of the Mountain Lutheran Church.The volunteer event began at the Summit Stage bus barn, where volunteers where served breakfast while they dropped off non-perishable food items and were assigned specific projects and work sites. The day wrapped up at approximately 2 p.m. with a free lunch and music.