Close to 200 volunteers are needed to lend a hand in the Make a Difference Day event Oct. 23. As of Tuesday, only about 30 people had signed up.
How to help
Interested volunteers should contact Roger Hill Volunteer Center, 865-5030, by Oct. 15 to sign up. Projects typically last two to three hours, and participants can volunteer individually or in groups.
The Roger Hill Volunteer Center, which sponsors the day of service, hopes to reach its goal by Oct. 15.
USA Weekend magazine started Make a Difference Day in 1992. The fourth Saturday of October now is the largest community service effort in the nation and recruits nearly 3 million people worldwide.
At the local volunteer center, the event has grown as well — climbing from an average of 100 volunteers in the past to an expected 170 this year. Staff at the center do their part by helping pair volunteers with local agencies that need service work. Fourteen agencies have signed up this fall, seeking help with activities ranging from an outdoor trail and park restoration to large-scale painting.
Emily Hampton, program director at the volunteer center, said the center is trying to bring back Make a Difference Day its main fall project, after not participating in 2008 and 2009.
“A day of service is important because it is inspiring for volunteers to see the whole community out together working on projects,” Hampton said. “We hope that it won’t be one day out of the year that they volunteer, but that they will make a connection that carries on to the future.”
Kansas University’s homecoming, also scheduled for Oct. 23, could be an obstacle in reaching that goal. Hampton said the unfortunate timing may be what is causing some volunteers to hesitate to sign up. However, Hampton is guaranteed to have at least one enthusiastic group.
Zach Devine, head coach of the Lawrence Aquahawks, and 15 members of his squad will be giving up their Saturday to help with projects at New York School. Devine said he wants his team to develop the habit of volunteering.
Sarah Smoot, a ninth-grader at Southwest Junior High, said she has no problem giving up her Saturday.
“I would rather be helping somebody else than do something for myself and instead of sitting down watching TV.”