10/24/04 — Wayne turns out to make a difference

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Wayne turns out to make a difference

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 24, 2004 2:09 AM

School children collected food and coats for other needy children and wrote letters to deployed airman.

Military personnel made a sensory garden for handicapped children and restored the bell tower of an historic building.

Adults and children restocked the nearly bare shelves of the Salvation Army's pantry and the Soup Kitchen with food and collected items for disaster kits for hurricane victims.

And it was all done for the 13th annual Make A Difference Day Saturday.

The weather was cool and there was a chilly breeze as volunteers gathered at Waynesborough Historical Village at 8:30 a.m. for an opening ceremony to begin the day.

Members of Greenwood Middle School band played a selection of patriotic songs. Madelyn Edwards sang the national anthem.

Master of ceremonies Geoff Hulse said the day was a way of celebrating the spirit of volunteering in Wayne County. "Let us keep the spirit of this beautiful day full of promise year round," he said.

Several local leaders gave brief comments praising the volunteers. Goldsboro Mayor Al King said those present had "answered the call to help. Remember all year long to make a difference."

Wayne County Commissioners Chairman J.D. Evans lauded the volunteers for doing projects with a lot of joy and commitment. "We see a great deal of cooperation in this county and we are going to make this county one of the best in North Carolina."

Lt. Col Donald Jurewicz, vice commander at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, said the spirit of volunteerism is something that the Air Force emphasizes. He said the idea of service goes beyond fighting terrorism; it extends to the community where military people are stationed. "Service is a part of our lives and we are grateful for the opportunity to work along with Wayne County volunteers," he said.

Steve Taylor, superintendent of Wayne County public schools, praised all the students who held food and supply drives throughout the week and did various projects. "Our students' hearts are big and their arms are wide," he said. "They learned that serving others is the greatest reward."

Following the ceremony, volunteers headed out to various sites to do projects.

Joanne Taylor, leader for Boy Scout Pack 258, said about 20 boys and their parents helped with flood and hurricane boxes at the M.E.R.C.I. warehouse. This was the pack's fourth year of participating in Make A Difference Day.

In the past, they held a food drive for the Soup Kitchen and cleaned the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park.

"They have fun," said Mrs. Taylor. "They do it as their community service project."

A group of people from Seymour Johnson were at Edgewood Community Developmental School cleaning up the grounds, planting flowers and trimming bushes. They even put in a sensory garden complete with a water fountain, said Sherry Kindlesparker, coordinator.

"This project came about after a friend of ours lost her son, Chad, who went to school here," Mrs. Kindlesparker said. "It was therapy for her to make a little memorial garden for him here."

Edgewood Principal Tasha Christian Adams said it was "wonderful to see the outpouring of volunteers. It just warms your heart to see all of this going on."

The school also collected items for disaster kits for victims of the hurricanes.

Wayne County 4-H did a variety of projects for Make A Difference Day. One club collected and donated pillowcases for deployed airmen's families.

Others made 400 lunch bags for Meals on Wheels clients, to be given out for Veterans Day. They included canned meat, fruit, crackers and hot chocolate. The 4-H'ers decorated the bags in patriotic themes.

They also collected stuffed animals to deliver to law enforcement, the Lighthouse of Wayne County battered women's shelter and the American Red Cross to be given to children who have suffered a traumatic experience. Members of the Southern Cruisers Riding Club also donated stuffed animals to the 4-H project.

Wayne County 4-H has taken part in Make A Difference Day for the past several years. "We need to teach children that they need to give back to the community," said Ms. Byers. "4-H is a lot about service to others and the community."

Make A Difference Day is sponsored locally by the city of Goldsboro, United Way and Volunteer Wayne.

"I think every different group in our community has responded in one way or another," said Barbara Stiles, Volunteer Wayne director.

She said 34 different kinds of projects were done by hundreds of volunteers.

"Volunteering can be fun," Mrs. Stiles said. "If you get together with your friends, family, neighbors and do something positive, everybody will benefit. The volunteers will get just as much out of it, if not more."

Make a Difference Day is a national day of volunteering sponsored by USA Weekend magazine and the Points of Light Foundation.