April 25, 2001
By Michele Hatty
ARLINGTON, VA -- A 15-year-old honor student who began a mentoring program
and a former drug addict who gave soap and socks to 100 fellow homeless
people were among 10 sets of volunteers who Wednesday received $10,000
charitable awards from Paul Newman's food company and hugs from Miss America
for their part in USA WEEKEND Magazine's Make A Difference Day.
The honorees were among 2.2 million Americans who simultaneously helped
others on the 10th annual Make A Difference Day, Oct. 28, 2000, the nation's
largest day of volunteering. Organizers USA WEEKEND Magazine and the Points
of Light Foundation estimate 25 million people nationwide were helped on that
Each of the 10 volunteer projects honored Wednesday received a National Make
A Difference Day Award of $10,000 from Paul Newmanıs food company, Newman's
Own, that will help them continue their good deeds. Additionally, Wal-Mart,
the retail supporter of Make A Difference Day, donated a total of $208,000 to
104 state honorees. A total of $2.8 million was distributed since last fall
to the charities of Make A Difference Day volunteers.
Guest speaker Angela Perez Baraquio, Miss America 2001, noted that
volunteerism is contagious. "It grows and it spreads. That's why we're here
today -- because we're helping others, they in turn will go on to help
others. You as one person can make a difference, but it's not just about one
day -- it's for the entire year and it's a lifelong mission."
For ex-cocaine-addict Giovanni Jackson, 42, who remains homeless in Santa
Cruz, Calif., the award is a chance to spotlight homelessness. "People are
dying on the streets. Donate your extra food and blankets," she urged the
crowd. "It's time to make a change." Since Make A Difference Day, Jackson has
been approved for assisted housing and is looking forward to having a place
to call her own.
"Thank you for helping me read better," said Brendon Shepard, a 4th grader in
Muldrow, Okla., to Kyle Alderson, 15, his mentor since Make A Difference Day.
Alderson created a tutoring program for 30 elementary children in his small
town. One result: Brendanıs reading grades have jumped from an F to a C.
The $10,000 donation from Paul Newman will more than double the annual budget
of the town library and create new children's reading programs.
The 10 national awards of $10,000 will continue the good deeds in:
-- Muldrow, Okla., where Kyle Alderson, 15, created a tutoring program for
-- Santa Cruz, Calif., where homeless, ex-addict truck driver Giovanni
Jackson, 42, gave back to people still on the streets.
-- Oahu, Hawaii, where 2,000 Army volunteers accomplished dozens of projects
including rappelling off the steep face of Diamond Head to collect windblown
-- Mundelein, Ill., a Chicago suburb, where a 9-year-old collected school
supplies for his less fortunate classmates.
-- Laredo, Texas, where students, parents and teachers from Nye Elementary
"adopted" 120 dirt-poor orphans across the Rio Grande in Mexico.
-- Goshen, Calif., where a youth group cleared 40 tons of trash, 5,000 pounds
of hazardous waste and 1,000 old tires to make way for a new park.
-- Hattiesburg, Miss., where the Southern Eye Center gave eight uninsured
people cataract surgery worth $32,000.
-- Killeen and Fort Hood, Texas, where 12,000 residents tackled 135 projects
and helped 28,000 people.
-- Nationally, through Altrusa International, a women's club that promoted
-- Kennewick, Wash., where 4th graders at Washington Elementary raised $1,100
for library supplies for visually impaired students.
In addition, two Detroit residents, Carolyn Adams and Wendy Fortman of the
Barton-Wetherby-Diversey-Eagle Block Club, received an award as one of the
104 projects (two per state, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico)
honored by Wal-Mart with a $2,000 charitable donation.
About the photo: The younger set of Make A Difference Day Awards luncheon awards participants. Clockwise, from top left, Brendan Shepard of Muldrow, Okla., Thait Cortes of Laredo, Texas, a young friend of an honoree from Santa Cruz, Calif., Ryan Fosnow of Mundelein, Ill., Clifton Giddings of Goshen, Calif., Miss America 2001 Angela Perez Baraquio, Maddy Rannow who was helped by students in Kennewick, Wash., and Kyle Alderson of Muldrow, Okla.
The 11th annual Make A Difference Day is Saturday, Oct. 27. For more
information, visit www.makeadifferenceday.com.
A Difference Day Awards 2001
State by state listing and where to donate
Photo Essay 2001