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Choosing to make a difference

April 22, 2014

     Make a Difference Day is a great idea. Sponsored by USA WEEKEND in partnership with Points of Light and Newman’s Own, the very idea of Make a Difference Day has indeed prompted people of all ages to reach out to those in need in their communities and across America. For the past 23 years, the annual event has encouraged people to not only be aware of the hardships of others but has also encouraged individuals to be creative in pulling people together to help meet those needs.

     In a special April 4th, 2014 USA WEEKEND issue, many of the 2013 honorees were recognized for their efforts. Proving that age does not limit one’s ability to accomplish amazing things Jessica Collins, now 14, is featured for her ministry that began after being inspired at age 10 by a scene in The Blind Side. What follows is quoted from the USA WEEKEND feature article, Making a Difference.

     “That year, for Christmas, instead of doing a Salvation Army angel, I wanted to help a child get a bed,” Jessica says. She brokered a deal with a local furniture store to get beds at cost and started raising money. Four years later, her foundation, A Place to Sleep, has become an official ministry of the First Presbyterian Church and is an annual participant in Make a Difference Day. This past year, 85 volunteers made quilts and blankets, tie-dyed pillow cases, donated $2,000 for supplies and delivered 27 beds to kids in need.”

     As incredible as that sounds, the number of those she has helped through her efforts is actually much higher. In the past four years, Jessica has produced beds for 349 children in Shelby County, Ky. Clearly, she did not allow her age to limit her ability in having a positive impact on the lives of so many.

     What if elementary age children across the earth learned by example from the mentors in their lives that we each have an opportunity, if not duty, to be charitable and to do what we can to help others?  What if they truly understood that it is, in fact, better to give than receive and that any act of kindness regardless of how large or small, has a major impact in helping to ease the suffering of someone else? And what if we each did this for one another? As the song says, “What a wonderful world this would be.”

     The fourth Saturday every October, all people, young and old alike, organizations and even cities are invited to participate in Make a Difference Day. Yearly, 10 National Honorees and three City Awardees are each bestowed $10,000 to be given to their favorite charity. Cleveland, Tennessee, one of the 2013 award winners, united 800 volunteers in its goal of making a difference in the Cleveland community.  Volunteers worked on dozens of activities, including having a YMCA job fair where 64 people found employment to nearly 75 Lee University students packing 10,000 backpacks with toiletries, snacks and other necessities to be given away. This is an excellent example of a community taking care of its own.

     Over the past two decades, Make a Difference Day has truly been a spark that has ignited a fire of compassion throughout our country. Keep the flame burning and make a difference in the life of someone else.

     For more information on how to participate in Make a Difference Day please see http://makeadifferenceday.com.

Scriptures:

“…..remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:25

 

 

 

 

 

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