Volunteer center prepares for Make a Difference Day

Nolan Krebs

The NMU Volunteer Center is gearing up for its largest event of the year, which takes place on Saturday, Oct. 27 and puts more than 1,300 students to work throughout the community.

Make a Difference Day started off as a modest volunteer project more than 15 years ago and has blossomed into the premiere event for students to help out people in Marquette County, said coordinator for the NMU volunteer center Nik Krawcyzk.

“Right now we have around 120 student organizations signed up to participate in Make a Difference Day, which is over a third of the registered organizations,” Krawcyzk said. “We’re pretty thrilled about the amount of people signed up to help.”

Students that participate in Make a Difference Day are assigned a number of household tasks for homes in the community, including raking yards, washing windows, pulling weeds, moving furniture and other tasks to help prepare homes for the winter season.

Make a Difference Day is a national event, created in 1992 by the magazine “USA Weekend” in partnership with the volunteer organizations HandsOn Network.

The volunteer center has a database with names and addresses in Marquette, Negaunee, Ishpeming, Harvey and Gwinn that are sent a registration form if they wish to have students come to their homes, Krawcyzk said.

“A lot of people in the community also hear about Make a Difference Day just through word of mouth,” Krawcyzk said. “When one house needs work done, they usually know someone else that we can help out as well.”

Student groups and organizations are then paired to one of the 230 currently registered homes.

However, helping out isn’t limited to only student organizations, said assistant volunteer center coordinator Seth Kratz.

“We have a number of volunteer groups that come from outside the university,” Kratz said. “This year, we have an insurance agency helping and a basketball team from Negaunee as well. Anyone is welcome to join.”

Volunteering is also a way for students to learn new skills, see the community and build your resume, Kratz said.

Students can register for Make a Difference Day at the volunteer center through a participating student group, or as an individual.

Volunteers will receive a complimentary breakfast and T-shirt. Students may also count hours from Make a Difference Day towards the Superior Edge program.

For more information or to learn about other volunteer opportunities, call the NMU Volunteer Center at (906) 227-2466.