Making a difference in Whitewater

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Every year students, faculty and staff come together and work toward strengthening their community on Make a Difference Day. This year, the event takes place on April 29 at Starin Park.

AmeriCorps VISTA for Community Service employee Laura Hall said she is very excited for this year’s Make a Difference Day.

“Last year we totaled over 1,400 hours of service done in one day at 45 different locations in Whitewater,” Hall said. “I am wishing for bigger and better this year.”

This is the sixth time Make a Difference Day has taken place at UW-Whitewater. To get involved, students, faculty and staff can register online by visiting ­­­­https://my.uww.edu/.

The process takes less than two minutes and has step-by-step instructions at the UW-Whitewater service blog http://blogs.uww.edu/uwwservice/. The deadline for registering online is April 15.

Check-in for Make a Difference Day begins at 11:15 a.m. and the activities begin at noon. It is mandatory to be at Starin Park before noon to check-in and make sure your group is together.

“We will find something for everyone to do,” Hall said. “Even if someone does not pre-register, we will not turn them away.”

Hall said there are a lot of projects lined up and waiting for volunteers. Project descriptions in the past included organizing supplies or material goods for services, painting, mulching and gardening, litter removal, refurbishing playgrounds and spending time with residents in a social activity.

After the festivities, there will be free food in Starin Park for all participants to enjoy. Participants can also gain up to three hours of community service by participating in the events on Make a Difference Day.

“It is so important to take ownership and pride in your community,” Hall said. “This is a great opportunity to give back.”

“This is going to be an awesome experience for everyone,” Hall said. “You’re not going to want to miss out on this.”

The AmeriCorps program is another opportunity for students looking to do community service.

According to the AmeriCorps website, AmeriCorps gives a chance to apply one’s skills and ideals toward helping others while meeting the needs of a certain community.

“I love how AmeriCorps is catered to each community,” Hall said. “It is constantly reevaluating what needs to be done so the community can thrive.”

Modeled after the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps works toward strengthening communities, and the VISTA program has a goal of combating poverty.

“I first heard about VISTA about a year before I actually joined,” Hall said.”I am now in my third year, and I absolutely love it.”

AmeriCorps has more than 75,000 programs for people to join and are currently hiring and recruiting people. UW-Whitewater will also host an AmeriCorps VISTA position with the University Health and Counseling Services and the W3 Program.

“My door is always open to anyone who wants to talk about AmeriCorps or community service,” Hall said. “Embracing and giving back to the community is so important.”

To learn more about AmeriCorps, go to www.AmeriCorps.gov, or contact Hall at [email protected] or visit her office in the University Center Room 131.