Northeast Ohio will come alive with volunteerism on Saturday when more than 1,500 people show up for community service projects, as part of Make a Difference Day.
Haven’t registered yet? Most projects are already filled up, but two outdoor clean-up activities in Summit County are still accepting sign-ups. See below for details.
Make a Difference Day is a national day of service which began in 1992. It takes place annually on the fourth Saturday in October, and is one of the largest annual single-days of service nationwide.
More than 60 local projects have been planned, from cleaning up a local beach with Alliance for the Great Lakes to sorting donated medical supplies for Medwish.
WKYC employees, including news anchors Russ Mitchell and Sara Shookman, will be out in the community taking part in various projects.
Make a Difference Day is made possible by the employees of TEGNA, WKYC’s parent company, with support from Points of Light.
This year, Arby’s Foundation has come on board as a national partner – and the Arby’s company is generously supporting local efforts as well. In Northeast Ohio, Arby’s employees will provide lunch at five sites and they have also signed up to volunteer as well.
Young people have found unique ways to embrace Make a Difference Day, including the students at Kirtland Elementary and Middle School who organized a school supply drive to benefit Kids in Need Resource Center in Cleveland. More than 100 Cleveland State University students have registered for Make a Difference Day projects.
And University of Akron, a big supporter of Make a Difference Day for the past 11 years, has more than 1,000 student volunteers signed up to take part in activities, from weeding and cleaning up around a BMX track and skate park to creating Christmas tree ornaments for troops overseas. UA’s annual participation in Make a Difference Day has been recognized nationally. In 2013, the university was honored for exemplary oversight of a Make a Difference Day program, and received $10,000 from Newman’s Own Foundation.
If you would still like to register for a project, here are two options:
If you have young children, you might want to have the kids put on their costumes and show up to clean the Canal, Towpath Trail and Summit Lake at the Halloween-themed Canal Cleanup! Help is needed to conserve and restore Ohio's natural, historic and recreational resources. Lunch is provided and a costume contest will be held for all who come dressed for the occasion. There is no minimum age to volunteer so adults bring your little one’s hands to help out. Register for the Trash and Treat project HERE
If trash and treat is not your thing, join the young professionals of the Akron area with the Market Street Underpass Improvement project. Volunteers will be tackling a Towpath Trail underpass volunteer project with the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition. We will be tearing out over grown vegetation around the underpass to prepare for spring plantings.
The underpass project is led by the organization’s Associate Board, a group of young professionals located throughout the National Heritage Area who dedicate their time to helping the organization grow through many volunteer and community engagement opportunities. The first underpass project took place at Russell Avenue in south Akron, where the group and volunteers cleared overgrown weeds, planted new landscaping, painted the retaining wall and fence, covered graffiti and sealed the asphalt shoulders of the trail. Enhanced lighting is being installed to complete the project.
The underpass improvements were identified as projects through iTowpath, a project funded by Knight Foundation to enhance, activate and better connect the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail through downtown Akron.
Register for the Market Street Underpass Improvement Day project HERE
Registration is required for both activities.