One day can make a difference. Just ask any of the more than 30 Keuka College students who made a difference in their adopted hometown of Penn Yan and seven sites across Yates County during national Make a Difference Day.
The College students joined volunteers from across the country for Make A Difference Day, one of the largest annual single days of service nationwide. Since 1992, volunteers and communities have come together each October with a single purpose: to improve the lives of others.
The College’s Make a Difference Day was organized by three Community Service Advocates, including Tessa Alianell, a sophomore biology major from Frewsburg.
“Make a Difference Day signifies community, and coming together to work towards something that is meaningful to all of us,” she says. “I hope that it encourages people to help others as often as they can, because it really does mean a lot to the people they are helping.”
Some of those who benefitted from the College students’ time and talents include Habitat for Humanity, where Tessa and a group of others assisted in various construction tasks including siding, deck construction, landscaping, and dry-walling.
“Working at Habitat for Humanity was a really rewarding experience. We learned a lot from the regular volunteers, and we got to help a family in need,” says Tessa. “I love to volunteer, but it is so much more special when you get the opportunity to do that with a group of friends.”
When planning Make a Difference Day, Tessa says the group tried to give everyone the opportunity to choose a site that best suites their interests.
“For example, a group from the Student Occupational Therapy Association went to Clinton Crest Manor in Penn Yan and had the opportunity to spend some time with the older residents,” she says. “And a few of our athletes worked at the Yates County Arts Center and raked leaves at Sunny Point.”
Tessa says her parents encouraged her to engage in social responsibility and give back to those less fortunate, so she believes she is “lucky that Keuka College offered the opportunity to be a Community Service Advocate as a job here on campus.”
Other host sites for Keuka College’s Make a Difference Day included the Homestead at Soliders and Sailors Hospital, Penn Yan Manor, and the Once Again Shoppe. Keuka College has been part of the Make a Difference Day celebration since 2007.