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October 23, 2012 > Coming together to make a difference

Coming together to make a difference

By Julie Grabowski

Helping our fellow man and working to make the world a better place is an ongoing process; a passion that lives in the hearts of individuals and organizations around the globe. Countless people work year round to bring improvements to their communities and better the lives of people living among them. But on Saturday, October 27, everyone will unite to make a difference together.

Created by USA Weekend magazine in 1992, Make a Difference Day has grown into the largest national day of community service. It takes place every year on the fourth Saturday in October and is carried out in a variety of ways, small and large, from planting gardens, feeding the homeless, and building projects to cleaning parks, painting, donating clothes, or simply spending time with someone.

Last year Fremont residents participated in over 40 different Make a Difference Day projects, including gardening, repairing homes for seniors, and beautifying local schools. This year the City is aiming to make an even bigger difference in their community.

"The vision for Fremont is Unity in Diversity through community service. We hope all residents will act on this national day of serving. We are trying to build in community spirit as we serve together to make our city beautiful and to meet tangible needs for those living in it," says Make a Difference Day Project Manager Christine Beitsch. "We have over 70 citywide projects going on all day Saturday, October 27 and hope to have 400-500 volunteers of all ages and diversity participate."

Beautification projects will be going on at 16 local schools including Ardenwood Elementary School, Blacow School, John Gomes Elementary, Horner Jr. High, Oliveira Elementary, Robertson High, Steven Millard Elementary, Grimmer, Walters JHS/PTA, Warm Springs Elementary, and Washington High School. Park enthusiasts can take part in clean up projects at California Nursery Historic Park, Central Park, Nature Learning Center, and Stivers Lagoon.

If movies are your thing, head over to Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and help with data entry, covering library books, general house cleaning, pricing museum store items and other projects.

Help launch a new shoe pantry by donating new or gently used shoes in the parking lot of Discovery Church on 38891 Mission Blvd. from noon - 4 p.m., where all shoes will go to local families in need. Peanut butter donations for the Tri-City breakfast program can be dropped off in the parking lot of Irvington Presbyterian Church from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Fremont Family Resource Center (39155 Liberty St.) is hosting a free seminar/workshop for residents who would like help finding a new job and creating a resume from 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. in the Caribbean Room. Drop in from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. for one-on-one time with a resume coach. FFRC will also be giving a Stop the Traffic seminar that gives a broad overview of what human trafficking is and will discuss how residents can volunteer locally year round. This will be held from 10 a.m. - noon in the Millenium Room. Attendees can show up at 9:45 a.m. to check in.

To take part in any of these activities or to find others, visit and search Fremont zip codes for project information. Register online or just show up at the given location and time. For more information on how to get involved, contact Make a Difference Day Project Manager Christine Beitsch at (510)574-2099 or

Union City:
In the City's 15th "Make a Difference Day in Union City" volunteers will be participating in beautification projects throughout the community, including planting trees and removing graffiti to improve the appearance of the city. Landscaping and clean water projects will be going on at Pioneer Park and Civic Center, with beautification work happening at Meyers Estate and Decoto Park Plaza.

Last year, about 120 volunteers turned out, planting trees and shrubs, spreading mulch and removing debris at Dry Creek Pioneer Garden; painting at the 10th Street Community Center; Cesar Chavez Middle School students, Logan High students and Cub Scouts Pack 268 planted flower beds, trees, and shrubs, and weeded at William Cann Civic Center Park. Liberty Park received improvements to the picnic area, playground repairs, new signage, tree planting, and sound wall painting courtesy of Boy Scouts of America Troops 110 and 273.

While initial volunteer forms for this year's projects were due by October 17, help is still needed at Civic Center and Pioneer Park, so complete registration forms at to take part.

Those who are into the Halloween spirit and want to create a fun and scary haunted house for the Hayward community can volunteer at the Matt Jimenez Community Center October 26-28 from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. Call the Center at (510) 887-0400 or Volunteer Hayward at (510) 888-0102.

The Make a Difference Day Event hosted by the Milpitas Executive Lions Club invites the community to gather in one place and learn about the various services offered by the City of Milpitas, as well as locate places to volunteer or make contributions. The Lions Club will be collecting used eyeglasses for their international "Sharing the Vision Campaign"; an AJ Robinson Health Screening Van will be on site testing hearing, vision, blood pressure, and glucose for free; and the Milpitas PD will be on site offering child fingerprinting and canine demonstrations.

Drop off food, clothes, and household items for the Milpitas Food Pantry/Clothes Closet, and enjoy a car show and vendor booths. The event will be held on Saturday, October 27 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Season's Market Place, located at 1535 Landess Avenue in Milpitas. Call (408) 430-7830 or visit for more information.

For more information on ideas, how to get involved or to register for projects, visit or call the Make A Difference Day Hot Line at 1-800-416-3824. With so many ways to get involved it's easy to make an impact. So find a project and do your part to help make the world a better place.

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