Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Make A Difference Project kicks off this weekend

Claremont residents are giving a local twist to a national volunteer campaign.

Claremont’s Make a Difference Project, inspired by the national Make a Difference Day, is leading the Claremont community in a series of collaborative volunteer projects. The program kicks off this weekend at Village Venture.

Led by the Community Services and Participation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Aging, the Make a Difference Project provides a series of long-term volunteer opportunities for locals looking to give back.

“This is an opportunity for those in Claremont that want to volunteer, but haven’t found the right place,” said Bobbie Hill, co-chair of the Make a Difference Project. “We are looking to expand the ways ‘soon-to-be-retired people’ can get involved in our community.”

More than 15 nonprofit organizations and other service groups from across the city have come together to head up the campaign’s service projects. Featured organizations include Meals on Wheels, CERT, Claremont Public Library, and Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens.

“We aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel, Claremont already does a great job of giving back to the community,” Ms. Hester said. “We are just looking to give Claremont residents some new ideas on how to get involved and enhance the community at the same time.”

The Claremont cause was inspired by the national Make a Difference Day, the country’s largest 1-day community service event, which has taken place on the fourth Saturday in October for the past 20 years. Claremont will participate in the service day along with more than 20 million other American volunteers on Saturday, October 22. Claremont participants, however, will be continuing on long after those 24 hours are up.

“We want to keep those efforts going,” Ms. Hester said.

Volunteers will work for 4 to 6 months on projects that range from painting benches in local parks to setting up a community service bulletin board dedicated to holding service opportunity pamphlets and other volunteer announcements and brochures, said Ms. Hill.

“Right now the ideas are really fragmented… we're looking for anything that appeals to a resident. We are looking to expand on people’s different interests,” she said. “If someone loved model trains, they could get a group of people together and create a display. There are all sorts of ways to make a difference.”

A citywide celebration highlighting the success of their campaign will take place on Saturday, May 5. Volunteers will have the chance to present their finished projects to the Claremont community at that time.

The campaign will kick off on Saturday at the city’s Village Venture Booth. A program orientation will be held Wednesday, November 16, at the Alexander Hughes Community Center.

For more information, visit or contact the Joslyn Center at 399-5488.

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