Nationally, Make a Difference Day falls on the fourth Saturday in October each year and is branded as the largest national day of community service. Brian Pekari is the local coordinator.
“I think having our mayor do this proclamation shows that the city endorses the efforts of the volunteers to get involved and give back to the local community,” Pekari said. “No matter a person’s political party, religious belief, ethic background or economic status, we can all unite to work together to make a difference.”
USA Weekend Magazine and Points of Light have joined together for two decades to promote this day of service, during which millions of volunteers around the world come together to help with community projects.
Locally, there are two different components to Make A Difference Day — the day of service and the ongoing service projects happening now through the end of November. Groups, individuals and organizations are taking on projects that help causes and nonprofits. Last year, more than 5,000 volunteers came together during the two-month period, helping 27 causes and completing 67 projects.
On Oct. 26, Make A Difference Day will kick off at 8 a.m. at B and 10th streets next to the downtown farmers market. Residents are encouraged to go downtown and get involved through project assignments. Park cleanup, recycling and gathering donations for people in need are among the tasks to be done that day.
The day’s events are scheduled to last until about 1 p.m., featuring local dancers, singers and other performers.
This is not just an adult collaboration; many of the youth get involved for community service hours and to help in some way. Tracy resident Laura Johnston, staff adviser for the Youth Advisory Commission, helps coordinate the efforts of local teenagers.
“This is a great opportunity for the youth to get involved in something that is bigger then themselves,” Johnston explained. “It’s about the process and the work, along with the preparation needed to do this event.”
The theme this year is “compassion, collaboration, community.”
For more information, visit the Facebook page for Tracy United To Make A Difference or www.makeadifferenceday.com.
• Anne Marie Fuller, a Tracy arts commissioner, Mrs. California BOTN and National Mrs. BOTN., is also the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26 at 7 p.m. Fridays. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.