written by Sara Wilkinson
Every day is a chance to make a difference in the world, however, Oct. 22nd is a special day dedicated to this purpose alone. Some might argue that one day in the year is not enough to really make a difference, but indeed it’s a start and a good reminder for everyone. Let’s look into it a bit more and find out what it entails.
USA Weekend Magazine, co-sponsored by the non-profit organization Points of Light launched the celebration of National Make a Difference Day in 1992. The intention behind it was to promote volunteerism and community work. As more and more organizations became engaged in supporting this initiative, it became officially sponsored and organized by USA Today in 2014. To this day, USA Today is interested in knowing what is locally happening on “National Make a Difference Day” and, therefore, encourages people to report about it. (https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/make-a-difference-day/).
Different Ways of Making a Difference
Generally speaking, each person has their own idea of what it means to “make a difference”. For many, it’s offering a helping hand or engaging in climate change projects or social work, while for others it goes beyond that, possibly dedicating their whole lives towards helping others, either professionally or in their leisure. Then you also have various organizations that are eager to promote positive social change among the communities they serve.
What It Means at IRC
Coming together on National Make a Difference Day is not difficult for us who work at the IRC Dallas Office. We strive every day to make our clients’ well-being our number one priority. This means we want to make a difference in their lives every single day because we know that the quality of our work affects them and their future in this country. To us, assisting one IRC client, means assisting a whole village. For example, we make sure that our clients are in a safe place after arriving in the US, we take care of all of their needs and accompany them on their road to self-sufficiency in order for them to successfully thrive in their new home. IRC has so many different programs that offer support to our clients who are mainly refugees and asylum seekers. There is, for example, a Donations Program that handles regular donations in form of food and clothes. We also have the New Roots Program focused on food security and a Mental Health Program to get them through any mental challenges they are facing. Other programs, such as the Economic Empowerment Program ensure they can develop themselves with their skills and professional career. At IRC, we are inspired to see our clients succeed in every aspect of their lives.
All it takes is a bit of effort and time with the intention to actually help someone without expecting anything in return. Every small act of kindness adds up and is what makes “the difference” more perceivable because “if we all do one small thing, collectively, it makes a massive difference” (https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/make-a-difference-day/). In other words, you don’t need to wait to win a million dollars before helping someone, just start with what you have and what you can give even if it is just one penny. Besides giving money as charity, there are many other ways to make a difference, you can start a campaign to motivate others to do at least one good deed per day. You can do this in person and via social media in order to reach as many people as possible. Other examples are participating in a race for a good cause, tutoring or mentoring an at-risk student so they have better chances to graduate, helping the elderly with their grocery shopping, collecting trash from the streets together with others, donating clothes and food to the homeless and adopting an animal from the shelter. Volunteering by getting involved with your community is another great example. You can volunteer at the blood bank or food bank or even at IRC and other organizations.
The possibilities to make a difference in the world are truly endless. It just takes one day, one step, one small deed at a time. Even if the impact is not visible at first, the more people come together, the more opportunities there are to make that difference. There is always someone out there who needs help or assistance. It can be your neighbor, someone in your neighborhood or someone on the other side of the globe. By being active in your community for a good cause, you actually “give back” to your community and with time this is what ultimately leads to making a difference for yourself and for your fellow human-beings.