09/10/04 — Annual Make a Difference Day to be held in Wayne on Oct. 23

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Annual Make a Difference Day to be held in Wayne on Oct. 23

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on September 10, 2004 1:59 PM

Wayne County residents will set aside their own needs to help their neighbors Oct. 23 during the 13th annual Make A Difference Day.

Sponsored locally by the city of Goldsboro, Volunteer Wayne and United Way of Wayne County, the event used to be the annual Day of Remembrance and Caring and was held each Sept. 11 to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks and help the needy of the county.

But this year it was changed to Hands On Wayne County to coincide with national Make A Difference Day, sponsored by USA Weekend magazine and the Points of Light Foundation.

"The last two years the Day of Remembrance and Caring was held because it was really important to do something special to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks," explained Barbara Stiles, director of Volunteer Wayne.

"Not to make that anything less, but we really wanted to bring the community together in a more positive way and link up with Make A Difference Day. I think a lot of times people feel they've made more of an impact when they've done something big, like Make A Difference Day."

The purpose of the event is to provide local businesses, the military, civic groups and individuals a personal way to learn more about their community and the agencies that serve the community.

According to Mrs. Stiles, this day will rekindle and maintain the spirit of caring for others and an appreciation of community by doing projects for local nonprofit groups. The day will focus on community and working together to improve lives.

Make A Difference Day here will start with an opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. at Waynesborough Historical Village, which has been chosen to be the main project for the event. Speakers will include Mayor Al King and a representative from the county commissioners and the base. Eastern Wayne High School's band will provide a program of drum and fife music and the national anthem will be sung. There will be doughnuts, juice and coffee.

Then volunteers will spread out to do a multitude of projects. There will be a variety of projects at Waynesborough Historical Village. Mrs. Stiles said the village lost state funding and there's a lot of things that need to be done out there. "This will give us a chance as a community to do something in one area and look back at the end of the day and say 'We've really accomplished something.'"

In addition, Volunteer Wayne is taking requests from local nonprofit agencies. Project requests are due to Volunteer Wayne by the end of today by going to the Web site at www.volunteersolutions.org.

Volunteers are also being asked to register with Volunteer Wayne no later than Oct. 8 by going to the Web site.

For those who cannot come out Oct. 23, projects may be done the week prior to that day, said Mrs. Stiles. Groups may want to hold drives for hats and coats, food, school supplies or disaster kit supplies for the Red Cross. Or they may want to donate money for supplies for some of the projects being done that day.

Ten projects nationwide will be chosen to receive a cash award of $10,000 each.

Mrs. Stiles said it is hoped the event draws at least 500 volunteers. Anyone wanting to order T- shirts, sweatshirts, hats, balloons, buttons and other Make A Difference Day items for the event may do so by going to the Web site at www.makeadifferenceday.com or by phone at 1-800-333-6737. Call Volunteer Wayne at 735-5151 for information on how your business or group can customize the T-shirts.

Mayor King said this promises to be one of the big events of the year. "We encourage people to come out and make their contributions to Wayne County and the people who need their help," he said. "The focus will be on volunteering and to show appreciation to those who have volunteered. We need to rally our people around the pole and get as much as we can to the people who need us."

Mrs. Stiles challenges everyone to volunteer that day. "After taking part in Make A Difference Day, you are sure to continue to volunteer in the county," she said.

"I think anyone who doesn't participate will be missing out. At the end of the day, those who have volunteered are going to have a really good feeling. At the end of the day, you are able to say 'I've made a difference for somebody.'"

For more information about Make A Difference Day, call Volunteer Wayne at 735-5151.