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Volunteers get HandsOn at Carousel Ranch

Eighth annual Make a Difference Day helps nonprofit organizations

Posted: October 25, 2008 9:53 p.m.
Updated: December 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Eleven-year-old friends Christina Ewart, top, and Sophia McLaren-Cobb help remove weeds at Carousel Ranch Saturday as part of Make a Difference Day. More than 3 million people participated nationwide last year.

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More than 1,000 volunteers transformed parts of the valley for the better during HandsOn Santa Clarita's eighth annual Make a Difference Day on Saturday.

At Carousel Ranch in Canyon Country, 120 of those volunteers from Valencia United Methodist Church lent their hands, installing gutters, laying brick work, painting signs, pulling weeds, reroofing buildings, knocking down a 60-foot eucalyptus tree, assembling horse corrals, fitting a wagon cover, clearing brush - and the list went on as the volunteers wiped sweat from their foreheads in the warm fall sunshine.

"We've done some real sprucing up through needed restoration and repairs, keeping Carousel Ranch at the most optimum level possible," said Pete Brosnan, a Valencia father whose 3-year-old daughter, Janesa, rides at the ranch.

"Carousel has helped her through physical, speech, and occupational therapy," he said.

The ranch is a nonprofit organization that provides developmental therapeutic and recreational programs for disabled and disadvantaged children through horses.

"The things they've come in and done for us are things we'd never be able to do," said Denise Tomey, executive director of Carousel Ranch. "It gives us the time and energy to focus on the kids."

Elsewhere around the Santa Clarita Valley, volunteers labored on 31 projects at 41 different locations, including the Child and Family Center, the city of Santa Clarita Community Center, Hunger Defense Fund, various local schools, Santa Clarita Adult Day Health Care, SCV Senior Center, the Gibbon Conservation Center, and many other locations.

"Making a Difference Day is people coming together within the community, adding to the community, and adding to those organizations that may not have the funds or staff available to do certain things," said Randy Phillips, executive director of HandsOn. "It's people helping people and making this a better place to live."

For more than a decade, HandsOn Santa Clarita (formerly the Volunteer Resource Center of the SCV) has been assisting nonprofit, community, volunteer and youth organizations throughout the SCV by bringing together volunteers, community service organizations, businesses and residents for the benefit of the community.

Make a Difference Day is a national event that was launched by USA Weekend Magazine. Saturday was the 18th annual Make a Difference Day.

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