This Oct. 22 is Make a Difference Day in America, one of the largest annual days of service. On Make a Difference Day, volunteers nationwide come together with one goal in mind: to improve the lives of others.
Although the first Make a Difference Day was held Feb. 29, 1992 — a leap day — the event evolved over time and is now held annually on the fourth Saturday of October. Organizers help connect volunteers to thousands of projects, all over the country.
This Make a Difference Day, get out and affect some positive change in the Tristate.
Are you a senior interested in volunteering your time or service to make the Tristate a better place? Looking for ideas on how you can make an impact here in Cincinnati on Make a Difference Day? Click the preceding link to search for available opportunities, or try one of the following suggestions!
Volunteer with a disaster relief organization
You don’t have to go far from home to positively affect people’s lives. Many Cincinnati seniors volunteer with the Red Cross.
Local Red Cross volunteers might train to give first aid in disaster situations, or to respond to people in need of help during psychological crises. Or, they may drive people who lack transportation to necessary medical appointments.
There are also plenty of private and faith-based disaster relief organizations in the Greater Cincinnati area. Volunteers at Matthew 25 Ministries in Blue Ash, for example, put together care packages and disaster aid supplies so that they can be quickly shipped to disaster zones, such as areas affected by Hurricane Matthew earlier this month.
(Matthew 25: Ministries’ Disaster Response Team responding to Hurricane Matthew)
Volunteer with Meals On Wheels
Many adults right here in the Tristate need help, too. Some are homebound due to age, illness or disability, and cannot cook for themselves or get out to shop for groceries.
That’s where Meals On Wheels programs — like the one based here at Deupree House — step in to help.
Deupree Meals On Wheels has been in operation for nearly 30 years. It provides hot meals — prepared every day in Deupree’s kitchen — to seniors and other individuals on Cincinnati’s east side.
It ensures that at-risk seniors get proper nutrition, so that they may age safely in place.
Volunteer drivers serve not only as points of much-needed daily contact for otherwise isolated people, but also perform critical wellness checks and alert authorities if a beneficiary doesn’t answer the door or needs emergency help.
Deupree Meals On Wheels is always looking for volunteers. You must have your own vehicle and a valid driver’s license. On average, Deupree Meals On Wheels volunteers work about 90 minutes a day. Orientation and training are provided.
If you’re interested in making a difference here, call 513-271-9610, or click here to email the program coordinator and get more information.
Teach or mentor young people
One of the best ways for a senior to make a difference is to pass along the body of his or her lifelong experiences to younger members of the community. There are plenty of ways to do that here in the Tristate.
Teaching might include volunteering as a tutor with a local school district, or donating time as a classroom or school career day speaker.
Mentorship programs aren’t tutoring programs — they’re designed to show at-risk youths that someone cares and wants to see them succeed in life. The idea is to improve a youth’s self-esteem, provide a friendly “sounding board” for a young person to talk to about life concerns, and to advise to the child on strategies for building lasting relationships and navigating social challenges.
The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati’s youth mentorship program pairs adult mentors with disadvantaged teens and children. Mentors meet with their mentees at a YMCA location and are encouraged to talk and participate in activities of mutual interest in a safe environment.
Lighthouse Youth Services has both a mentorship and a life skills coaching program. Life skills coaches are a bit different from mentors, in that they provide practical guidance to at-risk kids about such things as basic financial skills, finding and maintaining stable employment, health and wellness practices, nutrition and more.
However you choose to make a difference this month, do something that makes you feel good.
If nothing listed here struck your fancy, you might click here to search the United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s volunteer matching page for retirees and pre-retirees 55 and older. You’ll undoubtedly find some opportunity that interests you.
This Make a Difference Day, get out and affect some positive change in the Tristate. It’ll help you — and the beneficiaries of your service — keep living well into the future!