Archive for Monday, October 28, 1996

VOLUNTEERS SPEND DAY MAKINGDIFFERENCE

October 28, 1996

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Lawrence residents volunteered their time Saturday to help make a difference on "Make a Difference Day."

For the third year in a row, citizens across the nation joined together to reach out to their communities on "Make A Difference Day."

This year, Lawrence residents also took part in the annual day of helping others -- sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation and USA Weekend magazine -- on Saturday.

"No one has done anything like this before (in Lawrence), and I thought it would be a great idea," said Aimee Ziegler, a case worker for Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.

Ziegler, a Kansas University social welfare graduate student, worked with other KU students to organize 70 volunteers to help make a difference in Lawrence.

"The day went great. It was awesome," Ziegler said. "They (volunteers) arrived at New York School, and we split up into teams."

Ziegler's group of volunteers did gardening work at the Indian Center of Lawrence, put up Halloween decorations at Babcock Place and Brandon Woods, mailed fliers for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Douglas County and cleaned the Social Service League Store.

"A lot of the KU students were paired up with the children. It was definitely a mentor thing," Ziegler said. "I think it's (Make a Difference Day) important for Lawrence because kids need to be empowered, and this kind of event can show them how they can do something positive in their community."

Other volunteer work included the construction of a garden for the blind at Audio-Reader Services, 1120 W. 11th.

"It's a garden that is acceptable for both the visually impaired as well as the sighted. We planted things that were particularly fragrant," said Diana Frederick, coordinator of volunteers for Audio-Reader. "October is the 25th anniversary for Audio-Reader, so it seemed exceedingly appropriate to do this garden that we've always wanted to do."

In conjunction with "Make a Difference Day," USA Weekend magazine will award $2,000 each to 10 projects nationwide.

Fifty projects will also receive $2,000 from Paul Newman and his food company, Newman's Own Inc.

Both Ziegler and Frederick said they would enter their volunteers' projects to receive a cash award.

"One of my dreams -- if we should receive one of the monetary awards -- is to put some steps in or terrace a ramp down to the garden," Frederick said.

Whether or not the Lawrence projects receive an award, Frederick said she is happy knowing she helped contribute to the community.

"We feel like we did (make a difference). If you could have seen the garden before we started, it was just like a regular lawn," Frederick said. "It was a nice way to spend a Saturday."

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