Year two for Make a Difference Day proved to be a huge success as approximately 550 students and volunteers from Alfred University, Alfred State College, and Houghton College came together this past Saturday to perform community service projects throughout Allegany County.
“The biggest obstacle to overcome with this type of project is the cost,” said Marshall Green, public relations specialist for Houghton College. “It takes thousands of dollars to provide t-shirts and transportation for 550 volunteers. For this we are so grateful that local businesses and organizations joined in to help make this day of service a success.”
Support for the day of service was also provided financially by Leadership Allegany, The Greater Allegany Chamber of Commerce, Car Quest Auto Parts of Wellsville, Fassett Lane Lumber of Wellsville, Swain Ski Resort, Steuben Trust Bank of Wellsville, and Alfred Sports Center.
Leadership Allegany organized the inaugural service day one year ago, which facilitated the original partnership between the three colleges. This year, Leadership Allegany was a premier sponsor with a one thousand dollar donation. When asked why the organization felt so compelled to give financially to the day of service, committee chair, Pamela Witter, commented, “Partnering with this group allows Leadership Allegany to achieve its mission to impact communities while creating visibility and connections that help us grow and attract new students. It truly is a win-win.”
This year, the service day was focused on organizations that needed people power to get “big” jobs completed. Some sites had upwards of 50 volunteers.
Students performed at various locations from the very north side of Allegany County to the far south side, including Letchworth State Park, Cuba Memorial Hospital, various local churches, Veteran associations, Allegany ARC, public libraries, Hart Comfort House, and many other non-profits.
“The day was magical and I felt so privileged to once again be part of it. To interact with such a special group of young people goes beyond words,” expressed Michele Conklin, patient advocate at Cuba Memorial Hospital. “They not only made a significant difference in the lives of our elders, but each of us. We had great fun and did a good deed and it doesn’t get better than that. I only hope that we can do this every year.”
Jessica Jennings, service learning coordinator for Alfred University commented, “Make a Difference Day provided a great opportunity for our students and staff to volunteer and give back while also connecting and getting to know people in the local community...it is fantastic to see young adults giving their time to volunteer when there are so many other things they could be doing.”
Make a difference Day, the largest national day of community service, has been impacting lives for more than 20 years. Millions of people around the world unite to volunteer their time and energy for those around them. USA Weekend magazine and Points of Light, sponsors of Make a Difference Day, say “that regardless of age, location, or resources, we can accomplish amazing things when we take on the problems we see in our community.”
In reflection of the service day, Jonathan Hilsher, director of civic engagement for Alfred State College commented, “I truly appreciated the chance to collaborate with Houghton College and Alfred University to make this day a reality. What a privilege to unite efforts in a common mission to improve the lives of others, all while enabling students and residents to build connections and relationships.”
To view the photo gallery, please visit http://www.houghton.edu/news-media/photo-galleries/make-a-difference-day-2013/64/
For more information about Make a Difference Day in Allegany County, please visit www.celebrateallegany.com