• Make A Difference for Pleasanton Festival to match people with volunteer opportunities

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    ‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions.  
    One way to improve your life is by discovering the joy of helping others.  Saturday, January 19, is THE day in Pleasanton to explore the many ways you can volunteer.
    That’s when the Make A Difference for Pleasanton Festival will be held at the city library from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. (in the Community Room, to the right just inside the entrance).  Dozens of non-profit organizations will have tables set up with information on how you can “Get Connected & Stay Connected” with your community through volunteer service for adults, families, and teenagers.  Mayor Jerry Thorne will be on hand to open the festival.
    Would you like to help prepare and serve meals to neighbors in need?   Drive elderly neighbors to medical appointments?  Comfort dogs and cats awaiting their forever homes?  Assist a newcomer learning English?  Help visitors learn about local history?  Refresh public garden areas?   Organize Special Olympics sports events? These are but a few of the volunteer opportunities that await festival visitors.
    Produced by Make A Difference, Today & Always, a 501©3 non-profit, the festival is co-sponsored by the City of Pleasanton, the Community of Character Coalition, Child Care Links,  ACCUSPLIT Make A Difference Programs, and Karlsson & Lane Accounting Services..
    Exhibitors will include the following:
    •        ACCUSPLIT Make A Difference Programs
    •        Alameda County CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates)
    •        Alviso Adobe Community Park
    •        Amador Valley Quilters – Quilts of Valor Project 
    •        American Association of University Women (AAUW)
    •        American Cancer Society
    •        Asian Pacific Islanders American Public Affairs 
          Axis Community Health
    •        Child Care Links
    •        City of Pleasanton (Department of Library and Recreation)
    •        CityServe of the Tri-Valley
    •        Community of Character Coalition
    •        Go Green Initiative Association
          HERS Breast Cancer Foundation
          Hooks and Needles
    •        JustServe.org
    •        Livermore-Amador Valley Garden Club
    •        Lynnewood United Methodist Church
    •        Meals On Wheels (Spectrum Community Services)
    •        Museum On Main
    •        Open Heart Kitchen
    •        Pleasanton  Cultural Arts Council
    •        Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation
    •        Senior Support Programs of the Tri-Valley
    •        Special Olympics
    •        Stanford Health Care/ValleyCare Auxiliary
    •        Sunflower Hill/Sunflower Gardens
    •        Tri-Valley Guide Dog Puppy Raisers
    •        Tri-Valley One-Stop Career Center
    •        Valley Children’s Museum ??
    •        Valley Humane Society
    Visitors will be encouraged to sign the “50/50 Pledge,” which states, “I pledge to spend at least 50 hours in community service, and to spend 50 more hours with my family in the next year.”  They can also sign the historic banner from the very first local Make A Difference Festivals (which were sponsored by the Pleasanton Unified School District and included many other organizations in the 1990s).
    “We used to try to tie in with the national Make A Difference Day, which is held in October, but here in Pleasanton that date has long been reserved for the Foothill High School Band Review, so we changed to the date closest to Martin Luther King, Jr, Day, which has become a global service day,” explained W. Ron Sutton, founder of Make A Difference, Today & Always.  
    “Also, we felt that people should make a commitment to community service on more than one day per year.  That is why we came up with the ‘50/50 Pledge’ and the slogan, ‘Get Connected, Stay Connected,’” said Sutton.
    "This is a great way to learn of volunteer opportunities,” said Ken Mano, vice-president of Pleasanton’s Community of Character Coalition. “There will be many non-profits and other groups that serve our community from newborns to young children to our senior population, and even animals. We all need to do our part in helping those who don't have all the advantages and benefits which many of us enjoy." 
    The festival helps fund the Juanita Haugen Memorial Scholarships, which are awarded annually to graduating seniors from each of Pleasanton’s three high schools through the Community of Character Collaborative. 

    “We are pleased to host this event,” says Yu Tao, librarian.  “Because a growing number of organizations want to participate, the city’s Department of Library and Recreation will move our information tables into the children’s section of the library, just beyond the community room.  We hope participants will come by to see the volunteer opportunities we offer.”

    The festival is free of charge, as is the parking at the city library.  All are welcome.