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Front Page » October 29, 2002 » Opinion » Making a difference right at home
Published 4,291 days ago

Making a difference right at home


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By KEN LARSON
Sun Advocate Publisher

Last Saturday, October 26, was a pretty significant day in America. Over three million volunteers joined together in community after community to make a difference. It was the annual "Make A Difference Day." All over the country in towns and cities, people, both young and old, individuals and groups, carried out volunteer projects that helped others. In some communities it was as ambitious as collecting truckloads of clothing for the homeless, or as personal as spending an afternoon helping an elderly neighbor or relative.

Last Saturday I reported to the CEU campus to cover this year's Make a Difference Day project. Without giving it a lot of thought I showed up at the student center a few minutes early anxious to take a few photos and then get on to the next assignment.

But something happened, something that stopped me in my tracks as I realized what was really happening. The project in Price was really two projects rolled into one. A small group of college students from the Sun Center at CEU under the leadership of advisor, Kathy Murray, and student Amy Callor, joined a few volunteers from the Habitat for the Humanities to inventory and cleanout an electrical company warehouse.

Less than two dozen people spent most of Saturday sorting, stacking, and inventorying materials from the former Kessler Electric location. Gene Kessler passed away over a year ago and his children donated the material in the plant to the Habitat for Humanities. Once the photos were taken and the interviews were complete I realized I still had a couple hours before my next appointment and rather than run and have coffee and breakfast I realized what needed to be done. So I rolled up my sleeves and pitched in.

What is important here is not just that a couple dozen people helped clean out a warehouse and plan ahead for the Habitat for Humanities home that will be built for a needy family, but rather the thought that we all can make a difference .

Volunteering for any cause is a lifetime commitment and is what makes America the incredible country it is. Let's consider making everyday a "Make A Difference Day". It's the most encompassing national day of helping others, a celebration of looking out for our neighbors. What really took me back were the college kids with their enthusiasm and energy as they pitched in, counting motors and switches, rolling up wire and cleaning out shelves and drawers.

It was over 30 years ago that I too was introduced to volunteerism and started a lifetime of helping out. I remember back then, we sponsored blood drawings, built children's playgrounds and starting picking up garbage along highways. From college groups to service clubs, churches to committees, I have seen so many miracles made possible by volunteers. I have seen communities change and families grow, churches built and futures made.

Look around you and see the incredible difference that volunteers make. I often think about people who are making a difference. My hope today is that the CEU Sun Center students and the Habitat for Humanities groups will inspire us all to look around and see what we can do to help others.

Times like Saturday allow me to take a fresh look at my purpose in life, so that I can recognize the uniqueness of our community, to honor the humanness and the essence of love that we truly have as we give back to our families and children.

If we learn to listen to the answers from within, we discover how we can make a difference, every day.


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