16th annual Make A Difference Day a community-wide volunteer effort
Make A Difference Day
Date: Saturday, Sept. 13
Time: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Sign up and get your assignment and free breakfast at the Summit Stage bus barn in Frisco; work sites are spread out throughout the county
More info: Pre-register, get directions and full schedule at www.SummitSource.org
Summit County residents are no strangers to volunteer work; helping hands can be found at work throughout the county, from serving at local food banks, assisting animals, acting as mentors to needy children and beyond.
Make A Difference Day is a community-wide volunteer day that focuses on nonprofit organizations, schools and agencies in need throughout the county. Previously affiliated with the national Make A Difference Day movement, which takes place in October, the organizers of the Summit volunteer action have decided to push the date forward into September, to take advantage of warmer weather. This will be the event’s 16th year in the county.
HOW IT WORKS
Each year, local organizations can fill out an application to be part of Make A Difference Day. The application includes information such as what type of work needs to be done, the estimated number of volunteers required, how many hours it might take, etc. Currently there are about 15 organizations signed up for this year’s volunteers, including Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, Open Space and Trails, the Keystone Science School, Swan Center Outreach and various local elementary schools.
On the morning of Saturday, Sept. 13, volunteers will gather at the Summit Stage bus barn in Frisco, go share some coffee and breakfast and receive their assignments. Volunteer work consists of both indoor and outdoor activities such as trail maintenance, painting, winterizing buildings, etc.
“It’s just a little bit of everything,” said Laurie Blackwell, this year’s Make a Difference Day coordinator, and lead coordinator for the Healthy Futures Initiatives. “It’s just a day to give back to the community.”
Volunteers can pre-register online at http://www.SummitSource.org, where they can choose a specific site to work at, or simply sign up and be assigned where needed on the day of the event.
The event also serves as a food drive, so volunteers are encouraged to bring several food items with them to the morning registration. The food will then be distributed to various food banks throughout the county, such as FIRC and churches like Father Dyer United Methodist Church in Breckenridge.
The national Make A Difference Day movement started more than 20 years ago, a partnership between USA WEEKEND Magazine and Points of Light, a worldwide volunteer organization.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community that we all love,” said Dan Eberle, the Mountain Mentors school-age program coordinator and Make A Difference Day committee member. “It’s a very community-pride-based event.”
However, October isn’t the ideal month for working outside in the High Country. Organizers are hoping for much better weather for this year’s volunteers.
“It was windy and snowy (last year),” said Eberle, “but we have a lot of brave volunteers and brave souls that come out no matter the weather.”
He suggests volunteers check the weather beforehand, and bring a water bottle, gloves and weather-appropriate clothing. Other than that, all they need to bring is themselves.
“Everyone brings a skill to Make A Difference Day, so you’re not too old or not too young to volunteer, and what’s great about it is the site leaders for the host sites will teach you all the basic skills that you need,” he said. “Each site will provide the necessary tools and equipment for any work you’ll be doing.”
Not only is Make A Difference Day an opportunity for people to give back, it’s also a chance to meet some new people and have a fun day, said Eberle. “It’s overall a very positive, a very giving atmosphere. It’s very welcoming too, if you decide to come by yourself.”
“It really is an amazingly feel-good day,” said Lyn Manton Krueger, a Summit County local who has been involved with the event since its inception. “I think that’s what’s cool about Summit County — we’ve got so many people who are willing to give back to our community.”
The event is free and open to anyone who wants to volunteer, whether they are a local or just visiting.
“We welcome anyone and everyone. You’re not too old or too young to volunteer. Locals or guests alike are more than welcome to attend,” said Eberle. “It’s a great way to wake up and give back and then you have the whole afternoon to do whatever you want to do in the county. We’re only asking for a couple of hours of your time and it generates a lot of great work within the county.”
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