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Local 'Make a Difference Day' organizers predict largest turnout yet Saturday

To volunteer, arrive at Town Center at 8 a.m. for breakfast, assignments

Posted: October 22, 2009 9:46 p.m.
Updated: October 23, 2009 8:00 a.m.
 

Community-minded locals will team up with the Volunteer Center of Santa Clarita Valley as it hosts its annual Make a Difference Day on Saturday.

Volunteer center Executive Director Randy Phillips estimates that 1,500 people will turn out - the largest showing in the event's seven-year history.

"Each year we do this it becomes larger and larger," he said.

The day begins at 8 a.m. at Westfield Valencia Town Center where participants will receive assignments and a complimentary breakfast, as well as a T-shirt.

Volunteers will work on 60 projects, all proposed by various schools and charitable organizations, throughout the day. Most projects will end around 1 p.m.

Groups from throughout Santa Clarita, including LARC Ranch and the Gibbon Conservatory, have set up projects for volunteers.

"(It's) something that can be accomplished in one day that will leave a lasting impression on the city and make people feel good about where they live," Phillips said.

Make a Difference Day is a national event meant to promote volunteerism and community building.

Two such projects will take place at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School. Volunteers will organize disaster bins as well as help paint a new map of the United States on the playground, Fair Oaks Principal Marie Stump said.

"The projects would put us in the right directions, both in terms of disaster preparedness and campus beautification for our students," she said.

Phillips noted that in previous years volunteers often finish the day feeling a sense of achievement.

"Everybody has seemed to really enjoy themselves," he said. "Everybody was really pleased with what they accomplished."

Likewise, the organizations that benefit from the participants help foster a sense of community.

"It means the world to them, because they want to get things done," Phillips said. "It makes them appreciative of what was done and feel good about their community, because of the people who came to help them."

Make a Difference Day was created by USA Weekend Magazine and Points of Light Foundation.

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