Make a Difference Day 2011

by Whitney McKelvey, AmeriCorps member
Make A Difference Day is a national day of service held annually on the fourth Saturday of October where millions of Americans complete a day of action to help change the world. On the morning of October 22nd, over 80 AmeriCorps Members belonging to Spokane Service Team, Washington Reader Corps, Youth Build, and New Alliance worked together to better the Spokane Community. Efforts helped feed the hungry, cloth children, improve the environment and serve homeless animals. No action was too small, as every task completed helped make a difference in the life of another in the Spokane Community. Thank you to all the compassionate participants!

AmeriCorps members, staff, family and friends eagerly served at:

Liberty Park

Reforest Spokane- 25 AmeriCorps members alongside 700 other community volunteers planted 10,000 Ponderosa Pines.The Reforest Spokane project was organized by the Lands Council of Spokane. Tree planting efforts will increase areas of much needed shade, reduce traffic noise and create a more beautiful Spokane community.

Sorting Potatoes

2nd Harvest Food Bank- Distributes to a network of 250 food banks and meal centers serving in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. AmeriCorps Members took part on Make a Difference Day in bagging over 7,000 pounds of potatoes which will feed over 2,600 hungry people. 2n Harvest, along with volunteers, feeds over 40,000 hungry people region wide each week and provides 1.7 million pounds of donated food each month.

AmeriCorps Members in the Nursery

Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery- AmeriCorps Members assisted Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery in sorting donated baby clothing, packaging diapers and cleaning the facility. Efforts will help continue the nursery’s mission of keeping over 4,000 kids safe and warm each year. Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery is an important resource for parents to use for childcare, parent education, crisis counseling and free clothing/diapers.

Sorting Toys

Inland NW Baby-Inland Northwest Baby is a nonprofit founded by a 14 year old boy with incredible social awareness. He recognized the need that children had in the Spokane Community for necessities items, such as clothing and diapers and took action. AmeriCorps Members on Make a Difference Day helped the facility organize clothing for children and packaged diapers.

Making Dog Treats

SpokAnimal- SpokAnimal is an amazing organization dedicated to the placement, protection and health of animals in the Spokane Community. AmeriCorps Members along with their families helped bake dog treats to be sold at the SpokAnimal facility. Both AmeriCorps and SpokAnimal feel it is important to help the living creatures in the Spokane community who do not have a voice to represent themselves. Proceeds will go to help continue the mission of SpokAnimal, as they help over 700 animals a month.

YouthBuild staff, Manny Santos

Bethany Presbyterian Church-AmeriCorps Members worked together on Make a Difference Day in moving, cleaning and organizing the storage of Bethany Presbyterian Church so that new nonprofits can use their third floor for operations. Volunteers also completed various renovation tasks. The effort and work completed by these volunteers in one day would have taken the church three weeks to complete. Bethany Presbyterian Church helps build the Spokane community as it encourages individuals to demonstrate grace, service, integrity and hospitality. The facility also offers its services to youth programs, such as Crosswalk.

Cleaning Desks

Slavic Christian Academy Enrolls students from preschool to 12th grade. 11 AmeriCorps volunteers came together on Make a Difference Day to clean classes, the cafeteria, the library. Volunteers also decorated bulletin boards, painted, and picked up garbage outside.

Building a Home; Building a Dream

Brianna Solis, a mother of two, wiped a tear from her eye as she unlocked the door to her new home in the community of Covey Glenn. “I keep thinking that one day I will wake up and it will all be a dream” said Solis. But, it’s actually a dream come true.
When First Story, a Northwest non-profit, dedicated a new Spokane Valley home in late September, it did more than provide a beautiful, affordable home to a deserving family. Indeed, the dedication ceremony also showcased the talent of local youth, members of NEWESD101’s AmeriCorps YouthBuild program, who built the house.

Youth in the NEWESD program have long been involved in the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing in the Spokane area. This, however, was the first constructed in partnership with First Story, a non-profit based in Bend, Ore. Students, under the supervision of trained professionals, built the home from the ground up. The home is located in the Covey Glen community near Barker Road.

YouthBuild students learned many new skills while building this home and appreciated the opportunity to be part of such a valuable mission. “Our partnership with YouthBuild allows us to transform the lives of at-risk young adults,” said Shon Rae, executive director of First Story, who traveled to the dedication from Bend. “The trainees gain a valuable education, job training and leadership skills while helping a family right here in need in the Spokane Valley.”

“I have learned more while building this house than any other job. I learned about carpeting, roofing, caulking, tiling and many other skills. But, what will be my most prized memory is the memory of today; the day that we get to give this house to Brianna Solis and her family.”
– YouthBuild Member, Marissa Dire

First Story serves families that don’t qualify for government-assisted housing, but still lack the resources to own their own home. The organization is building six homes this year in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.