By Margaret Liendo
On a beautiful September 26, many students came out to take part in the annual Make A Difference Day. Led by Pat Tracy, the campus minister, and other group leaders, the volunteers traveled to different sites across Long Island to help different communities and organizations in need. Some of those areas included Momma’s House located in Jericho, DD Animal Ranch in Manorville, Gerald Ryan Outreach Center and Wyandanch Homes in Wyandanch, the VA in Northport, and a beach clean up at Fire Island.
Volunteers were assigned different service projects in each area, such as decluttering the garage at Momma’s House or taking care of the animal pens at the DD Ranch. Although there weren’t many volunteers for the numerous projects the sites had planned for, it was a rewarding experience nonetheless. Every hand counted that day because volunteers new the impact that their service was going to have for the rest of the year.
I had the opportunity to make a difference at the Gerald J. Ryan Outreach Center. This is a nonprofit organization that serves Wyandanch and surrounding communities. They give food out to many families and provide clothing and different services. However, their busy schedules do not give the staff much time to beautify their offices, so with the years the walls may start to degrade. That is why we helped in beautifying the building by painting the walls so that families and staff alike will feel at better and in a more beautiful environment. It’s amazing how some paint can change a place around, and although we didn’t think we had done much, the staff was very grateful.
Whether it was their first or third time being there, volunteers left with overwhelming joy and huge smiles. Over the course of the day, Make A Difference Day had 32 volunteers and accumulated over 177 hours of community service. You see, it may be just a few hours taken out of your day, but the memories and service accomplished at each site are eternal, for volunteer and organization alike. We hope that there will be more volunteers for next year so that many more community service projects can be accomplished!