Summit County unable to put together programming for Make A Difference Day |

Summit County unable to put together programming for Make A Difference Day

Volunteers with the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District along with adults and youth from the Snowsports Outreach Society work at clearing out cut logs and working on fire mitigation near the Mount Royal Trailhead while taking part in the Summit Prevention Alliance's 'Make A Difference Day' in 2013. The annual day saw volunteers spread out across the county performing such tasks as cleaning, building, repairing, planting and spreading good will.
Summit Daily/Mark Fox |

For the first time in nearly two decades, Summit County did not put together an event for Make A Difference Day.

Laurie Blackwell, the Healthy Futures Initiative program coordinator, said in an email that the organization received a different grant this past year and “could not continue Make A Difference Day” with the new funding. She added that they are looking into new groups that could host the event in the future. In the meantime, she encouraged community members to participate in volunteer events that are part of existing programs.

For several years, the Healthy Futures Initiative program in the Youth and Family Services department of Summit County has partnered with the Rotary Club of Summit County, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and The Summit Foundation, among others, to create annual programming for Make a Difference Day. The first one was held in the county in 1998. The event was in October for several years, but in 2014 it was pushed to mid-September to take advantage of warmer weather.

The national holiday was started in 1992 and has since become one of the largest days of service in the country. Their website,, says that the holiday “shows that anyone, no matter of age or background, can make an impact on their community.” The national event is held every fourth Saturday in October. This year it fell on Oct. 22.

Over the years hundreds of volunteers have come together on Make A Difference Day in Summit County to work on various projects throughout the area. In the past, organizations could apply to have their indoor or outdoor projects done. Volunteers young and old have worked on trails, cleaned buildings and donated to food drives.

Anita Overmyer, the development director at the Family & Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC), said that Make A Difference Day volunteers have previously worked at the organization’s thrift stores. She added that because the thrift stores depend on volunteers year round, it wasn’t an impact on FIRC to lose this specific volunteer day. She added that Make A Difference Day’s presence in the county made it a good recruiting tool for getting more volunteers on a regular basis.

Summit County’s Make A Difference Day was briefly active on Facebook with an event page that started in 2012 and ran through 2013. The title of the event page was updated for the next year’s event, but there are no posts after. The links in the about section of the Facebook page no longer link to Make A Difference Day information.

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