On Saturday, Oct. 22 millions of Americans will celebrate Make a Difference Day. USA WEEKEND Magazine created Make a Difference Day 21 years ago to promote volunteer activities in local communities throughout America. Make a Difference Day has been a huge success. This year over 20 million Americans will paint houses, fix meals, rake leaves, build playgrounds, and perform numerous other volunteer activities to help make a difference in their local communities. The nice thing about Make a Difference Day is you can perform volunteer activities that day and on other days that may be more convenient for you.
Setting a special day to promote community activities that make a difference in the lives of others is a great idea. This year Clermont Senior Services has decided to set a special day for the citizens of Clermont County to perform an important activity that will help make a difference in the lives of the 5,000 older adults the agency serves each year. The special day will be Tuesday, Nov. 8, and the special “make a difference” activity will be to go to the polls and vote for issue 13, the Senior Services Levy.
By suggesting this alternate make a difference date, I do not mean to diminish the significance of the official Make a Difference Day initiative. At Clermont Senior Services we understand the value of volunteers.
We have been providing opportunities for volunteers to make a difference for over 40 years. Our volunteers deliver meals-on-wheels, shop for home bound seniors, perform home repair activities like building wheelchair ramps, help with the Adopt-a-Senior program, serve on our fundraising committees, provide clerical support in the office, teach classes and entertain at the senior centers, and perform many other important volunteer activities.
Conservatively, the annual value of this volunteer service is worth well over $250,000. This is a tremendous benefit to our budget, especially during these difficult economic times.
But as any of our volunteers will tell you, the reason they serve is not about money; it is about making a difference in the lives of others, and the joy and personal satisfaction they receive from doing so.
Vernon Barnes, one of our meals-on-wheels volunteers, is a great example. A few years after Vernon retired he had some free time on his hands so he decided to be a meals-on-wheels volunteer.
That was 18 years ago. Vernon will soon celebrate his 86th birthday. The other day I asked Vernon how much longer he plans to deliver meals. His response didn’t surprise me a bit. He smiled and said, “I’d like to deliver meals until I’m 100, but I’ll keep on delivering as long as the good Lord gives me the strength to do so.”
Vernon gives the Lord credit for his good health to still be delivering meals, not to mention all of the other things he is still able to do, like cutting and splitting three or four cords of firewood every summer to keep him and his wonderful wife warm through the winter.
I didn’t ask Vernon what his plans are for Nov. 8, but I’m sure his plans will include making a difference in the lives of others by going to the polls and voting for the Senior Services Levy.
I’m asking you to join Vernon and me to help make a difference in the lives of the older folks on Vernon’s meal route by casting your vote for the Senior Services Levy. With the convenience of absentee voting, you don’t have to wait until Nov. 8 to do so. All you have to do is call the Clermont County Board of Elections (732-7275) and request an absentee ballot application, or you can call our office and we will mail one to you.
That number is (513) 724-1255. Be sure to complete the application and return it to the Board of Election as soon as you receiver it, and to do the same when you receive your official ballot.
Remember, your vote will make a difference!
George Brown is the executive director of Clermont Senior Services.