The fourth Saturday of October is Make a Difference Day. It has been celebrated since 1992. That year, it was started to mark the Leap Year in a positive way. It was such a success that the organizers decided not to wait until the next Leap Year. Instead, Make a Difference Day as moved to the fourth Saturday in October. This year it is on October 28. Check out the official website at Makeadifferenceday.com.
The website describes the purpose of Make a Difference day as follows:
Make A Difference Day shows that anyone, no matter of age or background, can make an impact on their community. Thousands of projects take place every October. Some large, many small. But each effort makes an important difference to our communities.
The Value of Volunteerism
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 63 million Americans gave 8 billion hours of volunteer service in 2016. The dollar value of this service is estimated at $193 billion. That is a lot of volunteerism value. Some people have the time to volunteer weekly or even daily. Others might only participate in occasional events. Some work endlessly for a specific cause. Others seem to be volunteering everywhere at once. It doesn’t really matter which kind of volunteering they do. It all makes a difference.
When I think about what volunteers do for my community, I am in awe of the sheer amount of time, energy, skill, money, and care that has gone in to making my town a great places to live and raise a family. We have an amazing Independence Day committee (all volunteer) who organize a parade, a freedom run, a patriotic sing, and a professional firework display. It is paid for by community donations. I know moms, dads, and grandparents who put in endless hours in our schools, helping teachers in their very important role as educators. Our local animal shelter and rescue organizations rely on the help of volunteers. Community members volunteer at our local library. Some help shelve books. Others teach adult literacy classes or raise much needed funds through various programs.
How Volunteering Helps the Volunteer
When you volunteer, you benefit more than just other people. You also benefit yourself. Becoming a volunteer can release stress, help combat depression, keep you mentally and physically active, and provide a sense of direction and purpose in your life. Many studies have found that helping other increases our own happiness. Volunteering can also help in monetary ways. Volunteering can be a way to gain important professional experience that can benefit your career. It can also help you develop relationships with others that you wouldn’t necessarily meet in any other way. This can increase you social network and maybe you professional network too.
There are so many ways to make a difference. Why not start this Saturday? Below is a list of 35 ways you can make a difference in the lives of others. Some are really easy and take minimal effort. Others will demand more of your time, energy, or even money. Pick something that speaks to you.
25 Ways to Make a Difference
Simple Ways to Make a Big Difference
1. Take the time to use you manners. Please and thank you are still magic words.
2. Learn to forgive others, even if they haven’t asked for your forgiveness.
3. Cultivate a generous spirit.
4. Teach your children to be kind.
5. Slow down and smell the roses. You won’t see the good you can do if you’re rushing all the time.
6. Look for opportunities to help others. They really are everywhere once you pay attention.
Places to Volunteer
7. Local library
8. Local schools
9. Animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centers
10. Community theaters, monuments, and museums
11. Local service organizations like Lions Club or Rotary Club
12. Local churches, synagogues and mosques
13. Homeless shelters and soup kitchens
14. Senior and youth centers
15. City offices and chambers of commerce
16. National, state, and local parks and monuments
17. The Peace Corps or AmeriCorps
19. Your local YMCA
20. Start your own organization if that’s what needed
Making a Difference Financially
21. Donate money to causes you support. Be sure they are using your donations wisely
22. Donate quality used goods to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and other resources
23. Have a garage sale or flea market and donate the proceeds.
24. Offer your professional service for free to those who are in need
25. Live with your means so you have the ability to help others financially
Online Sources for Volunteers
Whatever way you decide to make the world better, please know that you can. It doesn’t take a lot of money or college education. You don’t have to have any specific expertise or skills. It doesn’t have to take a lot of your time. You just have to be willing to help others. You can do that and make a difference, large or small, or some where in between. Every bit helps.
How do you make a difference in your community? Please leave comments below.
Thanks for reading and please share.