Make a Difference for Pleasanton Festival set for Saturday

Find your volunteer match as dozens of nonprofits gather at library

Boy Scout leaders share the ways members can provide community service during last year’s Make a Difference for Pleasanton Festival. (Photo by Michelle Suski)

If your New Year’s resolution is to improve your life by helping others, check out the Make a Difference for Pleasanton Festival on Saturday.

Dozens of nonprofit groups will have tables set up with information about how adults, families and teens can connect with the community by volunteering. For students at Amador Valley, Foothill and Village high schools, it is a chance to learn more about how they can fulfill their graduation requirement for community service.

The event will be opened by Mayor Jerry Thorne at 10 a.m. and run until 2 p.m. in the Community Room at the Pleasanton library. The date was chosen for its proximity to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which has become a global service day, according to W. Ron Sutton, founder of Make a Difference, Today & Always.

Volunteer opportunities include preparing and serving meals to neighbors in need, driving elderly residents to medical appointments, comforting dogs and cats as they await their forever homes, helping newcomers learn English, teaching others about local history, writing letters to someone serving in the military, organizing sports events for Special Olympics, and more.

The festival is produced by the nonprofit Make a Difference, Today & Always and is co-sponsored by the city of Pleasanton, the Community of Character Collaborative, Tri-Valley Y, ACCUSPLIT Make A Difference Programs, and Karlsson & Lane Accounting Services.

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.”

“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,'” Sutton said.

Volunteer Ken Mano of the Community of Character Collaborative created the website www.MakeADifferenceForPleasanton.org, which is updated to list the growing number of organizations who will be at the festival and has links to each group’s mission statement and volunteer needs.

Participating nonprofits

Exhibitors will include the following and more:

* ACCUSPLIT Make A Difference Programs

* Alameda County CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates)

* Alviso Adobe Community Park

* Amador Valley Quilters — Quilts of Valor Project

* Axis Community Health

* Boy Scouts of America

* City of Pleasanton (library)

* Community of Character Collaborative

* Hope Hospice

* Joni and Friends Bay Area

* JustServe.org

* Lynnewood United Methodist Church

* Museum On Main

* Open Heart Kitchen

* Paws in Need

* Pleasanton Military Families

* Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation

* Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley

* Special Olympics

* Sunflower Hill/Sunflower Gardens

* Tri-Valley Haven

* Tri-Valley Y

* Valley Children’s Museum

* Valley Humane Society

Find more info here