Volunteer on Make a Difference Day

Soon the United States will celebrate “Make a Difference Day,” the largest national day of community service.

What are you doing to mark the day?

I plan to sort food and restock the pantry in the Food Gatherers warehouse in Ann Arbor on Oct. 26.

Sponsored by Points of Light, an organization dedicated to volunteer service, and USA Weekend, a news magazine published by Gannett, the celebration is held annually on the fourth Saturday in October. According to Points of Light the day is designed to “connect people with opportunities to serve, increase the strength of communities, and encourage civic engagement.”

In Ann Arbor, Professional Volunteer Corps offers single people the opportunity to make a difference every day, all year long, by getting involved in projects that help non-profit agencies serve the community.

Here’s what PVC members say about volunteering:

Robert Klingler said it allows him to pursue his passion of making life better for others.

“I like to help agencies that make an impact on problems in Ann Arbor such as Peace Neighborhood Center and Ronald McDonald House,” he said.

Crystal Heft’s belief that “I am responsible for sharing my gifts with others, offering them prospects for personal growth and lending support when needed” has been a guiding force in her life.

A way of life for Betty Tecco, she said: “In all my volunteer experiences, I find satisfaction in being able to do something for others who may not have been as fortunate in their lives as I have been.”

Bill Kidd started providing community service after discovering issues needing to be addressed and realizing he could only do so much by himself.

“Selective volunteering enables me to join like-minded individuals or organizations to further understand these causes and contribute beyond myself,” he said.

The group works with non-profit organizations such as Food Gatherers, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, Washtenaw Literacy, Natural Area Preservation, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, American Cancer Society, NEW Center, and many others with specific one-time projects.

Members choose from a variety of projects that match their schedules and interests, such as silent- auction fundraisers, mailings, park maintenance, sorting food, clothes and toys, run and walk events, cooking and serving meals to the needy, and ushering for concert performances.

Short-term volunteer opportunities are set up on weekends, with an average time commitment of three hours per project which is ideal for busy single people.

The organization also offers social activities for its members such as trips to area attractions, cultural arts performances, outdoor events, a restaurant club and walking group, which allows for making new friends with people who share the same interests.

Professional Volunteer Corps holds monthly membership meetings at 7:30 pm on the second Friday of the month at the NEW Center, 1100 N. Main St., in Ann Arbor. At the meetings members discuss projects, conduct business, and participate in social opportunities. There is an information session for prospective members at 7 p.m. before each meeting.

Anyone who is single, widowed or divorced, and at least 25 years of age can join. The annual membership fee is $40. For more information, visit a2pvc.org or contact pvc_a2@email.com.

Kidd sums up his experience this way: “Volunteering keeps me active and engaged, gives me a chance to meet new people, provides a sense of balance with work and family, and brings a feeling of pride and ownership in the community.”

On behalf of PVC, I invite you to join us in “making a difference” in the Ann Arbor community.

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