Make Yourself Happy – Make a Difference on October 26

happyWhat with the government shutdown, problems signing up for Obamacare, school shootings, and a still-sluggish economy, it seems like we haven’t had much good news lately. So let’s make some of our own.

Saturday, October 26 is Make A Difference Day, the largest national day of community service. Make A Difference Day is a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Millions of volunteers from around the world will unite in a common mission to improve the lives of others – not only on Saturday, but the days before and after.

Make a Difference Day was started over 20 years ago by USA Weekend magazine and Points of Light. Other organizations like CBS News help too. Newman’s Own, the eponymous brand of the late Paul Newman, lends support by giving 20 awards of $10,000 each to both national and city honorees.

Thousands of projects are planned each year involving corporations, communities, nonprofit organizations, towns, states and individuals. The Make a Difference Day website makes it easy. Put in your zip code at makeadifferenceday.com, and projects in your area pop up. If you want to boost people in need, there are food banks, meal and transportation programs. Mentoring for kids is both fun and rewarding. Organizations helping women to escape abuse are in almost every city. If your passion is pets, help a local animal shelter. Or create your own project — if you register it at the site you could win national recognition.

Some larger projects include revitalizing community centers, rehabilitating parks, improving low-income homes, creating public art projects, developing community gardens, and much more. Your local action center is just a click away. For those looking to go beyond their local area, the Hands On Network Affiliates  around the nation lead projects each year from coast to coast.

It’s a simple idea – take a day or more to volunteer, and make life better for someone else, or for your local community. In the bargain, you’ll make yourself happy by helping.  Now there’s some good news we all can use.

Listen to Martha Burk’s 2 minute radio commentary here.

Image via iStockphoto

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