Students, Community Applauded for Make a Difference Day

Guest Column written by Pam Stone, Executive Director of United Way of Marion County
To all of the 220-plus Tri-Rivers students and staff who participated in the 2011 Make A Difference Day: First, let me thank you for serving our community through 17 different projects. That is a most significant accomplishment, and you should all be very proud.

For those reading this article who may not know, on Friday, September 30th Tri-Rivers Career Center, Marion Senior Center, the Downtown Marion Association, and United Way of Marion County joined forces to “Make a Difference” in our community.

We all gathered in recognition of Make A Difference Day, a day focused on improving the community through good works. The projects are also a way to demonstrate how United Way’s theme, “LIVE UNITED,” can be put into practice – a reminder that when we as individuals think outside ourselves, we have the power to facilitate change. This event also gives United Way a chance to give back to the community that supports them annually.

Over the last three years, Tri-Rivers students have given a total of 2,500 hours of service to the Marion community through Make A Difference Day projects.

This year, County Commissioner Ken Stiverson kicked off the event by explaining the importance of volunteering, including how it can lead to future employment. I, Pam Stone, encouraged the students to LIVE UNITED by remembering that the decisions they make affect those around them – for good or bad.

As in years past, the projects gave Tri-Rivers’ senior students a chance to gain real world experience while helping others. This year’s projects included car winterization for local senior citizens; Computer 101 and Photoshop classes geared towards local senior citizens; Marion Senior Center Spa Day; meal preparation for The Salvation Army’s soup kitchen; children’s activities at MARCA; and social visits to Primrose and Kingston.

In all, more than 200 Tri-Rivers students, along with their teachers and administrators, tackled 17 different projects at several different locations. Working diligently behind the scenes to ensure activities went smoothly were Jodi Gaietto, Director of Secondary Academics and Discipline for Tri-Rivers; Sue Wisebaker and Jean Anne Cheney at the Marion Senior Center; Mike Cheney, Parks Superintendent for Marion City Parks; and Patty Stevens with the Downtown Marion Association.

In closing, I offer a challenge to the 2011 senior class of Tri-Rivers to continue to make a difference in our world. You have the character, talent and commitment that are necessary to carry this momentum for positive change throughout your lives. Make the most of them.

About Guest Columnist

The author of these guest columns are described within the column. They are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff and owners of Marion Online.