Tracy residents unite to make a difference
by Michael Langley
Aug 02, 2013 | 1132 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Macarena Cortina wants to know how she and her classmates at Kimball High School can help the people of Tracy.

The 15-year-old was one of 14 people who attended a meeting of the Tracy United to Make a Difference at Realty World, 1486 W. 11th St., on Monday, July 29.

“It’s very exciting to get involved with everyone and really get to know more people,” said the rising sophomore.

Brian Pekari formed Tracy United to Make a Difference in August 2012 to organize volunteerism for Make a Difference Day.

The USA Weekend magazine, owned and published by Gannett Co., created Make a Difference Day in 1992 as an annual community service event on the fourth Saturday of October.

“It’s the largest service day in the nation, where over 3 million people gather together across our nation and do something to give back,” Pekari told the group.

Pekari said that in 2012, 5,000 city residents volunteered with Tracy United to Make a Difference to work on 67 projects that benefited 27 causes and nonprofit organizations during the nearly three months leading up to the October event.

“On Make a Difference Day, we had over 600 people participate,” Pekari said.

Pekari wants to not only eclipse those numbers in 2013, but also expose thousands more local people to the rewarding task of performing community service.

“Especially when we are working with schools, we want to encourage the kids and teenagers and youth to be able to find their passion,” Pekari said. “Then they can run with that passion, and maybe that becomes a lifelong cause.”

That suits Macarena, who went to the meeting Monday not knowing what to expect.

“Not a lot of people know about this day. I didn’t know about it,” she said. “I like helping out. It makes high school more fun too.”

Macarena said she was happy to hear how she and her classmates could help out the rest of the community.

“It was good,” she said of the meeting. “That was my one question that I really needed to know I had, because I don’t have that much experience with this. Now I kind of understand what I have to do.”

Macarena is taking the information back to her leadership class.

“I’m hoping we can do a lot of different projects in different areas and help out,” she said.

• Contact Michael Langley at 830-4231 or mlangley@tracypress.com.

How to join:

Brian Pekari, founder of Tracy United to Make a Difference, said any Tracy resident can get involved in a project of their choice by visiting the Facebook page for the group or calling 814-2442.

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